Sandy continues to strengthen in the Caribbean and now has 85mph winds with the 8PM advisory. It’s a very healthy looking storm right now with a well-defined eye. Sandy will pass over Cuba then the Bahamas over the next couple of days and emerge in the Atlantic off the SE US coastline. Models have had a very difficult time figuring out how Sandy would interact with a buckling jetstream and downstream blocking over the North Atlantic. Most of the available computer guidance last night was curling Sandy out to sea…tonight, most are curling it into New England.
The timeframe we are looking at is early next week…Monday and Tuesday…with the greatest impact likely Monday night and Tuesday morning. Even though the probability of a storm hitting New England is increasing, how strong it will be is still up in the air and the general spot of landfall is as well. If we assume the worst case scenario…and this COULD happen, the waters off the East Coast are still warm enough to maintain some tropical characteristics into the cooler New England waters but it’s likely that the storm will begin the transition process to a hybrid storm. Despite the transformation it will still be very dangerous…in fact, not only could there be strong winds around a decaying core but also fanning out miles and miles from the storm center due to the pressure gradient…so that in the end winds could still be hurricane force. In this case, tree damage would be severe and power outages would be in the thousands. Think back to last year’s October Snowstorm and how some people were without power for a week…this could happen again!
The coastline would take an historic beating. Due to the full moon, tides will already be running astronomically high and with a slow-moving storm and a prolonged easterly fetch, some shore roads would be under water and communities cut off…along with extensive beach erosion.
Lastly, with such a slow-moving storm, rain amounts could easily top 5 inches…street and basement flooding would be common and inland rivers and streams would need to be watched closely especially towns and cities at the mouth of rivers and streams.
Again, this is worst case scenario…at this point it’s just too early to say how intense the storm will be when it gets up here and exactly where it will strike, but the out-to-sea scenario continues to lose credibility and we need to start preparing for a major event.
With that said, now would be a good time to clean out the gutters and storm drains of leaves, bring in outdoor furniture and kids toys and if you are running low on batteries in the house to go stock up just in case.
Continue to stay with us, we’ll pass along the latest when we get it. you can also follow us on twitter: @ToddWBZ and @wbzweather