How Historic Will Sandy Be???

October 28th, 2012 at 10:16 am by under Weather

The quick answer to the title question is “Memorable” at the very least.  The storm is still a hurricane, but it looks weird on satellite.  It is almost taking a pinwheel representation.  Dry air has wrapped into the south end of the system, but only at the mid levels.

Sandy On Satellite.

The 8am update still had Sandy as a category 1 hurricane with winds of 75mph.  The pressure was 951mb.  So the storm has strengthened in terms of pressure.  As predicted the winds are very spread out from the storm.  The storm was moving northeast at 10mph, and was located about 250miles southeast of Hatteras.   Hard to believe that it is that far away yet we are seeing wind gusts up to 50mph near the shore.  Oregon Inlet had a gust up to 50mph already and I saw a gust in Virginia Beach to 47mph.  The good thing is that the storm is expected to stay far from our region.  If it were closer, then we might see some of the hurricane force winds around here (75mph plus).  The latest track keeps Sandy far from our region until it tries to make landfall somewhere between Delaware and New York City.

Track Of Sandy

I don’t think winds will be the main problem from Sandy despite its broadness.  We are expecting winds to gust to 65mph along the oceanfront, but inland locations will be 45-55mph.  Here are the winds from our Future-Trak computer model for tonight at 7pm. I think the inland locations are underdone a bit.

Wind Forecast

The winds will stay strong through midday tomorrow.  I don’t think we’ll see too many severe surges of wind.  However, as the hurricane moves closer to the Delmarva, then the winds may have a sharp increase on the Eastern Shore for a few hours.  That is expected late Monday into Tuesday.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few gusts to 70mph closer to Chincoteague.

As far as rain goes, we are expecting quite a bit.  There will probably be more rain than we had with Isabel.  Luckily we haven’t had much in the last couple of weeks.  We’ve already had a band of heavy rain setup in one location this morning.

Satellite/Radar With Wind

Some of the areas along the coast can still expect a solid 4-8″.  That’s on top of the half inch to inch that the area has already had.  Our model is really hitting the Eastern Shore hard.  It projects 10-15″ of rain between now and Tuesday. This could change if the storm moves farther east.

Rain Totals

The reason for the highest amounts up there are due to the system moving back through there during that time period.  Then Sandy will probably move back south on Tuesday and create more rain for our northern cities.  They have needed a lot of rain lately, but that will be too much-too soon.  So flooding is expected just from the rain on the Eastern Shore.  Let alone any tidal flooding.  It could be rough.  I think the rain will get a chance to get absorbed into the ground in our inland areas.  It’s possible that we could have some river flooding if the inland rain picks up, but we’ll see.  The tidal flooding is what might be the biggest problem.

I’m surprised that the models are showing such a high tide forecast over the next 24 hours with the storm being so far away.  Sure the winds are broad, but there is no core of high speed winds coming from the northeast as in other storms.  At least not that I can see from the buoys over the Atlantic. This morning the tides already came up pretty high.  We had our typical lake wavy out front, and tidal flooding was reported across most of the area.

WAVY TowerCam 10

Lake WAVY On Towercam

The high tide this morning is from 7-9am.  This tide is just a marker….and benchmark for the next 2 tidal cycles.  We are under a coastal flood warning today through tomorrow:

Coastal Flood Warning (Dark Green)

This morning’s tide was forecast to be the first to really let the water rise.  Here is a map with some of the tidal flooding for this morning:

Tides This Morning

These tides are only moderate believe it or not.  Now I’m showing some sites, and people want to know what the tide will be closer to their home.  Here is where I look up the forecast for that: Tide Forecast.

It will be low tide between 1-3pm.  So that will be the time to head out and evacuate if you think you need to.  You can gauge it off of this morning’s tide.  Because the next one will come up a little bit more depending on location.  Tomorrow’s will be even higher.  Here is the map for tonight:

Tonight’s Tides

Tomorrow’s tide in the morning is expected to be the worst.  That’s when we will add on about another 1-2ft.  The tide at Duck is forecast to be about 8ft.  The tide during Isabel didn’t even get that high down there.  So folks may need to get out of there if Isabel flooded out your home in 2003.

Forecast Tides Monday AM

The tide at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (which will be a good indicator for Virginia Beach) reached 7.3ft during Isabel.  It is forecast to rise to about 7 feet this time.  The Chesapeake Bay is not expected to be as bad.  Sewell’s Point is forecast to be between about 6.5-7.3ft.  This is lower than Irene (7.55ft) and well below Isabel (7.94ft).  I think the reason for that again is the broadness of the winds, and they should start to turn more out of the north-northeast by Monday morning.   Still… that is a high tide and it is considered severe above 7ft.  So let’s hope it tops out on the lower end.  Sewell’s Point is a good representer for the southside and Peninsula part of the Bay.  Yorktown is the representative station for the Middle Peninsula as there are no forecast points for there or the Northern Neck.  Yorktown is forecast to reach about 6.7ft.  Gloucester Point had a tidal surge up to 8.32ft during Isabel.  Again for more on the surge during Isabel click here: Isabel Surge.   Wachapreague will be a problem and that goes for all the way up to Wallops Island.  As the storm moves in that direction it will send a high surge in that direction.  The water is expected to rise to 7.5ft.  Maybe up to 8ft.  Severe flooding starts at 8ft there. By Monday night the winds will be more out of the north-northwest.  Then solid northwest on Tuesday.  That will create some moderate tidal flooding on the Bay side of the Eastern Shore and the Sound side of the Outer Banks.

So the bottom line on this is that we are in the early stages of the event, and conditions will worsen.  You still have time to take action if you need to.  At least get your valuables and belongings off the floor if you think that the water will come into your home.  Expect scattered to widespread power outages.  So have your batteries, flashlights, generators (if you have one), and candles ready to go.  If you have had problems with tidal flooding during some of the past big storms, then you need to try to get to higher ground.  According to the latest models, then this is especially true along the coast.  Hopefully, the winds will turn more to the north-northwest sooner than predicted.  That would lessen the impacts.

Either way be careful out there.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

3 Responses to “How Historic Will Sandy Be???”

  1. Libbie says:

    I’ve had a huge phobia of storm driven winds since Isabel so events like this are my little slice of hell. These days, it’s so hard to get information that’s straightforward and tells me what to expect without the hype and worst-case scenarios that only make the phobia worse and the panic increase.

    So now my thanks for keeping your blogs free of hype. I tend to trust you and NOAA over about any other site I go to – to tell me what’s going to happen, not sensationalize it. You’re like that in your forecasts as well.

  2. Samuel says:

    So the flattened rain bands are from the cold front pushing in?

    The clouds from the Western side of the storm that are travelling North are feeding the Noreaster?

    From what the sattelite images look like, it is pulling in moisture from as far as the Gulf Of Mexico. (Far being relative in this case) Are the clouds that are moving from the Northwest to Southeast being pulled by this system?

    1. Jeremy Wheeler says:

      The storm has been pulling in cooler drier air form the west at the mid levels, but it has been pushing moisture at the surface into the stalled out cold front. The flat bands are from the moisture undercutting the colder air. Jeremy.

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