Monday, October 29, 2012

Superstorm Sandy Closing In on Northeast

Satellite imagery indicates that Superstorm Sandy is now moving quickly west, much further west than originally forecasted. Additionally, and more importantly, Sandy appears to still have a defined center.

There is a pretty sturdy eyewall surrounding this center, and cloud tops on this infrared imagery are colder than its surrounding convection to the west.

As the storm moves further west, water is expected to rapidly move west as well, likely flooding out beaches and going inland. However, the big concern is high tide. High tide is expected to occur this evening, between the 8-9 PM hour. When this happens, it is likely that the worst flooding of this storm will occur. Storm surge as high as 12 feet, combined with high tide, extreme winds and heavy rain will lead to a perfect combination of a terrible flooding situation.

I am expecting widespread power outages across the entire Northeast and Mid-Atlantic as Sandy comes ashore. These outages are most likely along the coast, and that is where outages should be the most widespread. I feel that New York City will also bear quite a brunt, and Long Island will definitely get in the action. However, the worst power outages will be in New Jersey and the Delmarva area.

There is a less likely area of power outages to the west, where cities like Chicago, Detroit and Louisville are at risk. However, the chance of a power outage is less likely than that compared to the Delmarva area. The plain fact is, power will go down across the Northeast. This power will be out for over a day, possibly up to a week in the main impact zone, where Sandy will make landfall.

In our analysis of a threat to life and property, the coastal areas all along the Northeast and Mid Atlantic are in the red, or where Life and Property will be threatened. This threat will be maximized from Long Island to Virginia, where Sandy will make landfall and the worst winds will be found. There is a possible threat to life and property further to the west, where winds will not be as intense, but there remains potential for life and property to be at risk from this system.

As far as damaging wind potential goes, there is a chance of damaging winds in the western Ohio Valley and Kentucky into Tennessee. These are the areas where winds will be the least damaging, and should not be the biggest deal on the nation. The bigger deal is found in the Great Lakes and most of the Northeast, where damaging winds are likely. I outlined the Lake Michigan coastline, as winds over 60 MPH are likely on the water. In the Northeast, winds rivaling 75 MPH are likely, especially near the coast. For areas right along the coast, including Long island and New Jersey, I outlined an 'Extreme Winds' area, where I expect winds to flirt with 100 MPH. As outrageous as it sounds, this system has SUSTAINED winds close to 100 MPH, to gusts to the triple digit benchmark is definitely within the realm of possibility.

This is dangerous. If you haven't evacuated and you were ordered to, your life is at risk. Those who stay behind and are near the landfall zone are facing a very serious and catastrophic event, where lives are definitely under the gun.


No comments: