It’s Tough To Believe Sandy’s Aftermath

The more I see the more astonished I am by what Hurricane Sandy brought to the Northeast. Everything that’s happened to Connecticut looks like a light bruise compared to New Jersey, New York City and Long Island.

This picture shows the entrance to the South Ferry subway station in Lower Manhattan. As I understand it the platform and tracks are 80 feet below street level. This is just the top of an amazing amount of water.

To get that one station working all the water will have to be pumped out, but it’s saltwater. Engineers will have to check rails and electrical gear for corrosion or potential corrosion. Of course they can’t do that until they remove the sludge, silt and trash that undoubtedly has sunk to the bottom.

That’s just one station on one line. There are more, like 86th Street on the left. There are tunnels too, hundreds of miles of tunnels.

Do I even want to think where New York’s subway rats have gone?

New York City will offer limited subway service Thursday morning. I have no idea how they’ll do that. Most of the lines pass near or through areas that were flooded. Most lines store their rolling stock out-of-doors.

In New Jersey some beachfront communities have been leveled. Others cities, like Hoboken, remain underwater with some residents trapped New Orleans style.

New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie toured some of the worst areas with President Obama. This is what they were talking about when the phrase, “Politics makes strange bedfellows,” was coined!

Christie, the guy who gave Mitt Romney’s keynote address at the Republican National Convention said,

When it comes to getting things done, I don’t care what party someone is in. The responsibility I have is much bigger than politics.

Seriously, if you would have told me I’d see Christie and Obama walking side-by-side arm-in-arm I would have thought you were nuts. Last week this photo would have been questioned as probably Photoshopped!

How the hell do we rebuild from this? It is a monumental task. Has there ever been a rehab project so vast?

I’m sure I’m missing something important, but won’t the forced rebuilding from this disaster end up being good for the economy&#185? All of a sudden there are jobs that need our out-of-work tradesmen.

Folks on the Jersey Shore understood the peril of living near the sea, but New Yorkers always felt immune from a natural disaster like this. No more. The bloom is off the rose. Anything’s possible now.

&#185 – Seriously, I haven’t given that last line a lot of deep thought and will appreciate any comments setting me straight.

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.

Sandy Is On Her Way

Good morning from my desk in the FoxCT/Hartford Courant newsroom, aka Connecticut’s Newsroom.

It’s thinned out as you might expect at 2:00 AM, but we’re still staffed. This is the calm before the storm.

It’s been over a week since I first ‘met’ Sandy. She was just a cluster of thunderstorms south of Jamaica back then. Why she immediately drew interest within the meteorological community isn’t clear, but we all followed her… or pre-her.

Nearly a week and a half ago the ECMWF model predicted landfall on the US East Coast. Crazy talk! It was a path storms never take&#185. And yet as we all watched the ECMWF held true.

Sure the exact spot changed by a few hundred miles, but the overall prediction was incredible from that time and distance away.

This morning Hurricane Sandy is over 400 miles south of Connecticut with top sustained winds of 75 mph. We’re beginning to feel some of its wind. We’re still hours away from tropical storm force gusts.

The latest run of the SLOSH model, the storm tide predictor, shows slightly lower high tides on the Connecticut shoreline. It’s probably because Sandy will make landfall a little earlier than expected which moves the highest surge farther out of alignment with the highest tide.

Severe flooding, especially in the New Haven area and west is still likely. Moderate to severe flooding will be the case east of the New Haven metro.

The rest of the state should see tropical storm and occasionally hurricane force gusts from late afternoon through late evening before tapering off. Trees, tree limbs and power lines will surely come down.

How many? Tough to say. We’ll get a better understanding of how well the power companies have mended their ways by Tuesday.

There will be a lot of rain, but not for us. A few inches sure, but farther south they’ll see multiples of that. Inland flooding in Connecticut will be limited.

So, now we wait.

Stay safe. Think before you act. If asked to evacuate, please do so.

&#185 – For years I had a theory that a direct hurricane strike was nearly impossible because the storm would have to hug the Jersey coast. I never once considered a storm coming in from the southeast.

Sandy And The Shoreline

Stamford has called for mandatory evacuations for residents who live in SLOSH Areas I and II. Residents who reside in SLOSH Areas III and IV are urged to prepare for a mandated evacuation, which may become necessary later today.

If you don’t live near the water in Stamford these designations mean nothing. Areas I and II are near the shore. Area III extends inland beyond I-95 and the railroad tracks!

Water levels at the Bridgeport, New Haven and New London tide stations are already nearly two feet above normal. Hurricane Sandy is still hundreds of miles south of Cape Hatteras, NC!

The threat is real. People who stay in place on the Connecticut shoreline risk injury or even death. It is possible we’ll see miles and miles of destruction up-and-down the shore.

Long Island Sound is forecast to reach higher levels than seen for the Hurricane of ’38!

Please take these warnings seriously. If asked to evacuate, don’t wait.

Sandy: No New News Is Bad News

Hurricane Sandy is on everyone’s mind. I got an email this morning from a friend in Noank. He lives on the beach. He was looking for advice.

You have to leave! You have to move to higher ground with your family. Everything I see tells me flooding and destruction will be worse than anything seen since 1938 and maybe more!

You have about 24 hours, maybe a little more, but don’t push it. Water levels will be 5-10′ higher than usual plus astronomical high tides.

I would not scare you as much as I hope I’m scaring you if it wasn’t warranted. No forecast is 100% right. I could be wrong, but there’s nothing to make me think that.

Be safe. Keep your family safe.


This is serous stuff. Hurricane Sandy will bring pain to all of Connecticut, but nowhere more than the shoreline. All the computer guidance piles water into the Sound, trapping it there.

At 2:00 PM Sunday water levels are already a foot and a half above normal. The storm is still 270 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, NC.

The high water will move inland. Roads will be washed over. Exit routes will cease to exist.

Water levels in Long Island Sound will likely reach historic levels beyond those seen with the Hurricane of ’38. We won’t have that storm’s wind, but water is actually more destructive!

One of the forecasters at the Weather Service office in Mount Holly, NJ said, “It’s guidance, not gospel.” It’s possible what I’m talking about won’t happen, but that seems unlikely right now. There’s too much downside to wait and see.

The entire state will get strong, gusty winds. It’s likely we won’t get sustained winds at hurricane force, but hurricane force gusts are possible and tropical storm gusts are probable. We will lose power in many places.

The computer projections show winds stronger than Irene.

The strongest winds will be at the shore, but damaging winds will be seen statewide. If you’re on a hill or a tall building your wind will be stronger.

How we fare versus last year’s October snow and Hurricane Irene remains to be seen. The power companies claim to be better prepared. Talk is cheap.

Rain looks less problematic than with Irene. Inland flooding is still possible, but limited.

If it seems you’ve read this before, it’s because you have! There have been few changes to my forecast or my read of the consequences for a few days.

This is a very serious situation. Though the greatest peril is at the shore, the danger inland is high too.

You have precious little time to finish your preparations. By midday Monday travel will be difficult or impossible statewide.

If you are worrying whether you’re in a safe place, assume you are not. Find a place of shelter to hunker down until the storm passes.

Be smart. Think before you act. Stay out of harm’s way.

I’ll be heading to work at FoxCT in a few hours and plan on staying at the station through the storm. I’ll see you later on-air and online.

48 Hours From Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is less than two days away. It is a major threat to our state. Don’t think that kind of weather doesn’t happen here, because it does and there’s every indication it will!

I am fearful. I suspect fear is now a common emotion in Connecticut. It is warranted.

What struck me today is how few surprises there were. Considering Hurricane Sandy has a structure like no other storm we’ve seen and is taking a path unlike any I’ve experienced, the computer guidance has been amazingly consistent.

Consistent model agreement implies the computers have properly latched onto Sandy’s salient features.

What’s come into sharper focus is the potential for shoreline flooding. If the guidance is right this will be a coastal inundation of historic proportions. The damage and destruction will be the most seen since the Hurricane of ’38, maybe more!

Starting Sunday the tide will begin to rise and never really fall until sometime Tuesday. Late Monday, Bridgeport’s high tide is forecast 8 feet above the tide table projection. At New London it will be 6 feet higher than expected. We’re likely to see water well inland in many shoreline towns.

If you live near the beach just assume now you will have to leave. The area of evacuation will be more widespread than in past storms.

You don’t want to ride this one out. You don’t want to head to the beach for photos either. Escape routes will go from passable to blocked in seconds.

Inland we’ll miss the worst of the rain. That’s destined for points south of us.

We will see a long duration of very strong winds. We don’t have as many leaves as August, but the wind speed and duration could make up for that in bringing down trees and power lines.

I read a quote earlier that United Illuminating (New Haven area power supplier) is expecting 70% of its customers to lose electricity.

The 00z GFS still shows landfall on the Jersey Shore late Monday evening. From there Sandy heads inland, then southwest. That’s new, but changes little!

If the GFS is right we start seeing destructive winds early Monday afternoon through Tuesday late morning. That’s shoreline, inland, everywhere. And if you’re on a hill or in a tall building your wind will be stronger.

The map at the top of this entry is the projected peak wind a few hundred feet off the ground through Tuesday morning. It is reflective of how strong isolated gusts might be. I saw Dan Amarante on FoxCT tonight with a map showing some wind gusts at hurricane strength.

You should now be well along in your storm preparations. There’s no reason to be harmed by Hurricane Sandy as long as you play it safe. Heed warnings. Follow evacuation orders. Stay out of harm’s way.

I’m back to work Sunday. We’ll have lots of coverage on FoxCT (and some extra coverage on WCCT Channel 20 and online).

Personally, I hope you choose us as your source. Even if you don’t, make sure you stay informed. Things change. I don’t want you caught flat footed.

Stay safe. Protect your family. Protect yourself. Be smart.

We’ll all have stories to tell later.

Sandy And Saturday’s ECMWF

I’ve just had a chance to compare the 12z and 00z ECMWF outputs. The latest run is farther north and farther east. That’s bad for us, not that it was good earlier.

The ECMWF fills the storm a little sooner, meaning the winds will diminish a little faster than originally expected.

The Weather Service has made a conscious decision not to issue Hurricane or Tropical Storm watches or warnings for New York and New England. From an academic standpoint they’re right. From a practical, what will benefit the public standpoint, they are totally wrong!

Who cares how my professors would characterize Hurricane Sandy? Actionable information is what counts! The public understands “hurricane” equals “danger.”


That’s not the same as a Hurricane or Tropical Storm Warning. Maybe it’s why New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg downplayed the perils of Hurricane Sandy for the city.

A meteorologist friend who works for another Connecticut TV station and will remain nameless notes,

I can’t believe him… but this is exactly why the NHC made the total wrong call here.

Correct. New York City is not well served by the mayor’s actions.

As for the forecast, not much has changed.

I was speaking with Rachel Frank a little earlier and we both noticed with small exceptions everything we were saying two or three days ago still holds.

You should be well into your storm preps by now.

The wind will begin to slowly pick up Sunday. The same holds true for water levels in Long Island Sound (already around a foot above tide table predictions). Showers Sunday turn into downpours Monday.

Make no mistake, Connecticut is threatened by Hurricane Sandy. There is every indication statewide this will be our worst storm in nearly 75 years!

Be safe. Stay safe. Keep yourself out of harm’s way. Storms like Sandy can block escape routes instantly. If asked to evacuate, please do so.

More late tonight when the 00z models become available.

Sandy Remains An Impressive Threat

Saturday afternoon. Pajamas. Kitchen table. Laptop. Worried look.

I’m scared I’m right. I’m scared I’m wrong. The meteorologist’s conundrum.

Each and every aspect of Sandy’s impact on Connecticut looks worse than anything I’ve seen before and I’ve been forecasting here 28 years.

With the time frame for Sandy’s arrival getting shorter there’s more guidance to look at. Some projections only go out 72 hours. I didn’t need them until now.

A huge concern is the shoreline. Water will pile up in the Sound before Sandy gets here. As the storm approaches windblown waves will form on top of that temporarily elevated sea level. At the same time the full moon will bring higher than normal tides!

The high tide at New London Monday evening is now forecast five feet above what’s on the tide tables. In Bridgeport the high tide will be seven feet above. In both cases the high tide will be broader and longer than usual as storm surge builds.

If tides come as now projected, Bridgeport breaks the record high tide measured during the Hurricane of ’38!

Inland and shoreline will experience enough wind to bring down trees, power lines and do structural damage. If you live on a hill or in a high rise building you will get more wind than folks closer to sea level.

This would be a bad time to visit New York City. Windows will blow out showering streets with glass. The subways might flood, bringing salt water to the rails and electrical infrastructure.

There will be plenty of rain, but inland flooding will be limited, not widespread.

Don’t let the storm’s position west of us fool you. In Irene, which barely grazed Litchfield County, our strongest winds were closer to the Rhode Island border! Hurricane Sandy is not a typical hurricane (understatement there) and will not act like one. The strongest winds won’t be limited to the area near the center.

The latest Hurricane Center track shows landfall in Southern Delaware late afternoon or evening on Monday&#185.

That last sentence does Hurricane Sandy (it’s been elevated to hurricane status again) a disservice! This hybrid storm will cover such a large area that the exact time or point of arrival aren’t important.

As was the case last night, I think the Hurricane Center landfall is too far south. Somewhere near Atlantic City, NJ is where I’d place it and where the model consensus places it. However, the last paragraph applies here too. The exact spot is inconsequential.

The wind will start ramping up Sunday. Our peak wind in Connecticut will happen Monday evening. We’ll stay gusty and blustery through Tuesday afternoon.

We probably won’t see hurricane force sustained winds, though there is a chance for a few hurricane force gusts. Remember, Irene affected Connecticut as a tropical storm and caused over 700,000 outages!

Sandy is a storm of great concern. The potential for damage or even loss of life is high. If you protect yourself and reduce your exposure to risk you should be OK.

If you’re on the shoreline and asked to evacuate, please do so immediately. Escape routes can flood or be blocked very quickly.

Play it safe. I am paid by the viewer.

¹ – A friend notes the NHC published track is misleading:

nhc getting lots of shit not because of the actual landfall point but b/c they don’t have 60 and 84hr points which would show central NJ landfall. As it is it’s very deceiving, dangerously so. and TWC shows it to everyone

Sandy The Hybrid

There is not a meteorologist in the Eastern US who isn’t poring over the 00Z data that’s coming in. Hurricane Sandy is still a major threat to the East Coast and a major threat to Connecticut.

The GFS is open in front of me using BUFKIT&#185. It’s a vertical wind profile for New Haven. The plot for Motion Transfer, the ability to bring to the ground strong winds from higher altitudes, looks like a steep mountain. It peaks late Monday evening.

That’s a change. In the new run of the GFS all the timing is sped up. What was Tuesday now looks Monday.

I worry about changes like that. At this stage I want the models ‘quiet’ as far as variability is concerned.

It is difficult to be a forecaster at a time like this. You want… I want… accuracy at a level beyond science’s current capabilities. If this forecast goes wrong you will be justified in being upset. I’ll certainly be upset.

The indicators at my disposal point toward landfall between Delaware Bay and Long Island. For a pure hurricane we’d hardly feel that in Connecticut. Sandy is different.


In other words it looks like a mid latitude system, the kind that might dump a few inches of snow on us in a typical December. It doesn’t look like a hurricane.

Hurricane Sandy is a hybrid. It’s a little bit country tropical and a little bit rock and roll cold core.

The Hurricane Center’s latest track surprised me. It was farther south than I expected.

It’s still awful news for us!

The GFS MOS shows wind at Groton/New London Airport as ENE@42 mph, Monday evening at 8:00 PM EDT. That’s a lot of wind and there will be gusts on top of that!

In Connecticut coastal flooding, trees/power lines down, damage to some structures and limited inland flooding seem likely. The impact will probably greater than Irene last year.

It’s tough to say what I just said. It’s scary talk. I am a little scared.

I keep looking at the data trying to find a reason to dismiss the threat. I can’t find it. I’m not 100% certain we’ll get blasted, but there’s nothing I see that says we won’t.

The ECMWF is in between 3:00 and 4:00. If there’s anything to report (and I’m awake) I’ll do a brief update.

Prepare for Sandy. Start your preps now. Keep your safety and the safety of others at the top of your list. Strong storms, like Sandy, can close escape routes very quickly. If asked, evacuate.

&#185 – BUFKIT is the Swiss Army Knife of weather. It is produced within the Weather Service. It’s available for free as is the data.

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.

Late Night With Sandy

I was just chatting with a friend, a meteorologist out-of-state. He wants to come up for Sandy. That’s crazy. Why would you want to expose yourself to that willingly?

not nec b/c of intensity, but because of duration * unknown structure

He’s saying Sandy is different from the other storms. It’s built different.

Beyond that most models are predicting sharp turns. It can’t do that without slowing its forward speed. If you’re under that turning point (as we might be) the storm could be over you an extended period of time–days. That’s rare, but possible.

The graphic at the top of this entry is the current GFS track. It is very scary for Connecticut. If that track comes true, we’re in trouble.

We are at the limits of science. We may be forecasting the storm correctly. One of the models might have it pegged. Which one? We just won’t know until Sandy’s gone!

As of tonight, GFS bad for us, UKMET bad for us and the ECMWF still to come&#185.

Most likely arrival time would be the pre-show Sunday and then the brunt of Sandy Monday and Tuesday.

There’s little we can do other than grin and bear it. Do things to keep yourself safe.

&#185 – ECMWF comes in with a massive hurricane in the Chesapeake Bay.

Very Brief Sandy Update

At moment Hurricane Sandy is doing what’s expected. The storm is tearing through the Bahamas. It has weakened.

It doesn’t look like it did last night when an eye and some banding were visible. Visiting Cuba will do that to you!

The Hurricane Center has joined the chorus explaining Sandy won’t be like other hurricanes at landfall.


That includes us here in Connecticut.

NHC has another problem. Sandy will sure transition or be transitioning from a warm to cold core storm. That will broaden its wind field. Unlike a ‘pure’ hurricane, Sandy’s top winds won’t be right at the eyewall.


I’ll try and write a little about the 00z GFS before bed tonight. I’m hoping for more agreement with the ECMWF, meaning a more (hopefully) reliable forecast and farther away from us!

My Good Morning America/Gloria Story

This is not my first time at the rodeo. I’ve covered hurricanes or their remnants a few times here in Connecticut. My first was Hurricane Gloria in 1985.

I was thinking about Gloria while sitting across from Al Terzi earlier this afternoon. Al was our main anchor in New Haven when Gloria came.

Back then TV stations weren’t as anxious to hop on a story and beat it to death! OK. Exaggeration.

Though Gloria was coming in the afternoon we ran our regular morning programming. That included ABC’s Good Morning America.

In 1984 GMA’s weather presenter was meteorologist Dave Murray. He’s in St. Louis now.

On the morning of Gloria’s arrival a meteorologist at ABC drew a tracking chart which was then given to an artist who produced the graphic seen on-the-air. Using a paintbox type program the artist drew the projected path exactly where told.

Unfortunately, the computer used the pen’s location as the left border of the line, not the center! That pushed the storm’s path out toward Rhode Island.

All morning Dave Murray would do the forecast, including the tracking map and toss to the local weather. Then I’d come on and try and undo his tracking map! All this in a very limited time frame.

Frustrating? Yup!

Actually, I still get upset thinking about it.

Sandy: Not Good News

The latest run of the GFS has started to come around toward the European’s solution for Hurricane Sandy. They’re still far apart–not as far. And now the GFS puts Connecticut in the bullseye!

We’re close enough and there’s now enough agreement to assume this threat is real for us in Southern New England.

Can the storm still miss us? Sure, though that’s less likely now. It would be foolish to plan based on that assumption.

The GFS is particularly nasty bringing the storm south of Long Island then turning it east where it slows it to a crawl before heading north. We will have a sustained period of strong winds, possibly tropical storm force and certainly tropical storm or even hurricane force gusts.

There will also be a sustained period pre-storm where the wind will have an easterly component. As with Irene, these winds will have the effect of driving water into Long Island Sound, raising the water level even before storm induced waves are added. Coastal flooding is likely.

To make matters worse, all of this is happening near the full moon when tides are normally higher (and lower) than normal.

No two storms are alike. Even with comparable winds we will certainly find damage in some places that escaped Irene while some areas battered in 2011 will be spared.

The first impacts will be felt Sunday, but mostly as a nasty day–overcast, chilly, breezy and some brief showers. By Monday the wind picks up as does the rain. The strongest wind and rain hit on Tuesday.

Hurricane Sandy, probably not a hurricane at landfall, has the potential to be worse than Irene!

The trees have already lost a lot of leaves, which will stand in our favor. There’s not much else ‘good’ I can tell you.

Now is the time to begin your preparations. What can you use before it spoils? What didn’t you have for Irene or the Halloween snowstorm of 2011?

It’s still difficult to be totally specific and I assume some of what I write today will be proven wrong.

I usually try not to scare you about weather. Today I will. It is warranted.

Be smart. Be prepared. Start now.

Sandy: She’s A Super Freak

There are easy forecasts and difficult ones. Hurricane Sandy is surely the latter!

Wednesday at 11:00 PM the National Hurricane Center said Sandy was 90 mph. Thursday morning at 12:30 AM, only 90 minutes later, that was changed.


That’s not a small change! And this rapid intensification happened while the northern flank of the storm was interacting with Cuba and it’s rough terrain.

The BBC reported 70% of Jamaica without power. Now Sandy is crossing Cuba before heading toward the Bahamas.

A storm doesn’t need to be very powerful to do damage if it hits the East Coast. A strike from the Atlantic looks likely.

What’s much more up-in-the-air is where?

The 00z GFS came in again with a Canadian Maritimes landfall Wednesday afternoon. The 00z ECMWF, the European, brings Sandy to the coast near the mouth of Delaware Bay Monday afternoon, then takes it into Washington.

Someone’s gotta be wrong!

Either of those scenarios would diminish damage to Connecticut, though we’d still get battered. Of course Connecticut is the midpoint between the two proposed paths.

So, again we’re stuck knowing a little, but not enough.

An East Coast landfall looks likely. That part’s easy.

Both models have been moderately consistent for the last 24 hours or so. Something is fooling one of them… or both. Hopefully Thursday will reveal the truth.