Hurricane Sandy expands overnight


East Coast view of Hurricane Sandy, GOES Imagery from NOAA. October 27th 2012. Sandy has become so large that typical floater imagery doesn’t capture the entire storm.

As of 11am eastern from the National Hurricane Center:
Maximum sustained winds are near 75mph
Minimum central pressure is near 958mb
Sandy is moving North-Northeast at about 9mph.

Sandy is doing a balancing act north of the Bahamas where it is trying to deepen (lower its central pressure) and expand its wind field at the same time. Fluctuations in its maximum wind speeds have been the result, and Sandy will likely continue to be at borderline hurricane status until Sunday night when it will try to strengthen as it gets energized by its merger with the trough over the interior Eastern United States. Hurricane Sandy’s pressure fell from 969mb at 11pm last night to 958mb at 11am this morning indicating deepening. While its maximum radius of tropical storm force winds expanded from 275miles at 5pm yesterday, to 450miles at 5am this morning.

All Hurricane Warnings have been discontinued for now, but tropical storm conditions are still occurring in the northernmost Bahamas, offshore of Florida and North and South Carolina where tropical storm warnings are in effect. Further advisories, watches, and warnings will be needed as Sandy approaches, potentially from North Carolina to Maine.  East coast states have already declared states of emergency and some evacuation notices have been posted in advance of Sandy’s landfall which is forecast to be somewhere in New Jersey or the Delmarva peninsula.

Official National Hurricane Center track for Hurricane Sandy as of 11am Eastern Time. Tropical Storm Warnings for parts of North and South Carolina and the Bahamas in blue, and Tropical Storm Watches in yellow for parts of South Carolina and Bermuda.

Impacts…Heavy flooding rain over 6″ in areas is likely near the storm’s path. Areas where both storm surge and flooding rains are a threat may have the flooding exacerbated by the unusually high tides down stream. Heavy wet snow is a distinct possibility in the higher elevations of Eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Significant coastal flooding is also likely in areas of onshore winds and in bays, harbors, and estuaries where storm surges are forecast to reach up to 8feet and storm tides may be extreme due to the large changes between low and high tide and the astronomical high tide with the full moon on Monday.

Damaging winds (30-60mph) could extend far inland causing tree damage and potentially some power outages. Structurally damaging winds (50-75mph) could occur along the immediate coast and in gusts inland. Keep in mind that tropical storm force winds (sustained at >39mph) have been observed more than 400miles from the center of this storm – so even though the storm may make landfall in New Jersey, areas as far north as Maine and as far inland as Ontario and Quebec (including Lakes Erie and Ontario) could see tropical storm conditions. Areas to the south will have offshore winds, and tropical storm force winds will extend less far from the center and will be gustier in nature. In these areas, hazardously low water levels may be observed, especially at low tide.

Meanwhile, there could be a period of tropical storm conditions in Bermuda (Tropical Storm Watch) sometime between tonight and Monday night as Sandy continues to expand and passes to the distant west. Squally showers will be the theme here during that period.

Useful links:
National Hurricane Center– Latest official updates and products for the track, intensity, and impacts of hurricanes.
National Weather Service – Latest local weather products for the United States.
Bermuda Weather Service – Latest weather products for Bermuda.
Environment Canada – Latest local weather products for Canada.
Bahamas Meteorology Department – Latest local weather products for the Bahamas.

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12 thoughts on “Hurricane Sandy expands overnight

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