A new day is upon us and still nothing positive to report on the progress of Sandy AKA Frankenstorm. As of the 8am advisory, sandy has sustained winds at 80 mph and is moving to the NW at 10mph. She has weakened in a tropical sense but that means very little to the impact on the east coast.
Although Sandy is weakening, she still threatens to pack a huge punch as she approaches the Eastern Seaboard. Media outlets have correctly been billing this storm as a hybrid storm because Sandy will lose her tropical characteristics in the next few days as a trough approaches the area. Upper level energy will move in from the west (see image) and provide a spark for Sandy to explode into a quickly deepening area of low pressure. Pressure gradients will be very steep which means that a very large area can expect tropical storm force winds with area along the coast experiencing hurricane force gusts.
Where and When
Everyone wants to know exactly where and when this event will take place. Unfortunately there is still a bit of disagreement among the models as to where the storm will be strongest. American models (GFS, NAM) suggest that the storm will make the greatest impact in Long Island and may even have the storm follow down the Long Island Sound, which would be devastating for some communities along the waterway, especially on the southern half where the sound funnels into New York City. The every consistent Euro continues to strike Delmarva which could push water up the Delaware River into Philadelphia. This would also impact greatly the resort towns through Delaware and Maryland.
In either case, weather will start to deteriorate late Sunday into Monday for most of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The worst of the storm will likely take place late Monday into Tuesday, especially if the long island sound solution verifies, New York city would take the brunt of the storm on Tuesday.
Cities well inland can expect to see several days of strong gusty winds with some heavy rains. Areas where leaves have already fallen off of trees should see slightly less impact from the wind but that is not to say there will not be power outages. Areas with thick foliage will experience more an amplified impact because of the larger surface area.
Rainfall is also a big concern as the storm moves inland, it would not be out of the question to see areas with rainfall in excess of 10” with wide spread 3”+. Rivers will rise over their banks with the NWS using the word “historic” in their briefings. In addition to the river flooding, storm drains will be clogged with loose leaves causing very wide spread street flooding.
This is a place where I can assure you that somewhere between OCMD and Islip (Long Island) there will be a massive impact from tidal flooding. Hurricane force winds will drive water well up the coastline causing extensive damage to homes and businesses along the shoreline. Beach erosion will be epic which is ironic because the storms name is Sandy. Expect to see most of the Weather Channel team reporting from locations in New Jersey.
Billions of dollars in insurance claims will be paid out following this storm. Wide spread roof damage, water damage, business destruction, and losses relating to loss of electricity. Although it might not seem much for an insurance company to pay out for some roof damage, multiply that by millions of people and it begins to add up. More on this will be said after the storm has left the region.