Now That Sandy’s Gone

I meant to do a blog post Monday afternoon or evening. Fat chance. My blog goes way back on the list of priorities when there’s a weather story like Hurricane Sandy.

The damage and destruction are truly astounding. Here in Connecticut we got bruised–badly bruised.

Some homes near the beach just washed away. I understand one of our TV competitors is short a newscruiser, also washed away in the Sound.

We lost electricity in almost as many homes and businesses as had lost it during Irene or the Halloween snowstorm. Repairs will be faster this time. No one wants to get the governor pissed off. Fair enough.

In New York and New Jersey it’s much worse. It will be months before they’re fully functional.

I’ve mentioned this before. Any natural disaster suffers ‘fog of war.’ The full scope of an emergency isn’t immediately obvious even if you’re expecting it, as we were yesterday.

We were lucky at home. Helaine said the power flickered then died for about five seconds before returning.

Lots of limbs are down. I crossed one the thickness of my leg as I drove toward the garage. Neighbors on both sides lost trees right on the property line.

Last week I arranged for a stately, but dying, 80 foot oak to get cut down. It withstood Sandy. It still has to go. Sad.

Haters will hate. Someone complained on Twitter we were on instead of Big Bang Theory. I’m no Sheldon!

On my Facebook wall someone posted:

Why is governor Malloy scaring the sh%t out of everyone and giving a “Katrina like warning” to many shoreline towns. News stations are reporting that the tide/surge is receding.

That was sent late afternoon. The highest tide wasn’t coming in until nearly midnight.

What strikes me most about the whole Hurricane Sandy affair is the incredible accuracy of the European model. It had Sandy’s basic trajectory over a week out. That’s not to say it was spot on. Landfall moved from Cape Cod to the Delmarva and then finally New Jersey.

Where the Euro outshone all the other models was the early call for a turn back to the west, meaning Hurricane Sandy would strike the U.S. taking a path never before seen! It was the first and most consistent in making that call.

Why can the Europeans do this while we cannot? Good question. The Euro takes longer to process. Maybe we’ve made tradeoffs for speed? I suspect questions will be asked of NCEP, the model gurus at NOAA.

People assume meteorologists love this kind of weather. No.

There was a time, around 4:00 PM, when the storm was coming in ‘as predicted’ but Rachel and I began to second guess ourselves. Would Sandy live up to expectations? It’s storms like this where you make or lose a reputation.

I didn’t want anyone hurt. Simultaneously, I didn’t want to be wrong. After all the words of meteorologists had disrupted millions, maybe billions of dollars of commerce before the first leaf fluttered.

I do enjoy the challenge of live television. It’s tightrope walking without a net.

It’s been a running joke wherever I’ve worked, I could fill a show by myself if necessary. That might be an annoying trait 364 days a year, but at times like these it’s really valuable.

What also came in handy yesterday was knowing what data was available and where to find it. We’re not looking at tide gauges on a daily basis or the SLOSH forecast… ever!

Talk show ‘bookers’ used to be known for their Rolodexes. I feel the same way about my web browser bookmarks! I’ve got weather minutiae covered.

We did wall-to-wall coverage on FoxCT. The newsroom is an exciting place during breaking news coverage. Everyone knows ‘this one counts’ and steps it up accordingly. This isn’t limited to our newsroom I’m sure, but it was still cool to watch where I work.

Meteorologists won’t be as important over the next few days as this transitions into a conventional news story. That’s fine. I can use the break.

11 thoughts on “Now That Sandy’s Gone”

  1. Geoff,

    I watched FoxCT’s coverage streaming online all day yesterday. I thought you, Rachel, Joe, and the entire FoxCT crew did a fantastic job covering what was happening and also telling us the WHY and HOW of the things were happening.

    What really infuriates me though, is even with all the advance warning, evacuation orders and continual repetition of just how bad conditions were expected, people still failed to heed recommendations. How anyone could look at the information provided and still put property/possessions ahead of their personal safety and put subsequent Fire/EMS/Rescue personnel at risk is truly beyond me.

  2. Thanks so much for your in-depth posts over the past week, Geoff. The information has been invaluable, amd truly appreciated.

  3. We watched Fox 61 wall to wall coverage from the safety of Titusville Go on Ctnow thanks we still have family in ct good job and good luck.

  4. Geoff, thought you and the entire staff did an outstanding job! I also thought your warnings & blogs were fair and pretty spot on. I’ve been listening and preparing as you grew more concerned. I’ve watched you since HS – always trusted your forecast. Thanks for doing what you do best and having us ready!!! 🙂

  5. “Why is governor Malloy scaring the sh%t out of everyone and giving a “Katrina like warning” to many shoreline towns. News stations are reporting that the tide/surge is receding.”

    I, personally, think it was the right thing to do at that point. The more people he could “scare” into leaving their shoreline homes meant the less people there that could be injured or worse.

  6. It will be interesting to see how long the NAO can remain in a negative phase. Last year, this time the October storm was caused by negative NAO. Throughout the actual Winter season, we kept seeing signs of the NAO returning to a negative phase, teasing us, but it never did. As a result, our winter was uneventful to say the least. Will be hang on to the negative NAO this winter season and get some East Coast “phasers”? I would be interested to hear your thoughts and so would the many CT residents who bought a generator last week and did not use it or return it yet.

  7. Geoff, As a resident of Old Saybrook I was glad for the advanced warning. I have to say I am astonished at the amount of people who did not heed your warning and the local mandatory evacution. Highly educated adults, one on the BOE,(board of ed) with children decided to stay in their home,risking their lives, their children’s lives and the first responders should they need to be evacuated. One family I know had their house completely surrounded by water with a foot in their basement, and they stayed in their home. Just goes to show no matter how many letters you have behind your name, you can still have STUPID stamped across your forehead!Keep up the good work. Many of us are listening and trust you. Don’t worry about “getting it wrong”. Better to err on the side of caution.

  8. Elayne I wouldn’t exactly consider anyone on the Board of Ed to be “Highly Educated.” Sure maybe they went to college for a while, but evidently they don’t know any more than the average 4th grader. Just look at how the schools are run!

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