Friday, October 26, 2012
Sandy Poses Serious Threat to Northeast US and Atlantic Provinces
This morning, U.S. forecasters are predicting a convergence of Hurricane Sandy; an early winter storm in the west and a cold arctic blast from the north which would make for some very messy and expensive weather over the Northeast US and Atlantic provinces for the first half of next week.
"It'll be a rough couple days from Hatteras up to Cape Cod," said Jim Cisco, a forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "We don't have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting. Forecasting the weather 4 or 5 days before it happens is difficult because so much can change in that time. However, it's also difficult to dismiss the results when every piece of guidance you use starts pointing towards the same thing, with even greater certainty, each time you update your forecast.
That's what's happening right now."
The computer models forecasters use for guidance in making their forecasts showed the first indications of the merger of these weather systems, and the results of each subsequent model have made it more and more likely. Even computer models that didn't show the merger to start with began to fall in line with the ones that did.
To make matters worse, the full moon occurs on Monday, which will make tides near their peak, due to the combined tidal forces of the Moon and the Sun. This will increase the severity of any flooding the coast experiences due to Sandy.
Sandy is set to make landfall very late on Monday night or early on Tuesday morning, but it could make landfall anywhere between Delaware and Maine, which will be a big factor in where the majority of the precipitation ends up. With this kind of hybrid storm, and the potential damage it could do, sounding the warning bell a little bit earlier than usual isn't a bad thing. There could be several inches of snow or rain in the mid-Atlantic states, depending on where Sandy makes landfall, and up in the mountains the snowfall amounts could be measured in feet instead of inches. Also, with the powerful winds from Sandy combined with this potential for snow there is a greater chance of power lines being snapped by overloaded branches, and some forecasters are saying that power outages could last well into the following week.
There has been some comparison to the so-called 'Perfect Storm' that hit New England in 1991, but according to Cisco that storm is not comparable to what this hybrid storm could do. The Perfect Storm only did $200 million of damage. This storm will be much worse.
With all these projections for what could happen along the U.S. Atlantic coast and New England, residents of Canada's East Coast should be keeping an eye on this as well. If the forecasts for this hybrid storm turn out to be correct, and it turns into a major snowstorm that buries New England, it's not likely to spare the Atlantic provinces a similar dose of winter weather as it passes through.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre isn't reporting on Hurricane Sandy yet, because it's still too far away, however, you can be sure that the forecasters there are keeping a close watch on it.