Babysitting Sandy On Friday Night

Hurricane Sandy!

It’s not going to be a miss. It’s just a question of how much of a hit. That’s where we stand Friday night.

Sandy is still 750 miles away. That’s straight line distance. Sandy will take a longer route. The storm will meander, first to the right then the left. It’s a hurricane path unlike any I’ve seen before.

Let’s face it, Sandy is unlike any storm I’ve seen before! It’s also unlike anything the computer models have dealt with before. Are they properly configured to understand the internal dynamics? Ask me next Friday.

There have been stronger and larger hurricanes. This is not about superlatives of strength. It’s about structure.

Sandy will soon become a weird hybrid–not quite a hurricane, not quite a winter storm. Hurricanes are fueled by warm water. Winter storms get their power from temperature contrasts.

Usually when hurricanes lose their warm water source they fizzle. Sandy won’t. A cold front to the west will help ‘preserve’ the storm’s strength as its wind field widens.

Pretty much everything I wrote yesterday holds. Landfall will probably be late Monday or early Tuesday. The official track brings Sandy to the Jersey Shore on Tuesday.

Interestingly, NHC’s track is south of the GFS and ECMWF (European) models. If the GFS and ECMWF hold steady later tonight expect the official forecast to be nudged farther north.

A GFS type track (see graphic at the top) would be tragic for Connecticut. Tropical storm force winds, high tides with major coastal flooding and heavy rain would be likely. And the GFS keeps the storm (though at diminished strength) nearby through the end of the week!

The ECMWF isn’t as bad, but still pretty brutal here.

Only if Hurricane Sandy turns west much farther to the south than anyone expects will we be spared. One can hope. It’s unlikely.

Of all Connecticut’s perils, coastal flooding and beachfront destruction are the scariest. If you’re asked to evacuate, don’t be foolish.

The Washington Post quotes AccuWeather senior Vice President Mike Smith:

A very prominent and respected National Weather Service meteorologist wrote on Facebook last night,

I’ve never seen anything like this and I’m at a loss for expletives to describe what this storm could do.

Yeah, that’s about right.

Our effects from Sandy begin Sunday with a breezy, showery day. Not too terrible. The wind ramps up Monday and continues that trend, peaking sometime Tuesday.

You should now be well into your storm preps. Use the time wisely. Be prepared. Stay safe.

It’s entirely possible Connecticut’s run-in with Sandy will be bad and not BAD. Still, someone on the East Coast will be dealt a body blow.

More tonight after the late models arrive.

13 thoughts on “Babysitting Sandy On Friday Night”

  1. Hey Geoff,

    Can you explain the “European Model” that everyone is talking about? Where is this forecast based out of? Europe, I assume. How reliable are they on predicting our weather??


    1. AS far as the “European Model” goes it has been one of the best at forecasting hurricanes for the last few years. It is based in reading (south west of London) in the United Kingdom and is supported by 15 other member states. As with the American (GFS) model they use supercomputers to predict the weather for the entire globe so a hell of a lot of numbers go into and come out of every weather model every time they are run. As with all predictions they are called predictions for a reason, your never going to be 100% accurate, but usually from 3-4 days out they are usually very good indicators of where a weather system will go.

      The only thing that does puzzle me is the amount of data that comes out of these models has to be analyzed by meteorologists such as Geoff, I understand basic aspects of whats going where and how (and with practice I am starting to make my own weather forecasts albeit checked against the professionals). To do that when people are counting on you to make the right call… It gives you more respect for people who do this job like Geoff and the 1000’s of others worldwide.

      1. Am i missing something? i mean as far as the model on the site you listed it doesnt look like sandy is taking the dip towards the west that would lead it into the eastcoast

  2. Thanks for the info, Simon. Wasn’t aware of the specifics on the “European Model”.

    Going to stay tuned to FoxCT and Geoff for the latest…… 🙂

  3. Geoff:

    You wrote “Interestingly, NHC’s track is south of the GFS and ECMWF (European) models. If the GFS and ECMWF hold steady later tonight expect the official forecast to be nudged farther north.”

    I’m surprised to see that NCH’s track is still more to the south after the 8 pm update. Based on the way the models are converging, especially GFS and ECMWF, I would expect to see a more northerly positioning by the NHC.

    It is important for people not to view this storm as a tropical disturbance; the confluence of Sandy with the approaching low from the west make this an entirely different animal. From what I can tell right now, it appears that the greatest threats are going to be first, shoreline flooding and second high sustained winds with strong gusts over a prolonged period of time. Can’t get a good handle on potential rainfall amounts, which right now appear to be on the light side for a storm of this magnitude?

    We’ll see what NHC does with the latest data tomorrow.

  4. What do you do to prepare for a storm like this? I’m in Hamden as well (but over in Spring Glen). I don’t expect to be evacuated (not close to the water). Do you prepare for a possible evacuation? We have ice chests, water, a lot of shelf stable food, candles, flashlights, a stove that’s safe to run indoors. We never lost power for Irene or the Halloween storm last year so I’m cautiously optimistic about that. I’m a California native so I’m was completely freaked out by Irene, I’m less afraid about this one just because it’s not my first storm, but still nervous. Until today I was hopeful it would still miss us.

  5. Thanks Geoff! Unlike the other sites, you are not scaring us every chance you get. I found out today my new work never lost power during Irene…so i’m keeping my fingers crossed for that!

  6. Jennifer (and others),
    A few bits of advice from someone who was here for Irene, Bob and Gloria…

    If you’re new to the area, go out tomorrow and talk to your neighbors. Find out if there has been flooding in the past – not just in your own area, but also of possible routes out of your area. (You don’t have to be near the shore to have flooding – with a heavy rain low lying areas are apt to flood, too.)

    If you have a grill, consider filling the propane tank/buying charcoal (remember, for OUTDOOR use ONLY!) You may want to get a few disposable aluminum pans or find a couple old pans that you don’t mind wrecking to cook on the grill with. A roll of aluminum foil is good, too. If you’re someone who desperately needs your coffee, you might want to grab a jar of instant and some creamer that doesn’t need refrigeration.

    Glow sticks are a wonderful thing – you’re not going to read by one, but it’s enough to find your way around the house and one will last all night without causing a fire hazard (don’t leave candles unattended.)

    Fill whatever pots/pans you have with water, fill the sink/tub/any buckets you have with water to flush the toidy. If we get a lot of rain you could even collect rain water for flushing.

    Charge everything (laptop, cell phone, etc.) If you let your car run to charge the cell phone, make sure you do it outside, not in the garage.

    Portable phones use electricity – make sure you’ve got at least one corded phone somewhere where you don’t need to run the length of the house to answer it.

    Don’t try to wire a generator into the house wiring unless you know exactly what you’re doing because you certainly don’t want to electrocute the nice utility worker who’s trying to get the power back on!!!

    Remember that after the first day or two of no tv/internet/etc you (and especially your kids) are going to be bored stiff. Suggest getting a deck of cards, board games or something similar to keep busy.

    Past experience tells me that we should all expect a week with no power. But, when you get really frustrated – remember that the Amish live without power all the time.

    1. Ah, something else I forgot to add.

      If you’ve got an ice-maker in your fridge, start making extra ice, filling plastic bags and stuffing them in the freezer. Once the power goes out, you can pack them into your cooler or fridge around the stuff you want to keep cold.

      Also do the laundry and vacuum. 🙂

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