Massive Storm To Bring 80+ MPH Winds, Snow, & Flooding To The US!
I have been talking about a possible Superstorm hitting the east coast for this entire week and we are seeing all the ingredients coming together right now. This will set the stage for an amazing storm to hit the east coast that some are now calling "Frankenstorm". Lots to talk about so let's dive in...
Ingredients Needed For This Superstorm
Our conversation began many days ago when computer models were very divergent on what to expect from these two storm systems. The GFS computer model moved the storm out to sea while the EURO computer model brought the storm into the US. I argued the EURO solution was accurate and made tried to explain why it was forecasting something so different than the GFS. The key to understanding why this is happening starts in the north Atlantic.
Most of you know what the El Nino is, but probably few of you have ever heard of the NAO. The NAO, or North Atlantic Oscillation, helps us determine the type of pattern that is preferred of the northern Atlantic Ocean. The NAO is currently in a highly negative phase right now as you can see below...
It is important to note that highly negative NAO phases create blocking patterns in the north Atlantic. In this case, it is creating an Omega / REX block along the northern Atlantic. The Omega block gets its name because it looks like the greek letter omega Ω. The reason the GFS was wrong all along was that it didn't deal with the Omega block correctly. When we look at the EURO and GFS early next week, we now see both restoring the Omega block as it creates this Superstorm.
GFS Mid Level Flow Early Next Week
Notice the jet stream winds create the appearance of the greek letter omega Ω over the right part of the image.
EURO Mid Level Flow Early Next Week
Notice EURO continues to restore the Omega (Ω) block over the northern Atlantic as it has done all along.
The key to this forecast all along was understanding why each computer model was producing the result it was. We as forecasters then need to break down each solution and find the most viable result. To me, the Omega block was the key to allowing these two storms to phase into a Superstorm.
Building A Superstorm
To build a superstorm, you need energy combining from either two powerful jet streams or a combination of a tropical and mid latitude storm. In the case of "The Perfect Storm" in 1991, Hurricane Grace combined its strength with a powerhouse low pressure / cold front moving through the central US. These two items came together at precisely the same moment to create a truly epic storm. One of the most amazing facts about "The Perfect Storm" was the 100+ foot towering waves it generating in the Atlantic. Many of the records for wave height are still owned today by the 1991 "Perfect Storm". Our ingredients this time are much like the ingredients in "The Perfect Storm" 21 years ago. We have a powerful front moving across the midwest right now. Notice the MONSTER temperature difference across this front!
This powerful front is moving east and will meet up with Hurricane Sandy that now resides over the Bahamas. Right now Sandy is a category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of about 105 mph.
As these two move toward the Mid Atlantic States we will see the two begin to combine energy as a powerful jet will energize this merger. The merger will occur right on the perfect side of the jet that creates a vacuum in the upper part of the atmosphere allow the low pressure to strengthen.
As these two combine, we will see a Superstorm born that will likely cause big problems in the Mid Atlantic to Northeast US.
How Strong Will This Superstorm Get?
The strength of this low pressure is quite complicated. Some computer models suggest winds over 100 mph are possible while others suggest widespread hurricane force wind gusts from 75 - 90 mph. Regardless of which computer model you chose, we see a very intense low pressure approaching the US sometime early next week. Let me show you the latest data from some of the most reliable computer models.
EURO Surface Pressure Early Next Week
Notice the incredibly low pressure on the storm with a minimum pressure of around 932 mb as the storm approaches the US. This pressure would make this storm a magnitude stronger than "The Perfect Storm" and the 1993 "Storm of the Century.
GFS Surface Pressure Mid Next Week
The latest GFS just came in and now it has shifted landfall south toward the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware exactly in full agreement with the EURO! The pressure from the GFS is a powerful 942 mb! This pressure would make this storm stronger than "The Perfect Storm" and about 20 mb stronger than the 1993 "Storm of the Century. Those yellow colors are sustained winds near 75 - 80 mph!
GDFL Surface Pressure Monday
Notice GDFL computer model is calling for landfall of a Superstorm near the Delmarva peninsula (coastal Delaware) Monday. The pressure from the GFDL is quite frankly scary at an astonishing 939 mb with 113 mph winds! This pressure would make this much storm stronger than "The Perfect Storm" and the 1993 "Storm of the Century.
HWRF Surface Pressure Tuesday
Notice HWRF computer model is calling for landfall of a Superstorm near Long Island as well. The pressure from the HWRF as the storm approaches Long Island 930 mb with brutal winds near 131 mph winds! This pressure would make this much storm stronger than "The Perfect Storm" and the 1993 "Storm of the Century.
Canadian Computer Model Surface Pressure Tuesday
Notice Canadian computer model is calling for landfall of a Superstorm near Long Island . The pressure from the Canadian as the storm approaches Long Island 939 mb with winds near 100 mph! This pressure would make this much storm stronger than "The Perfect Storm" and the 1993 "Storm of the Century.
Is This Just A Rain/Wind Producer Or Could There Be Snow?
I have been asked a lot over the last few days if this storm could produce snow. The truth is the landfall location will be critical in determining who and how much snow could fall. The GFS is pinpointing mountainous West Virginia through southern Pennsylvania for the jackpot snowfall total. Notice the GFS shows snowfall totals near 2 feet in West Virgina / Pennsylvania and amazingly shows snow as far south as the Carolina's coast!
My Thoughts On This Superstorm
I remember being in a few Superstorms in my life. I was in "The Perfect Storm" in 1991 and the "Storm Of The Century" in March of 1993. These things are absolutely animals. The thing that makes these superstorms different is that they can be very large and affect huge areas where hurricanes normally contain the strongest winds over very small areas. The Superstorm in 1993 produced 43" of snow over 24 hours in my area with drifts over 15 feet! It was simply a remarkable event that I will never forget.
It has been interesting over the last few days to watch the GFS waffle all over the place. As of today, the GFS is now showing a direct strike anywhere from Maine to Delaware with the most recent strike location in the Delmarva Peninsula of Delaware. All of GFS Ensemble Members are now showing a landfall in the US. The Ensemble Members of the GFS are derivitives of the GFS that have slightly different physics, convective schemes, data injestion, etc. When you look at the entire ensemble below, you can see every single one creates a US strike now.
Confidence is now increasing rapidly that a Superstorm will form. The landfall location of this superstorm remains a bit questionable. As you look at the Spaghetti plots, you notice almost all computer models are now slamming the Superstorm into the east / northeast coast. Remember Spaghetti plots allow you to see where they are tracking this storm plotted on the same map.
The data suggests this storm could make landfall anywhere from the Delmarva Peninsula of Delaware to Massachusetts. These details will continue to unfold in the coming days as the data becomes more clear. Regardless of the location, we have a full moon on Monday so Astronomical high tide will occur as the storm approaches the US. This means tidal surge and coastal flooding could be major. Winds could range from 70 mph to 90 mph and widespread winds over 60 mph along the eastern seaboard. This means widespread power outages will occur in the Mid Atlantic to Northeast US. Rain amounts could exceed 10" in some locations as well. This will likely cause huge problems from South Carolina all the way north to Maine. If the latest track holds, this would create enormous problems for Washington D.C.!
In Kentuckiana, we will see the coldest air of this fall season from this storm. It will create breezy conditions here with afternoon winds of 15 - 25 mph and potentially a hard freeze Monday and Tuesday of next week. Highs will fight to get out of the 40s from Monday and Tuesday and the warm-up will be very slow. This means our Trick or Treaters will need to be dressed for full winter cold. Notice the GFS temperatures early next week and keep in mind the time stamp is on the top right part of each image.
This is potentially a historic storm for the east coast and I will continue to watch it very closely.
If you ever have any questions, please drop by my facebook for a great discussion on this storm! Just follow the link below to my facebook page and click "LIKE"!