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.
11:30 PM Update:
Although the strongest winds from Sandy have likely passed, damage from Sandy only continues to get worse and more widespread due to the historic storm surge resulting from the storm. Many damage reports are coming out of the NYC area – entire neighborhoods are flooded, transformers are exploding with widespread power outages and fires due to downed power lines, large sections of lower Manhattan are without power with subway stations flooded with seawater, with many more reports, both confirmed and unconfirmed. Significant flooding has also been observed along the Hudson River into coastal locations in northeast NJ, including Jersey City and Hoboken, also extending across the majority of the New Jersey and Long Island coasts. A record high water level was set at the battery NY of 13.88 feet, far exceeding the previous record of 10.02 feet set with Hurricane Donna of 1960. The storm is still ongoing, and the full extent of the damage remains unknown. By the time that the storm ends, Sandy will be among the worst storms in recorded history in New York City.
Looking at the next few hours, there are additional rain bands that will develop and move into the immediate NYC area and New Jersey, with strong wind gusts expected to continue, although the worst of the winds have peaked earlier this evening when a large part of the NYC area had gusts above 70 mph, with a few reports of 90+ mph gusts in Long Island. Wind gusts will gradually improve throughout the overnight hours, with occasional showers and windy conditions still expected later tonight into Tuesday with less winds than observed today, although the storm surge will remain a problem for many coastal locations in the NYC area and the Long Island Sound.
This is the last storm update for Sandy of the day. Unless I lose power, the next update is scheduled for Tuesday morning. Stay safe for the night.
7:48 PM: As of this evening, Sandy has officially transitioned into a post tropical cyclone ENE of Cape May while approaching landfall. Despite this, Sandy remains a very dangerous storm.
The peak of the storm is currently underway across the area. Widespread wind gusts of 70-80+ mph have been reported, including a 90 mph gust in Islip, NY. The storm surge continues to rise, with widespread and significant coastal flooding affecting Long Island, NYC, and coastal New Jersey, as the Hudson River continues to flood into Jersey City and Hoboken. The surge continues to rise at the battery near the New York Harbor and is over 12 feet, and has yet to peak. The record flood stage was 11.25 feet. By now, the wind and storm surge are clearly worse than last year’s Irene. By the time this storm ends, it will have its place as one of the worst storms on record to affect the NYC area.
The worst of the storm will continue for the next few hours, until at least 10 PM, with decreasing winds afterwards as additional rain develops especially west of NYC. Conditions will gradually improve throughout the overnight hours but windy conditions will continue, just not to the magnitude of what is currently being observed.
6:54 PM Update: A partial building collapse happened in 8th Ave. and 14th St. in Manhattan, although fortunately no one was significantly injured. For more information click here.
5:54 PM: As of 5 PM, Sandy was still a category 1 hurricane, with 90 mph sustained winds and a very low minimum pressure of 940 mb. Sandy was 30 miles ESE of Cape May, and is moving at 28 mph to the WNW. If Sandy makes landfall in Cape May and doesn’t miss it to the south and/or transition to a post-tropical cyclone first, it will be the first hurricane to make landfall in New Jersey since 1903. Sandy’s minimum pressure is the lowest on record for this region.
Widespread power outages are already affecting the area, with over 400,000 customers in Long Island alone without power. Wind gusts continue to steadily intensify across the area, and are generally in the 60-75 mph range across most of Long Island and coastal CT with lower gusts into northern NJ and SE NY. As Sandy makes landfall, a strong low level jet will move in which along with steeper lapse rates will result in the strongest winds of the storm out of the southeast, with widespread 65 to 85 mph gusts, perhaps locally up to 90 mph, expected, between at least 7 and 10 PM. Afterwards, wind gusts will gradually decrease with additional light to moderate rain expected.
The storm surge continues to rise as well, with Sandy Hook passing record stage of about 10 feet. Battery Park continues to rise as well and is up to 8.9 feet, expected to reach at least 11-12 feet this evening. The strongest winds will be from the southeast this evening, with the worst of the storm surge also expected around the high tide, which along with the full moon tonight is a set up for even more widespread and damaging coastal flooding.
2:18 PM: There are several minor changes with Sandy: Sandy is south of the forecast track, and is set to hit Atlantic City. The area will still see very strong wind gusts in the back side of the storm in the evening, although the highest gusts are likely to be further south. Additionally, Sandy is moving faster than expected towards landfall, and may already be onshore by 4-6 PM. This will still bring a significant storm surge of 6 to 11 feet for coastal areas tonight, however, in time for the high tide and the full moon tonight, with coastal flooding only to get worse.
The very worst of Sandy looks to hit the New Jersey coast, from Cape May to locations just south of New York City, with Atlantic City close to the worst of the storm. The storm is not onshore yet and conditions continue to rapidly deteriorate across the coast. Despite the landfall location and the speed changing, this does NOT mean that Sandy will spare the area of its impacts, as it remains a massive storm with the lowest minimum pressure ever recorded in the region. Wind gusts are still expected to peak in the 50-60 mph range for interior northwestern areas, 60-75 mph in the immediate NYC area, and 65-80 mph for most of Long Island and southern CT. Wind gusts of 85-90 mph may be possible for some areas with the peak of the storm this evening. Rain amounts, however, are expected to be lower than forecast due to the low pressure staying south, with at least 1 to 3 inches expected from today through Thursday across the area, locally higher west and south of NYC.
6:30 AM: Hurricane Sandy defied expectations early this morning and intensified more than expected – as of NHC’s 5 AM update, Sandy is up to 85 mph sustained winds with a minimum pressure of 946 mb. The latest hurricane hunters found even lower pressures, as low as 942 mb, and additional intensification with wind speeds is expected as well as Sandy moves over water sea surface temperatures. I may need to revise the wind gust and storm surge forecasts upwards later this morning.