Dialing In The Superstorm Impact Zone ... The Latest Data!
By now, you must have heard about the Superstorm that is taking aim on the east coast. Many in the media are already calling this storm "Frankenstorm" because it will be hitting near Halloween. An amazing stat is that this storm is forming on nearly the exact date that "The Perfect Storm" occurred in 1991. For those that are not familiar with the term "Superstorm", here is a quick description.
Superstorm? What is that???
You may have seen the movie called "The Perfect Storm". That movie was based on a real scenario that that occurred on Halloween in 1991. Hurricane Grace was moving to the north at the same time a major mid latitude storm was moving toward the east coast. They combined to create an epic storm that produced wind gusts over 75 mph in the northeast and waves off shore were measured at a record 100 feet!
Another "Superstorm" hit the eastern US in 1993 when the Storm Of The Century produced a tornado outbreak in Florida and 40"+ of snow from the Carolinas all the way through Maine. I was in the the epic Storm Of The Century and received an amazing 43" of snow in 24 hours! The winds were fierce and the snow was coming down at 3" - 4" per hour at times. It was nothing less than amazing!
These epic "Superstorms" are not common as we see these once or twice every 25 years. We haven't really seen a "Superstorm" since 1993, but I think one could form this weekend and early next week.
Just a note... low pressure of the storm is a good measure of the intensity of the Superstorm. For reference the lowest pressure on "The Perfect Storm" was 972 mb and the pressure on the "Storm Of The Century" was 960 mb. Keep these pressures in mind as we look at the potential superstorm this weekend.
Is This Superstorm Now A Definite?
In meteorology, there are no exacts really but we use probabilites to describe almost everything we do. Looking over the most recent spaghetti plots really drives home how likely this is at this point. Remember spaghetti plots are simply a combination of all the computer models storm tracks for the Superstorm. Notice all of these plots are now driving this moster into the east coast from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware.
I think it is fair to say this is now VERY likely to happen. With that said, let's dive into specifics on the latest data. Currently the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has Sandy holding at at category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds and a pressure of 970 mb.
As this storm continues its trek north, it will merge with the powerful front moving across our area as it encounters the warm gulf stream waters. This combo will allow Sandy to transform into a hybrid or extratropical low. The importance of this transition has to do with wind fields. Tropical systems can have huge winds, but the area of the strongest winds is normally only confined to an area about 20 miles away from the center. These hybrids and extratropical lows can have wind fields extending hundreds of miles away from the center. That means the hybrid or extratropical lows have the ability to affect huge geographical areas!
With this in mind, lets look at some of the latest data. I want to go through all the reliable computer model data this afternoon.
EURO Surface Pressure Early Next Week
Notice the incredibly low pressure on the storm approaches the east coast at 934 mb!!! Once inland, the second image shows a surface pressure of 954 mb as it hits the Delmarva Peninsula of Delaware. This pressure would make this storm stronger than "The Perfect Storm" and the 1993 "Storm of the Century.
GFS Surface Pressure Early Next Week
Notice GFS now calls for landfall of a Superstorm near Long Island
on near Halloween. The pressure from the GFS is 948 mb! This
pressure would make this storm stronger than "The Perfect Storm" and the 1993 "Storm of the Century. Look at the huge swath of destructive winds!
GDFL Surface Pressure Early Next Week
Notice GDFL computer model is calling for landfall of a Superstorm near the Delmarva peninsula. The pressure from the GFDL is quite frankly scary at an astonishing 931 mb with 128 mph winds just a mile off the ground! This pressure would make this much storm stronger than "The Perfect Storm" and the 1993 "Storm of the Century.
HWRF Surface Pressure Early Next Week
Notice HWRF computer model is calling for landfall of a Superstorm near the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware as well. The pressure from the HWRF as the storm approaches Delaware is a remarkable 927 mb! This pressure would make this much storm stronger than "The Perfect Storm" and the 1993 "Storm of the Century.
NOGAPS Surface Pressure Early Next Week
Notice NOGAPS computer model is calling for landfall of a Superstorm near New York City. This would be a major problem. The pressure from the NOGAPS as the storm approaches NYC is 956 mb! This pressure would make this storm stronger than "The Perfect Storm" and the 1993 "Storm of the Century.
My Thoughts On This Superstorm
I want to be very clear that there is no data suggesting this superstorm will come anywhere near our area. What we will see is brisk northern winds M - W next week and cold temperatures that bottom out near freezing and top near 50. It is likely a few days early next week won't make it out of the 40s!!!
East Coast Impacts...
To say this has the potential to be a disaster is an understatement. All of the data suggests a landfalling Superstorm in the eastern US. The data suggests a land fall anywhere from Massachusetts / New York south to around the Delmarva Peninsula of Delaware. The data is getting more tightly packed around a mid Atlantic landfall near the Delmarva Peninsula and that should be noted. If that occurs, it could create enormous problems Washington D.C. and if the northern solution is realized, then New York City could get hit hard. The impact would include a large area of hurricane force winds extending out from the center in each direction up to 200 - 300 miles, coastal surge / errosion / flooding (some significant coastal flooding), and widespread power outages / tree damage. This storm is dangerous and has the potential to cause a lot of damage. Most trees along the east coast still have leaves and this creates more drag as the winds hit them and that means tree damage could be extensive. On the cold side of the storm, the data continues to suggest over 1 foot of snow from the mountains fo West Virginia to South Central Pennsylvania. Notice the GFS even forecasts measureable snow along the coast of the Carolinas!!!
This is a true Superstorm and needs to be watched closely. Landfall is looking like late Monday to Wednesday depending on the landfall location. More details in another full blog this evening.
I know there will be a lot of questions, so please drop by my facebook for a great discussion on this storm! Just follow the link below to my facebook page and click "LIKE"!