Sandy's Trend Continues West
Posted by Chris Lambert
The 5:00 AM update from the National Hurricane Center has Hurricane Sandy with sustained winds of 80mph and moving north at 13mph. The expected track has continued to edge west over the last few days, and the National Hurricane Center has the center of the storm going into either south Jersey or Delaware. Notice the forecast cone though? There is an inherent margin of error this far out, and a more northern track would bring more significant impacts to New England.
The more likely scenario right now, and the track, as is, would bring in wind and rain Monday afternoon, through Tuesday. Winds would gust 40-60mph, mostly onshore, strongest at the coast, and we'd contend with 2-5" of rain through the storm. Scattered power outages would be felt across the area and moderate beach erosion and coastal flooding becomes an issue at high tides. Overall effects would be similar to a strong nor'easter.
While this seems to be the more likely outcome, I don't want to let our guard down against a track farther north. It's why the National Hurricane Center gives a forecast fan, and not just a direct line. This far out, the forecast error can be a couple hundred miles.
It's a very complicated and an anomalous pattern, and timing the phasing of a tropical system with a non-tropical upper-level low can be tricky. If Sandy can maintain a warm core longer into the forecast period, the resistance to phase may also hold on a bit longer than some of the models project. If that occurs, the turn NW into the coast happens farther north, putting southern New England in a more serious situation that the current path would take it. Wind, power outages and coastal flooding would be significant. Again, this outcome is not as likely, but a plausible one. Not that we wish ill on other locations, but the blocking pattern has been extremely strong, and thus it's tough to fight that forecast trend west.