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Posted at 03:57 PM ET, 10/23/2012

Tropical storm Sandy scenarios: Northeast smash or out to sea most likely


Computer model simulations of storm next week. The European model has an extraordinarily powerful storm very near Long Island Monday night before it moves inland. The GFS and Canadian models track the storm out to sea. (StormVistaWxModels.com and MeteoCentre, Canada)
Some computer models continue to simulate a crushing storm for early next week near or close to the East Coast. The explosive storm develops as tropical storm (or hurricane) Sandy merges with a powerful cold front charging towards the East Coast late this weekend.

Although a historic storm is a possibility, the storm could deliver just a glancing blow or even miss the East Coast entirely. And for residents of the mid-Atlantic (including Washington, D.C. and points further south), a direct hit is not particularly likely although it cannot be ruled out.

Residents of the Northeast, perhaps, should be most concerned. The European model - which did the best job simulating hurricane Isaac’s track in late August - delivers a devastating blow from central New Jersey to southern New England (including New York City), with Long Island and southern Connecticut ground zero. The model simulates the storm’s minimum central pressure below 940 mb, which is the equivalent of a dangerous major hurricane.

On the other hand, the Canadian model - which had conjured up an absolutely devastating storm for the northern mid-Atlantic and Northeast in earlier runs - has shifted the storm’s track out to sea. The GFS model also has an out to sea track, but has shifted a bit closer to the coast compared to yesterday. (For even more model simulations, see Brian McNoldy’s tropical update earlier today).

Storm development remains 5-7 days away, and exactly where the storm goes and how strong it is in different areas is impossible to predict at this range.

If the storm directly strikes the Northeast (or even the mid-Atlantic - less likely), severe coastal flooding, torrential rain, and widespead damaging winds would be likely. At higher elevations well west and southwest of the storm center, crippling heavy, wet snow would be likely.

Even if the storm is a near-miss for the mid-Atlantic and/or New England, very heavy surf, coastal flooding, strong winds and some rain would still probably occur on the storm’s backside.

Coastal residents, especially, from the Carolinas to Maine need to watch this storm very carefully and begin to think about what preparations may be necessary.

Round-up of opinions

Meteorologist Dave Tolleris, WxRisk.com:“[If the European model is right], for NJ eastern PA NYC Long island all of MASS CT Etc this would be the worst Hurricane/ noreastern to hit that area since the 1938 cane....”


The National Weather Service’s forecast surface map for Tuesday morning (National Weather Service)
National Weather Service, Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (bold text equal my adding emphasis): “POTENTIAL FOR MAJOR STORM OVER THE MID ATLANTIC & NORTHEAST EARLY NEXT WEEK...

. . .

ECMWF [EURO MODEL] STILL INCORPORATES AN EXTREMELY DEEP POST-TROPICAL SANDY INTO THE MID-LEVEL PIVOT POINT OF THE POLAR JET IN THE VICINITY OF LONG ISLAND EARLY NEXT TUESDAY, THE DYNAMIC TRANSFER RESULTING IN A MINIMUM PRESSURE OF AT LEAST 932MB. THEREIN LIES THE STORM’S MENACE- A POWERHOUSE CAPABLE OF WHIPPING THE ATLANTIC INTO A FRENZY AND CHURNING UP DANGEROUS TIDES. OF PARTICULAR NOTE IS THE COINCIDENCE OF THE FULL MOON ON SUNDAY, OFTEN A SIGNIFICANT FACTOR IN HISTORICAL EVENTS.”

Matt Noyes, New England broadcast meteorologist: “The end-game on this storm is that, while possible it rides east or heads into the Mid-Atlantic, the highest probability of all solutions is for a New England impact. The stakes are high - if this storm does indeed accelerate northward, as the weather pattern described above certainly would favor, and maintains strength while doing so, the impact will be high and may be severe - including damaging onshore coastal wind, locally flooding rain, battering waves producing substantial beach erosion, and significant coastal flooding.”

Joe Lundberg, AccuWeather: “...given the weight of all I am seeing, and factoring in the tendency for the pattern to go to some level of extremes in the past several weeks, I lean more toward this coming inland, probably in the vicinity of Long Island or northern New Jersey. I will openly root against that solution, if for no other reason than of my great concern for such a scenario to result in an economic and human disaster on multiple levels.”

Henry Margusity, AccuWeather: “I think at this point with the divergence of the models, anyone talking about historic storms or epic storms based on one model is foolishness. When we start seeing agreement in the modeling, which by the way will take a few more days, we can start talking about impacts. Right now, my prediction is that a storm will develop along the coast and most likely the major cities from D.C. on north will get rain and gusty winds. How strong the storm will be remains to be seen.”

By  |  03:57 PM ET, 10/23/2012

Categories:  Latest, U.S. Weather, Tropical Weather, Winter Storms

 
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