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.