Friday Snowfall Amounts:
4.8" reported at Orr, Minnesota
1.3" Fort Ripley
Minnesota Drought Update. There was some improvement in drought conditions in the last week; the area experiencing extreme drought shrank from 30 to 25%. But much of the metro is in severe drought; the .75" of rain that fell yesterday was welcome indeed, but we still need 6-8" of rain to completely pull out of the drought in the Twin Cities, as much as 10" over southwestern Minnesota. Source: NOAA Drought Monitor.
Everything is interconnected, in ways we often don't appreciate. Consider this: the same surge of Canadian air that sparked slush and wind chill will suck Hurricane Sandy into the Northeast Monday.
Sandy will impact tens of millions of Americans over the next 4 days; damage from this hybrid hurricane/Nor'easter will be extensive, especially north of where the core of this (mutant) storm comes ashore. Clean-up may take weeks, and I've already gone on record predicting that Sandy may have an impact on Election Day voter turnout.
This storm reminds me of "Grace" in 1991, which mutated into "The Perfect Storm", thrashing coastal New England.
Landfall? Anywhere from Virginia Beach to Atlantic City, NJ. Washington D.C. may see significant flash flooding by Monday. Florida will be grazed tonight, the Outer Banks may see a 5-8 ft. storm surge by Sunday.
Our weather looks like an afterthought by comparison: partly sunny and 40s over the weekend; the next chance of rain next weekend. Halloween? Low 40s, probably dry.
If you have friends/family on the east coast encourage them to pay attention, and consider an evacuation plan - away from the coast. Stay tuned.
A More Perfect Storm. Sandy Could Make U.S. History. Here's an interesting analysis from Bob Henson at NCAR; an excerpt: "...Leading forecast models are producing spectacularly low pressures at the center of Sandy. Here are several results from this morning’s 1200 UTC runs for approximate projected intensity in hectopascals at or near landfall. Note that 945 hPa is close to 28.00 inches of mercury on a home barometer."
central NJ, Tuesday AM
Delmarva peninsula, Monday PM
Long Island, Tuesday PM
"While a couple of hurricane landfalls in Florida have produced pressures in this range, most cities in the Northeast have never reached such values, as is evident in this state-by-state roundup. The region’s lowest pressure on record occurred with the 1938 hurricane at Bellport, Long Island (946 hPa)...."
Image credit above: "This forecast panel from the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory hurricane model (GFDL GHM), issued at 1200 UTC on Thursday, 25 October, shows Hurricane Sandy producing record-low barometric pressure near Philadelphia on Tuesday, 30 October." (Image courtesy NOAA.)
Santiago De Cuba - 111.6 mph (12:11 a.m. today)
Guantanamo Bay – 75.8 mph (1:56 a.m. today)
Nassau – 67 mph (8:31 p.m. today)
Bells Cay – 65.8 mph (5:13 p.m. today)
Florida (rain band squalls):
Miami Beach – 60.7 mph (6:33 p.m. today)
Bells Cay – 2.04 inches
Hialeah – 2.1 inches
Miami Beach – 1.73 inch
Guantanamo Bay – 3.22 inches (2-day total, 0.47 inch today, 2.75 inch yesterday)
* thanks to Julie Gaddy at Earth Networks for passing these details along.
Election Day Weather, 2012. The long-range GFS outlook shows showery rains over Ohio (a swing state, I hear) and interior New England, showery rains and mountains snows for the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest - dry weather over much of the southern USA.
Could “Frankenstorm” Hurricane Sandy Impact the 2012 Elections? It’s Not as Far-Fetched as it Sounds.
In fact a 2007 study at The Journal of Politics concluded, “…we find that, when compared to normal conditions, rain significantly reduces voter participation by a rate of just less than 1% per inch, while an inch of snowfall decreases turnout by almost .5%. Poor weather is also shows to benefit the Republican party’s vote share. Indeed, the weather may have contributed to two Electoral College outcomes, the 1960 and 2000 presidential elections.”
I’ll stick to trying to predict the weather, but I won’t be one bit surprised if Sandy’s aftermath lingers into Election Day, with many residents of the northeast unable to reach the polls, and a predictable level of finger-pointing if the electricity is off for an extended period of time. But based on the size and potential ferocity of this 500 mile-wide storm it may take weeks for some northeastern towns, especially along the coast, to get back to anything resembling “normal”.
The biggest lesson from Hurricane Irene last year: don’t underestimate the perils of inland flooding, even 24-72 hours after a storm reaches land. The soggy dregs of Sandy will contain unimaginable levels of moisture, rain that may come down in sheets from the Shenandoah Valley to the Berkshires of Massachusetts.
Tonight Hurricane Sandy is a Category 2 storm, with 100 mph winds, churning north, northwestward across the Bahamas at 17 mph. The storm will soak Florida with some 5-10” rains Friday and Friday night, but the core of the storm, strongest winds (and worst of the storm surge) will remain just offshore, a near-miss for Miami, West Palm Beach and Jacksonville.
Here is an excerpt of a report I filed this even for the corporate clients that subscribe to my company’s severe weather automated alerting and briefing service: Alerts Broadcaster:
Florida will experience flash flooding and moderate coastal flooding at high tide tomorrow, but North Carolina’s Outer Banks won’t be quite as lucky by Sunday, a rejuvenated Sandy, by this time a hybrid hurricane/Nor’easter, pummeling the barrier islands of North Carolina with hurricane-force winds and a 4-8 foot storm surge.
The Tidewater Region of Virginia (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News) will be impacted Sunday afternoon into Monday morning, with a potential for significant coastal flooding and beach erosion.
The latest model run seems to be nudging landfall farther north, closer to Atlantic City later in the day Monday. Keep in mind that the worst coastal (storm surge) flooding will take place north of where the eye or center of Sandy comes ashore, as it gets sucked into a larger trough of low pressure approaching the east coast.
Richmond, Washington D.C. and Baltimore may see extensive 4-10” rains with inland flooding a very real threat early next week, but the strongest winds (and highest waves) will probably come from Ocean City, Maryland northward to Cape May and Atlantic City. Sandy may push a significant dome of water into New York Harbor by Monday, with extensive flooding along coastal regions of Long Island, from Southampton to Montauk.
One of my meteorological pet peeves is when the forecaster gives a dozen scenarios, which leaves viewers or readers more confused than ever. What’s going to happen? Odds still (strongly) favor that a hybrid storm will come ashore early next week. Monday looks like the worst day, but Sunday and Tuesday will be nearly as rough, in terms of winds, waves and inland flooding across the Mid-Atlantic and southern New England. Right now I suspect New Jersey is Ground Zero for a direct strike, but this could shift anywhere from Ocean City, Maryland to Providence. I’m leaning toward Scenario #2 above. If Sandy does strike near Atlantic City Monday night, even if it’s not a warm-core hurricane, a long-lasting fetch of high winds over the Atlantic may build up a towering 8-15 foot storm surge, especially north of where Sandy comes ashore, which would increase the threat of lowland flooding for New York City and the southern coastline of Long Island.
What’s a “Frankenstorm”? A hybrid hurricane/Nor’easter, similar to what happened on Halloween, 1991, when moisture and energy from a decaying Hurricane Grace fueled “The Perfect Storm”, a massive super storm that thrashed New England with hurricane-force winds. Technically the 1991 storm was a cold core storm, not a hurricane, but if it can sink your boat or take the roof off your house, it becomes a matter of semantics: hurricane or extreme Nor’easter? At some point it doesn’t matter if winds are roaring a hurricane force.
Summary: Florida will be spared the worst of Sandy’s wrath, but extensive flooding is likely along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, from Wrightsville Beach northward to Cape Hatteras, Duck and Corolla, on Sunday. I’m worried about lowland flooding in Virginia Beach and Norfolk late Sunday into Monday as well.
If anything the models are nudging landfall slightly north, closer to Atlantic City, which poses a greater risk to metro New York City and Long Island, as well as Providence and Cape Cod. Serious inland flooding is still expected Sunday night into Tuesday from Norfolk to Washington D.C. to Philadelphia and New York. Again, Sandy is a huge storm, and even though it may lose some of its hurricane-like characteristics, it will still deliver hurricane-force winds when it comes ashore early next week.
* photo above courtesy of Tami Sallis in Hibbing.
Photo credit above: "A courtyard view of the Kohler Environmental Center at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut. To achieve net-zero energy use, the building uses natural ventilation and controlled use of daylight and shade. Solar panels have been installed on the roof." Photographer: Peter Aaron/Robert A. M. Stern Architects via Bloomberg