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10/24/2012

**UPDATE** To Potential Superstorm Hitting US / Impacts To Kentuckiana...

Yesterday I wrote one of the more technical blogs I have written in a while. Yesterday, the EURO computer model was showing a "Superstorm" hitting the US, while the GFS was taking the Hurricane Sandy quietly out to sea in the Atlantic. I argued the EURO solution was the most accurate because the science supported it's solution. As things stood yesterday, I felt a "Superstorm" was definitely possible early next week. Let's take a look at the latest in another technical blog this afternoon.

 

Quick Refresher On What A Superstorm Is?

 

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!

 

Superstorm93-2c

 

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. 

 

Could An Epic "Superstorm" Form In the Next 7 Days In The US?

 

When we talked yesterday, the GFS showed Sandy moving harmlessly out to sea while the EURO showed a "Superstorm". I want to break down the data today and evaluate the validity of the computer models solutions. Remember we must measure these storms against physics to determine if the solutions are accurate.

 

The key to understanding this forecast is understanding what we have currently in the atmosphere. Notice the current setup in the north Atlantic shows what appears to be a jetstream that looks like the greek letter Omega... Ω. I have highlighted the area in the top right part of the image that you should be looking at.

 

Ecmwf_500

 

An "Omena / REX block" is a blocking pattern that stops low pressures from moving past them. These are basically road blocks that storms cannot push through. It is not enough to know there is an omega / REX block in place, but we need to understand why if we are to evaluate the computer models. Well, everyone knows what the El Nino is, but today I will introduce you to the NAO or North Atlantic Oscillation. The NAO is in a highly negative phase right now and what that does is support blocking patterns in the north Atlantic. Hmmmm, we have a blocking pattern in the north Atlantic right now so this is starting to make sense. The Omega / REX block is exactly what we would expect with the negative phase of the NAO.  

 

Right now we have a powerful low pressure over southern Canada with a strong cold front and Hurricane Sandy in the Carribean. You can see both in the image below.

 

Tropical Satellite

 

As Hurricane Sandy & this powerful low over Canada approach the northeast US, they will kick the low pressure on the southwest side of the Omega / REX block out.  By Sunday morning you can see the low that was on the southwest side of the Omega / REX block is gone.

 

Ecmwf_500 2

 

The science would say that this low needs to be replaced since the negative NAO prefers the blocking pattern. Notice by Monday, we see the combination of Hurricane Sandy and the powerful low over Canada have combined and restored the Omega / REX block to the northeastern US to the northern Atlantic.

 

Ecmwf_500 3

 

Understanding the NAO prefers this type of pattern lends a ton of credibility to the superstorm solution moving into the northeast US. As we look at the entire spectrum of computer models this afternoon, we see they are trending toward the solution I felt was most likely yesterday. Looking at that spaghetti plots today, we see almost all of them moving this into the northeast as a superstorm.

 

Spaghetti Plot

 

Meteorology seems to support the superstorm idea, but the GFS yesterday simply said the storm would go out to sea quietly. Let's look at the latest GFS and EURO forecasts.

 

EURO Pressure Plots Early Next Week

Notice the EURO shows an epic Superstorm with a pressure of 953 mb hitting the central east coast. If this occurred, it would be a magnitude stronger than the storm of the century from 1993!

 

Ecmwf_850_1

 

 

GFS Pressure Plots Early Next Week

Guess who is now showing a superstorm too? The GFS has pulled a full 180, as I forecasted it would, and now shows an epic superstorm hitting the northeast! The lowest pressure on this storm from the GFS is 948 mb which would rival some category 3 hurricanes! This would be historic.

Gfs surface wind

My Thoughts On A Historic Superstorm Hitting The US / Impacts In Kentuckiana

 

I think you already know I think a superstorm appears to be the most likely solution here. The highly negative NAO phase supports an Omega / REX blocking pattern and it shouldn't surprise us to see one present. The two approaching storms from Canada and the tropics appear to come together just at the right time to combine forces and create a singular Superstorm on the southwest side of the Omega / REX block. Almost all computer models agree now creating a potentially historic Superstorm. The science is sound and the data agrees now.

 

The GFS and EURO are showing a pressure at landfall around 948 - 953 mb. If this pressure verifies then this Superstorm would be more powerful than "The Perfect Storm of 1991" and "The Storm Of The Century in 1993"! This Superstorm has the potential to produce destructive waves / surge, potentially extreme coastal flooding, heavy rain, and damaging winds that will likely cause widespread power outages any where from the mid Atlantic states through the northeast US.

 

AdvanceTrak 1

 

Since we will be on the west side of this storm, it will pull cold air into our region next week. There will be brisk northerly winds that could end up in the 20 - 30 mph range creating a constant surge of cold air in our area. Nights could approach freezing and afternoon highs in the upper 40s / low 50s. Almost all the data suggest dry conditions early next week, but a few flurries are indeed possible in our northern counties overnight. The impact here would be cold and breezy conditions, but the impact would be major in the mid-atlantic and northeast states. Simply put, this could be historic and the things movies are made of.

 


I will continue to keep a close eye on this forecast and update you in the coming days.

 

 

 

 

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"!

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marc-Weinberg/171330336238674#!/pages/Marc-Weinberg/171330336238674

 


Comments

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Marc, will this potential superstorm be a mostly rain-maker for the east coast or will the cold air catch up?

Danny, there is a snow component possibly with the storm. PA south through the spine of the Appalachians looks most likely now. Keep in mind, this is not a guarantee yet.

All my family live in Lawrence Mass and in Narrangansett Bay in RI were all very famailar with what took place with the Perfect Storm. I so miss Friendly's and some good fish and chips. I cannot forget Rocky Point. It's no longer but I still miss it. Yes this is random but I miss the food up from home. lol

Danny, LOL!

Marc, I went through the blizzard of 1978 in East Providence RI went through the Perfect Storm in 1991 the Superstorm in 1993 and was in Louisville for the winter storm of 1994 that absolutely blitz Kentuckiana. I have been through and witnessed my fair shape of mega-storms and I must admit that each one amazed me. Weather can be such a thing of beauty and your worst nightmare all wrapped into one.

Danny, it is hard not to have mixed feelings. I agree the intensity is something to be marveled at. The damage that can be caused is also disturbing. Weather very much touches extremes with our emotions.

Marc - Weather is the one thing we can't fight off. Please keep us as Informed as you can...Thank you for all your sleepless hours...

Marlena in Hudson

Marc just want to say thank you for always giving your honest opinion, keeping us updated, & educating us. You are truly appreciated and I believe you're the number one meteorologist!!! Thanks again
Charlene

Love your forecast Marc - you are always spot on! Always watch your weather - keep up the great work

Marc is there any chance this could cause snow in New England or will it be purely rain and wind?

Charlene and Sandy, thank you for the compliments. :)

Chris, there could be some elevated snow but that is not the main overall concern.

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