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Posted at 02:30 PM ET, 10/30/2012

Circulation of Sandy continues to slowly weaken, damage being assessed


The remnants of Sandy’s circulation over western Pennsylvania early on the afternoon of October 30. The low pressure remains quite low even after rising about 40 mb since yesterday. (NOAA/SPC)

2:30 p.m: The Bay Bridge closure for Sandy is the longest on record, besting Hurricane Isabel’s by about an hour and a half. The bridge’s weather station managed sustained winds at hurricane force (74 mph) with a gust to 90 mph.

From 2:07 p.m: It’s kind of hard to believe that a system with tropical origins impacted the D.C. area yesterday just based on how it feels out there today. Temperatures have been stuck in the 40-45 degree range, and windchills have been in the 30s most of the day. Even with south winds returning to the area, no warming is on tap this afternoon with only slight warming tomorrow.

While rain or drizzle is still ongoing over parts of the region, this activity should weaken over the next few hours and additional rain totals should only be a few hundredths to a tenth of an inch or so. Barely a drop compared to what we’ve already seen! Showers may persist into the evening, but by late night they should cease, although some drizzle may remain.

Winds are still ranging from about 10-15 mph sustained, with gusts to about 20 mph across the area. By 8 p.m. or so, wind speeds should drop to about 5-10 mph sustained. They’ll remain breezy, particularly during the day, over the next several days though.


Old Town Alexandria this morning. Photo from CWG’s Matt Ross.
Flood warnings are scheduled to expire across much of the area in the next hour or so. Any smaller creeks or streams should be heading out of flood stage relatively soon. The river flood threat along the Potomac grows as we head into tomorrow due to tributaries still emptying into it. A coastal flood warning for water 2-4 feet above normal also remains in effect. The next high tide comes around 9:30 this evening.

Snow has accumulated in eight states. By official reports, Garrett County in western Md. appears to be among the big winners with Redhouse coming in at 26 inches so far. In addition to Maryland, snow has fallen in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. In Davis, WV, snow is in the forecast through Friday with accumulation anticipated at least through tomorrow.

Aerial View of New Jersey Coastline After Hurricane Sandy from the National Guard.

CWG’s hurricane expert Brian McNoldy writes that Sandy managed to live up to the hype. He notes that Sandy made landfall with the second lowest pressure of any storm to impact the northeast behind the 1938 Long Island Express. Additionally, at least 7.5 million people were left without power and many places north of the center like NYC saw record water rises. iCyclone’s Josh Morgerman looks at how it stacks up historically.

Damage is still being assessed both here and further up the coast. It will likely take some time to get a complete picture of what Sandy caused. Early estimates of insured losses currently run between $5 and $10 billion with total economic cost of at least $20 billion. For perspective, the current most damaging storm in history was Katrina with an economic cost past $100 billion. Sandy appears ready to fall within the top five all time and maybe higher.

The Atlantic offers a collection of some of the most intense pictures that have surfaced so far showing Sandy’s wrath across large parts of the East Coast. They also take a look at a bunch of fakes that have been passed around in the last day through social media.

By  |  02:30 PM ET, 10/30/2012

 
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