Monthly Archives: October 2012

Hurricane Sandy Summary

Hurricane Sandy Summary

sandy_radarFor many years, the New York City area was said to have been overdue for an extreme hurricane; there have been many tropical cyclones over the last few decades, some with significant impacts, although most were weakening extratropical-transitioning cyclones once affecting the region and generally had more impacts in terms of flooding, or kept the worst impacts east of NYC. The last hurricane to hit the eastern United States was hurricane Irene in 2011; Irene made landfall in NYC as a tropical storm, and resulted in significant impact especially from flooding across the region, most notably in interior New England with devastating floods, but did not produce the worst possible impacts for coastal locations. Hurricane Sandy, however, took a different approach when affecting the region compared to typical East Coast hurricanes, with stronger intensity, longer duration, and extreme damage along the coast that have secured its place as one of the worst storms on record to affect both the NYC area, and with over $60 billion in damage, one of the most damaging storms in the United States as well, with Sandy the second costliest US hurricane in recorded history, only behind Hurricane Katrina.

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Hurricane Sandy Updates

In this post, updates will be posted about the historic Hurricane Sandy as long as I have power. Should I lose power connection, updates will be suspended.

NOTE: Due to a change in schedule, live updating mode will begin earlier, at 1:30 PM. Updates will frequently be posted on Twitter regarding current observations, with slightly more detailed updates in this post regarding the progress of the storm and any potential changes of the forecast.



Tuesday Afternoon Brief Update:

Sandy continues to weaken over Pennsylvania as of early this afternoon while rain bands continue to spin around, occasionally moving through New Jersey. Occasional showers will continue today, while breezy winds will continue with gusts occasionally up to 30-40 mph. Mainly cloudy skies with scattered showers and breezy conditions will continue through Thursday, when Sandy will finally exit the region.

Sandy has caused widespread devastation across the NYC area and the Northeast. Houses have been destroyed, streets and subway stations are flooded, and coastal locations along NYC, Long Island and New Jersey were left partially or mostly underwater by Sandy’s surge which brought water levels at the battery to a record 13.88 feet, flooding lower Manhattan, while the majority of lower Manhattan south of 39th street was left without power. Widespread power outages continue, with over 900,000 customers with Long Island Power Authority and 800,000 customers with Con Ed without power, with outages for many likely to last for days. In the end, Sandy is expected to end up as one of the most expensive natural disasters in US history.

No forecast discussion will be posted today. The next forecast update will be either on Wednesday or Thursday, with an update on the weather following Sandy’s departure from the region.

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Oct 28, 2012: Final Hurricane Sandy Forecast

Brief Overview:

Sandy continues to steadily approach the region as a 75 mph hurricane, with its center currently east of North Carolina moving northeast. Sandy remains a massive hurricane, with tropical storm force winds extending up to 520 miles outward of its center and its rain bands already moving into the Northeast, as shown in the latest radar to the left. Sandy will turn towards the NW on Monday, making landfall over central New Jersey in the evening, resulting in widespread damage that is set to make Sandy a potentially historic storm. Click below to read the full post for the latest analysis on Sandy.

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Oct 28, 2012 – Zone A Evacuations Ordered

Live updates are being posted throughout the day in the NYC Area Weather Twitter page.


Breaking News – Bloomberg orders a mandatory evacuation of Zone A in NYC. Find your evacuation zone here. NYC Public schools have been closed for Monday, and mass transit in NYC will be suspended starting at 7 PM tonight.

1:30 PM: NJ Transit will begin a system-wide shut down of its bus, rail and light rail services starting at 4 PM, with a full shut down by 2 AM. No decision has been made yet regarding resumption of services. Read the full article here.

5:20 PM: If you have not prepared or evacuated, NOW is the time to do so. Mass transit is beginning to shut down, and tunnels and bridges in and out of NYC are likely to be closed as well. Conditions will only worsen tonight and throughout the day on Monday, with the peak in the evening and early overnight hours. Sandy is expected to be worse than Irene, with a longer duration, a significant storm surge of 6 to 11 feet for coastal areas, and widespread wind gusts between 60-75 mph across the area, potentially getting as high as 85-95 mph for coastal areas.

The final forecast discussion on Sandy will be posted late this evening. Live storm updates will be posted throughout Monday afternoon and evening unless I lose power, in which case updates will be suspended.

7:41 PM: Jersey City, NJ orders mandatory evacuation of low lying areas and flood zones by Monday morning. Hoboken, NJ also has mandatory evacuations of ground floor apartments by midnight.


Oct 27, 2012: Historic Impact from Hurricane Sandy

Brief Overview:

Sandy remains a hurricane off the coast of the Southeastern coast of the United States, steadily moving to the northeast parallel to the eastern US coast. Cloud cover associated with Sandy already covers almost the entire East Coast from Florida to Maine, and conditions will only deteriorate from this point as Sandy turns northwest late on Sunday, intensifying even more before striking the region on Monday as a historic superstorm with widespread, damaging, and far reaching impacts. Click below to read the full post for the latest analysis of Sandy and its impact.
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Oct 26, 2012: Hurricane Sandy Approaches

Brief Overview:

Attention tonight remains focused on Hurricane Sandy, which is currently located near the Bahamas, slowly but steadily making its way up the coast. Early next week, Sandy will strengthen while turning northwest, making landfall in the Northeast US as an abnormally strong storm with potentially historic impact across the region. Click below to read the full post for the latest analysis of Sandy.

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Oct 25, 2012: Historic Storm Early Next Week

Brief Overview:

All attention is now focused on Hurricane Sandy, which is currently near the Bahamas and approaching the East Coast. While there remain some differences with the model guidance and uncertainties, probability is quickly increasing that the Northeast US may be on track to deal with a historic event. Click below to read the full post for an in-depth analysis of the upcoming situation and potential impacts.

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Oct 24, 2012 Brief Update

Note: For unknown reasons, the two polls in the right side of the blog have not been functioning properly, and keep erasing the previous votes every few hours. For now, I have the previous votes saved, and additional votes will be added with the previous ones. If the polls are still not functioning properly on Thursday, I will find an alternative voting method.


**Tonight’s update is brief. An in-depth discussion will be posted on Thursday afternoon or evening.**

Hurricane Sandy Update

As of tonight, Sandy is rapidly intensifying while making landfall in eastern Cuba. Sandy intensified more than expected and is currently a 110 mph category 2 hurricane with a minimum pressure of 957 mb – in terms of minimum pressure, Sandy is the strongest hurricane of the year, and tied for 2nd place in terms of wind speeds. Sandy is very close to category 3 intensity, and may either briefly make it there or fall short before weakening slightly once moving out of Cuba. From there, Sandy will track NNW through the Bahamas before turning NE and moving parallel to the SE US coast but staying offshore.

Northeast Storm Update: Big Storm Scenario Gaining Support

As last night’s discussion mentioned, the GFS was a likely outlier and was expected to trend towards more impact in the region, while the solutions with the phasing and retrograde into the Northeast US became more likely. The GFS is still lacking continuity between runs, although it took steps closer to the rest of the model guidance with a more favorable shortwave. The main difference between the GFS and the rest of the model guidance is that it has weaker ridging to the east of Sandy which separates the hurricane and a strong low pressure further out in the Atlantic, which opens up a small window for Sandy to escape east. Sandy does briefly escape east and misses the earlier phase that the rest of the global models show, although the very strong anomalous block to the north forces Sandy back west, and the storm retrogrades into Nova Scotia and eastern Maine as opposed to the NYC area. While such a solution is not impossible, it is less likely to verify, and especially given the lack of continuity issues and differences with its ensemble members, the GFS will continue to change over the next 1-2 days, and is expected to trend towards a storm closer to the area, with its current solutions most likely outliers.

Overall, there is much higher confidence today that there will be a retrograde (east to west movement), with Sandy expected to move NW towards the Northeast US as an intense storm. The spread for the exact landfall location remains large, however, and any point along the coast from Virginia to Boston is at risk of seeing a landfall; by the time Sandy makes landfall, it won’t be purely tropical, but rather a hybrid storm, with some tropical characteristics and some extratropical characteristics. Potential impacts from Sandy, should the currently modeled scenarios verify, would be significant, with impacts including very heavy rains, strong to damaging wind gusts, and significant coastal flooding.

More information will be posted with the next update on Thursday afternoon or evening. A more in-depth analysis will be posted along with more information on the potential impacts, and the 5-Day Forecast will be updated for the entire area then as well.



Oct 23, 2012: Showers Tonight; Next Week Update

Forecast Highlights:

– Some showers expected tonight, Wednesday; light rain totals
– Temperatures start in 60s, warm up to 70s by weekend
– Update on storm potential for early next week

Cloud cover and some showers will continue through Wednesday and Thursday before a warm up during the weekend. Attention then turns to Tropical Storm Sandy, which as a non-tropical system is increasingly likely to affect the region. Click below to read the full post for the latest information.

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Oct 22, 2012: Watching Early Next Week

[notice]10/23 Morning Update: A poll has been added in the right side of the blog about the possibilities for the storm. Stay tuned for brief updates in the NYC Area Weather Twitter page before the evening discussion.[/notice]

Forecast Highlights:

– Some showers Tues, Weds; cooler temps
– Moderate warm up for weekend; highs back in 70s
– Uncertainty with cold front and Tropical Storm Sandy interaction for early next week

The model guidance remains split today regarding a storm early next week, with some showing a significant storm affecting the region while others show nothing of interest. Click below to read the full post for more information on this time period.

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