Sandy becomes a Hurricane

Hurricane Sandy on the southern coast of Jamaica. An eye is apparent on this RGB visible satellite image from NOAA’s GOES imager. Hurricane conditions could commence soon in Jamaica.

Hurricane Hunter aircraft investigating Sandy this morning found that the storm has quickly strengthened into a category one hurricane with 80mph winds and 973mb central pressure. Some slight strengthening is possible just before a landfall occurs in Jamaica today where Hurricane Warnings are in effect. Heavy rains along with near tropical storm conditions are already occurring in coastal Jamaica; a gust to 51mph was recently observed in Kingston, Jamaica.

The National Hurricane Center’s map of Tropical Storm and Hurricane advisories as of 11am Eastern.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
* Jamaica
* Cuban provinces: Camaguey, Las Tunas, Granma, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, and Guantanamo

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
* Haiti
* The Central and Northwestern Bahamas

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:
* The Central and Northwestern Bahamas

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:
* The Southeastern Bahamas
* Florida East coast from the Volusia/Brevard county line to Ocean Reef, FL
* Upper Florida Keys from Ocean Reef south to Craig Key, FL and Florida Bay

Heavy rain of between 6 and 12 inches could trigger flash flooding and mudslides which will likely be the biggest threat to life in the Caribbean as Sandy exits to the north. Outer spiral bands extend far to the east of the storm and will likely produce heavy rains into Haiti and the Dominican Republic along with a chance for tornadoes and squally weather.

Sandy is expected to continue northwards and make a second landfall in Eastern Cuba as a slightly weaker hurricane. But thereafter, Sandy is expected to begin to interact with a trough over the US East Coast and the forecast becomes increasingly uncertain.
We are still unsure of how Sandy will interact with the trough, but it is looking increasingly like Sandy will become a powerful post-tropical storm that moves ashore somewhere from the Mid-Atlantic to Atlantic Canada that will cause severe impacts along the coast. This solution may involve the mixture of a tropical air mass and a polar air mass that could result in a heavy snow event for the interior Northeast.
Depending on how far east Sandy goes, and how big the storm gets, Bermuda may see some strong winds- this solution is looking less likely today. Remember, the forecast after three days is still very uncertain but impacts to the US are becoming more likely according to the pattern that is unfolding. To make these forecasts more accurate, more weather balloons are being launched in the US, and hurricane hunters will continue to investigate the storm.

See the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service, the Canadian Weather Office, the Cuban Meteorological Agency, and your local Meteorological office for latest official updates on the storm’s progress.


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