When someone utters the phrase “The Perfect Storm”, there are a few thoughts that go through peoples mind. Most of these thoughts originate with the Hollywood blockbuster by the same title, but putting the human side aside for a moment, it was really an amazing meteorological phenomenon. The short of it was that a northward moving hurricane which “ran into” a low pressure system off of the northeastern coast of the United States. As is typically the case when two completely different air masses collide, a storm was formed. It was not just any storm that formed though, this storm caused the second highest tides ever recorded in New Jersey, 25 foot waves were recorded in Massachusetts, and winds in excess of 75mph lashed the eastern seaboard. Any ships unfortunate enough to be caught in the storm were in trouble. This storm in particular was of the epic variety and even turned back into a hurricane AFTER it had made its largest impact.
Today, much like 1991, there is a Hurricane forecast to move northward and it could phase with a trough forecast to dig into the US. Of course, no two storms are exactly alike and there are many differences between the two events. Regardless, it is fun to look back at such a historical event and draw similarities based on that past event.
As conservative as I tend to be with my forecasts, especially 5 days out, this storm has many of the models in a relative consensus. There is high confidence that a very strong storm will impact the eastern seaboard and will make “landfall” somewhere between the Chesapeake Bay and the coast of Maine early next week (Late Sunday through Tuesday). Landfall in the case of a nor’easter takes on a diminished role compared to a tropical system as tropical systems tend to be compact with the areas of strongest wind while a nor’easter will have a wide spread wind pattern.
Current model output has some areas receiving rainfall amounts of >6”, which in conjunction with the strong winds could cause a large number of uprooted trees, and the associated power outages. This heavy rainfall could also lead to inland river flooding while the coastal regions will be heavily impacted regardless of whether the storm stays out to sea due to the full moon on Sunday and an agitated ocean.
As time goes on and new information becomes available, expect an update from me on this page and also on my twitter account (@dmodjr).
The exact positioning of the storm will have a great impact on where the worst is felt but, assuming Sandy does not go out to sea, there will be the following impacts.
- Widespread Power Outages
- Tree and large branches falling
- MASSIVE Coastal Flooding
- High Winds
- Mountain snowfall
- Localized River Flooding
- Heavy Beach Erosion
- Billion Dollar Insurance Potential