Saturday, November 03, 2012

Forecast for Sunday, November 4, 2012

Power outages continue across our region due to Sandy. Tonight will be one of the colder nights since Sandy’s impact left thousands of homeowners in the dark. Please seek shelter in a warm location if you continue to remain without electricity. The clouds should thin and dissipate tonight with just a few clouds remaining in the overnight hours. The winds should relax as well. Some areas of patchy frost are possible.

On Sunday and Monday, it will remain chilly during the day with high temperatures in the city struggling to reach 50 degrees. Many of the suburbs likely won’t make it to 50 degrees. Nighttime temperatures will continue to remain in the thirties with even a few upper twenties. Monday will be the cloudier of the two days with some energy going well off our coastline.

The thing that concerns me most within the next seven days is the potential for a Nor’easter on or about Wednesday. Today the likelihood for a Nor’easter has increased. Also, the computer modeling is trending towards a slower system with a deeper area of low pressure. This means there is the potential for this Nor’easter to be significant. Yes, there is still a slight chance this system could miss our region altogether or have a minor impact. But we want to prepare you for the worst and hope for the best given the ongoing emergency.
Even a modest Nor’easter could spell trouble for the region. The coastal communities have had many sand dunes completely wiped out by Sandy. Sand dunes provide the necessary protection against coastal flooding in a standard coastal storm. The dunes block water pushing ashore due to onshore winds that develop when a low is situated to the east of the coastline.  Moderate to major coastal flooding is not out of the question for this reason if the stronger low solutions are indeed the case.

But it just isn’t the coastline I am concerned about. Utilities are struggling to restore electricity. Nearly 1,000,000 addresses remain without power in our area. While the numbers should come down by Wednesday…some areas will still be without power. Utility crews will still be trying to focus on these customers that have been without power for many days. Nor’easter wind gusts, especially in NJ and DE can be strong in nature. These at the very least usually produce scattered outages. Therefore, be prepared for additional long lasting power outages. Crews just simply won’t be able to get to brand new outages quickly with the current conditions. Also, keep in mind many trees and branches across our region were really weakened from the unusually high winds this past Monday. So there could be a lot more power outages than usual even with just a modest Nor’easter. Of course, restoration efforts for the remaining outages would be hampered.

Precipitation type, depending on the storm track, would also be an issue. Colder air is not that far away. It can be accessed and more could actually be produced if the Nor’easter were to take a certain track and be fairly potent in strength. It will also help to have a fairly strong high to the north and there is that possibility. My feeling is that it is too early to speculate on where it will snow and possibly sleet vs. rain. But there is the possibility that some portions of our region may receive an accumulation of damaging, wet snow in the worst case scenarios which of course can also lead to additional power outages. Areas that receive liquid precipitation may see the rain come down heavy at times. This may further saturate soils and also increase the chances for interior flooding due to antecedent wet conditions from Sandy, particularly the further south and west one travels.

Do you remember last year when the northern half of the region had a rare October snow which downed so many branches and trees? The first heavy rain after that event downed many more and reports came in of blue flashes which turned out to be the glow from blowing transformers.