Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy Sunday: Losing the Calm Before the Storm

So, here we are.  Just a few hours away from the start of a potentially dangerous and historic storm.  Matt covered the forecast for the storm earlier today, but there are some points I'd like to hit about this storm.

All the talk about the hybrid storm or a superstorm is published to scare you.  To be honest, most meteorologists don't know what to call it.  Right now, Sandy is going through a transition, from a warm-cored, tropical low to a cold-core, Nor'easter-type low.  So while the National Hurricane Center has decided against extending tropical advisories further up the eastern seaboard, it doesn't diminish the fact that most of the Mid-Atlantic is going to be rocked by this storm.  Without getting into the politics of why they made this decision, it does send the wrong message.

Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, mentioned yesterday that because the warnings weren't posted, he thinks the danger is less.  False.  If Sandy does hit where it's projected, along the New Jersey coast, New York City is in for some hard times.  The right-front quadrant is usually the strongest part of the storm and those winds will be pushing a wall of water up New York Harbor   Thankfully today, he did start ordering a mandatory evacuation on low-lying areas in Manhattan.

Here in the Delaware Valley, Sandy's effects are very similar to the threats we've been telling you for the past couple of days.  Winds sustained in excess of 55 mph, wind gusts up to 70 to 75 mph, rain fall rates of nearly 2 inches per hour and total rainfall of 4 to 8 inches with 10+ inches in some locations also possible.  It does sound scary, but Irene posed many similar threats.  If you were prepared then, you'll be prepared now.

The timing of the storm has fluctuated over the last several updates from the National Hurricane Center but here is a general timeframe that highlight the major impact times:
  • Sunday Afternoon into Sunday Evening: Remaining cloudy with scattered rain.  Breezy at times.
  • Sunday Night into Monday: Rain, increasing in intensity.  Windy.  Isolated power outages.
  • Monday Afternoon to Tuesday Afternoon: Very windy and torrential rains.  Power outages probable.  Main focus of coastal flooding occurs around 2PM Monday.   Landfall expected around 2AM Tuesday.  Full brunt of the storm expected in this timeframe.
  • Tuesday Afternoon into Wednesday Afternoon: Rain slow to taper off.  Winds come back down but still breezy.  Watch for the bigger rivers (ie: Delaware and Schuylkill) to rise.
Above all else, we want everyone to be safe.  Now is not the time to be asking "Is it really going to be that bad"?  If we haven't answered that question already, then there might not be anyway to convince you.  To determine the strength of a storm system, don't look at the wind intensity or rain shield.  The easiest way to tell is by it's pressure and Sandy, although barely a Category 1 hurricane, has the pressure equal to a Category 3 hurricane.  Heed all warnings and messages from your local officials.  If you haven't done so yet, go to the ReadyRegion webpage or your local emergency management website to sign up for emergency texts and emails.  

As Tom mentioned in his post yesterday, we'll all try to keep you as informed as possible over the next couple of days in his absence.  Facebook will also be updated and checked as well.  If we don't get to your questions or comments, hang in there.  We lose power too.