Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tracking Sandy From Afar

As Minnesotans suffer through the first real cold jolt of the season, our friends on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts are under the gun from an already much-publicized tropical-ish storm. It's taken the weather world by storm -- no pun intended. Use this space to discuss your thoughts on this potentially historical weather event.

If you're looking for a great weather site that provides detailed, non-hyped commentary on Sandy, we recommend following the Capital Weather Gang.

54 comments:

  1. I've decided to move my previous posts from a different thread over to here, since the thread has been made.

    Legit cause for concern in regards to that storm. It may still be a few days before the track narrows in even more, but at this point anywhere between New York and the Washington DC area is the target for where it will come ashore. Sandy will be a large storm, with her effects being felt well away from the center. While the NHC shows the storm losing its tropical characteristics, the pressures actually continue to fall. In fact, the latest GFS brings the pressure to the same level that is equivalent to a Cat 3 hurricane. Areas along the east coast are launching weather balloons for each model run, and hurricane hunters have been making several flights so hopefully the models will really start narrowing in on a final solution. I posted this on another page as well, but the "weather geek" side of me kind of wants to see this happen, due to the total rareness and uniqueness of the system and how it will all play out. It is such a strange situation. However the "everyday guy" side of me worries about the impact it will have on people and their lives, families, and property. We can't stop it, but those out there can prepare and leave if need be.

    Here's the latest model data from the GFS and Euro, and their thoughts on Sandy. GEM (not shown) is closer to the GFS solution, but a bit further south.

    http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m203/duanewolter/Sandy.jpg

    Side note...this is the 2 year anniversary of the big windstorm that moved through MN. The storm that is supposed to hit the northeast is currently forecast to have a much lower area of pressure, so winds should be even more intense. NWS has this write up in regards to that big storm.

    http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mpx/?n=10oct2627

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link on that 2010 storm. The satellite image is incredible:

      http://www.crh.noaa.gov/images/dlh/StormSummaries/2010/october26/satellite_large_2132z.JPG

      Delete
  2. OK, I know next to nothing about hurricane forecasting. But why do they think it will follow a route inland? It looks like sometime Monday the whole thing will make a 90-degree left turn. Why?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Disco. It is my understanding that the reason for this happening is a block going on to the east of Canada. I saw a video explaining this a few days ago and it was actually pretty interesting. Usually when these big troughs come through this time of year they will sweep any tropical system out to sea and away from the US. This time around, there is a block that is preventing it from moving any direction other than to the west. The west movement is also thanks to the trough that brought us our colder air. Normally the waters off the east coast are cooler around this time of year but they are actually a bit warmer than usual. That will help to keep the storm going and intensify it some, but where the major intensification happens is when the trough absorbs the hurricane into it, causing further intensification. A good majority of the intensifying won't be due to the warm waters, but due to the trough and temperature contrast. Think about when our big winter storms form in the south and move up in this direction due to the big temperature swings. Same concept here, only the system has already formed and is already strong but will just be fed even more. I hope all of that made sense and I probably blabbed on more than what you were asking, but all in all it moves west due to a blocking pattern.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I created a little graphic that I hope helps explain it, and I hope that I am explaining it correctly. You'll see the high to the north of Sandy that is blocking the move north. The jet stream creates an S shape as it goes between Sandy and the high, and that's your block (also known as a Rex Block). These are actually pretty common out west and systems the low to the south of the block usually hangs out for a while until something comes along and sweeps it out. Anyway, here's the graphic. While this will likely be quite the high impact event, it is certainly an impressive thing to watch develop from a meteorological standpoint.

    http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m203/duanewolter/500z_f066_bg_NA.png

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks good Duane. The cold front that moved though MN a few days ago is bringing it north and intensifying it and the ridge over Canada will push it west.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Duane

    Thank you, perfect explanation.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is unreal,its like watching a movie,except that its real and my family is right in the middle of it,I'm glued to the weather channel,the latest solutions from the euro and gfs bring it into NJ,which is the worst setup for NYC,and the pressure of this thing is off the charts 946mb,unreal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you, Big Daddy. I have family in the DC area. It's still hard to believe that things will be as bad as they say.... remember that Irene didn't have the surge effects in NYC that were expected (though the inland flooding was bad). I hope for the sake of the science of forecasting that they are accurate; of course I hope for the sake of people involved that the science is wrong. Time will tell.

      Delete
  8. Very worried about the surge impact in NYC. 7 to 9 foot surge will flood a lot of Manhattan.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Bloomberg deciding not to evacuate the zones for a category 1 hurricane because "it won't be a hurricane". Correct, it will just be a storm with hurricane force winds and hurricane for surge.

    Hope we aren't seeing Katrina II with complacency from local governments. This is not going to be Irene. This storm is making landfall south and west of New York City. Long Island will be seeing the highest surge it as seen from a storm in over 50 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea, but they said they'd still monitor the situation to see how things look tomorrow. I don't necessarily know what I'm talking about, but it often seems the surge shown on the models doesn't quite materialize to the full extent. We'll see.

      Delete
  10. Bloomberg is a idiot,and whomever is feeding him info is completely wrong,they are gun shy from last year cuz of all the flack they got from a underachieving Irene,I can't emphasis enough(which I tried to my family)this is no Irene,Irene was in and out,Sandy is a slow mover and conditions will pound the coast for 2-3 days and Sandy is coming in in a different angle then Irene did,I guess everyone has the attitude as my father,who said to me today after I asked about eavacations....."whatever will happen,will happen I'm not going anywhere".

    ReplyDelete
  11. LONG ISLAND SOUND AND RARITAN BAY INCLUDING NEW YORK HARBOR...6 TO
    11 FT

    Current surge forecast. From my understanding, Long Island has a five foot surge barrier. We're not talking about small towns in Louisiana, we're talking about New York City!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I see Bloomberg wised up,and is having mandatory evacations in Zone A in NYC,better late then never,but in my opinion he waited too long,mass transit shuts down at 7pm and he made the call at 11am,that leaves 8hrs to cram 375,000 people who heavily rely on subways and buses,believe me I know.on a side note I lived thru Gloria and Superstorm of 1993 and perfectstorm 91',the storm surge their forecasting won't even touch those other events,mother nature at all her glory!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow....I know all the focus is on the coast with flooding and storm surge,but has anyone seen the cold side of Sandy.....40 inches of snow in West Virginia,an historic storm indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well I would say that Sandy is living up to her build up. Significant flooding, big storm surge, fires, and power outages in the warm part of the storm, while the higher elevations are getting hammered by wet heavy snow. Trees and power lines are coming down from that snow as well. This is truly an epic set up that will be studied and talked about for generations. Once Sandy moves on out, things across the US will start flowing again and weather systems will be on the move. Now, the question is when will we see anything worth talking about? Well the ever trusting GFS sure seems to think so. A week from this weekend it is hinting at an accumulating snow event that at this point looks impressive. This is still a long ways out, and the GFS isn't really that trusting at this time frame but when things are slow locally we tend to look for anything we possibly can. The GEM doesn't go out far enough to see that time frame, but it does look like a big trough will be moving towards the west coast. Will we see our first significant snowstorm before Thanksgiving, or will the general quietness that has plagued us for months now hold strong? We'll have to wait and see.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Something is certainly having a changing look on the Euro as well. Like the GEM, it doesn't go far enough out to see the system the GFS does, but the second week of November certainly could prove interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm thinking that this storm is NOT living up to the hype. Don't get me wrong, it was a massive and impressive storm, but it is tough to live up to the death & destruction that was stuffed down our throats for 5 days straight.

    Here's how I look at it. If damage totals exceed $10 billion, then the storm will have lived up to the hype. However, I believe it is nearly impossible to accurately determine damage totals. Anyway, from the brief videos I've seen today, I expected much worse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you kidding me? Novak this storm was UNDER-hyped. It is Nov 3rd and there are millions still without power with overnight temps in the 30's.

      Delete
  17. This is an interesting self-assessment of the forecast by Capital Weather: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/was-hurricane-sandy-well-forecast-was-it-over-hyped/2012/10/30/67075e52-22c1-11e2-ac85-e669876c6a24_blog.html#pagebreak.

    I'm thinking the storm lived up to the hype on the coastal areas but was a little less than hyped inland (in areas such as DC).

    ReplyDelete
  18. Keep looking Novak,your obviously not looking in the right areas.This was a major disaster for the most populated area in the country,it will byfar exceed your 10 billion threshold.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is going to be way more than $10 billion. I'd bet closer to $100B than $10B.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hurricane (and then post-tropical/hybrid)Sandy was not expected by most credible meteorologists to be a major storm as in a Cat 3 or 4, but rather its damage would be very impactful to the eastern seaboard due to many factors including its size of 1000 miles in diameter of trop storm force winds, the storm surge into a very surge prone area, wind and wave action, heavy rainfall (and snow in higher elevations, and a vulnerable large population and infrastructure. The "hype" in many areas definitely lived up to its word.

    Damage is already assessed to be in the several billions of dollars with estimates including business losses and government expense well in to the tens of billions. Sandy will likely be the most expense storm to hit the US. The long-standing rule in real estate stands strong in this event: location, location, location.

    The storm continues with rain and snow falling with power outages continuing for millions and then flooding of rivers and streams to linger for sometime.

    I would say Sandy's hype was warranted.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I apologize if this rubs people the wrong way, but location, location, location is spot on. Listen, when someone decides to build a home/business on the shores of a large body of warm water that is prone to hurricanes, then I guess you should expect hurricanes. If I build my house on the edge of a cliff or directly on the San Andreas fault, what should I eventually expect? Am I missing something here?

    There is a reason the whole eastern seaboard and Gulf coast is all chewed up and eroded. Over time (millions upon millions of years), that is what hurricanes do, erode coastlines. I bet if you were to ask most people just a few miles inland, they would tell you this was not that big of a deal.

    My whole point is that this was not that strong of a hurricane, but since humans insist on building our lives on vulnerable areas, then we get this kind of destruction. I would consider Katrina and many other storms to be worthy of more hype than Sandy, but low and behold, the circumstances dictate otherwise. Quite frankly, I have no idea how an insurance company even dares to provide coverage for those who live along the Gulf & Atlantic coastlines.

    Quite frankly, CNN's coverage of the "dangling crane" is what really set me off. It was total overkill. Once again, I apologize for coming across insensitive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The greater Cleveland area (CLEVELAND) currently has over 100,000 people without power due to Sandy. Is that far enough inland?

      Delete
  22. @Novak,I have two questions for you,how far do you consider inland(miles/distance from the shoreline)and two did you ever live in the tri-state area(NY,NJ,CT)or even visit it?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Unfortunately, there's no scientific way to evaluate the "hype." In the case of a snowstorm where MSP is forecast to receive 12 inches of snow, it's easy to say after the fact whether is over hyped or not. With Sandy, it's complicated.

    As for power outages, I heard a "conservative estimate" that 10 million people might lose power. I don't know the exact number, but I think I heard 7 million. In that respect, it was an underperformer. And based on info from Capital Weather, it sounds like things weren't as bad as they thought.

    However, in contrast, the damage in NYC seems to be have exceeded projections. So there was no overhyping in that area.

    All in all, when you average all the areas affected by the storm, I think the storm was worthy of its hype -- some were underhyped some were overhyped. At least that's how I see it. :-)

    PS - I have a friend who's several miles inland from the NJ coast. I haven't heard from him as to his thoughts on the storm.... I'm assuming he lost power and still doesn't have it.

    ReplyDelete
  24. big daddy:
    It is hard to gauge how far inland the setbacks should be. We would need to conduct some studies in an effort to pick a logical distance. However, I would think 10+ miles is not out of the question. It will be interesting to view the damage maps when they are presented for 'Sandy'. My gut feeling is that the majority of the damage is within a 10 mile distance from the shoreline.

    I have visited the east coast a few times (RI, CT & NY) but have never lived. I have visited and worked a bit in the Gulf Coast states many times.

    ReplyDelete
  25. My take on Sandy:

    1). It was a very well forecast'ed (sp) storm, the models did a incredible job with it's track, especially the Euro. They also did a good job with predicting the pressure at land fall which is rare because with most tropical systems their pressure forecast is way to low. Having said that, this storm was truly a high bred system so we wont know if that problem has been fixed until next year.

    2). The performance of Sandy herself. Heavy snows in the cold sector? check. Rainfall amounts? questionable in area's. Power outages inland as far west as Cleveland? check. Huge waves on the southern tip of lake Michigan? check. Hurricane force wind gusts in area's? check. Storm surge? check,check and triple check.
    It became apparent to me by Thursday that the biggest problem with Sandy would be the storm surges, especially for Long Island, Long Island Sound, and Manhattan. I was so certain that the subways would flood that I expressed as much to my co-workers on Friday, saying that I hope a fire doesn't break out in them, ( I was helped with the storm surge by a model called Wave Watch 3 and it proved to be very accurate.)

    3). Underperformed. On Saturday I was looking at the forecast models come in around 11am to 130pm and I said NYC will have severe problems no doubt, I was now 100% certain of that. So I went to make lunch and watch the Weather Channel before the Gopher game started. It was then that I heard that the officials in NYC had no immediate plans to close down public transportation, I almost chocked on said lunch. Both Jim Cantore and Brain Norcross questioned that decision.

    Conclusion: Sandy performed as predicated IMO.

    ReplyDelete
  26. In regards to the Nov 10th time frame. Bill you may want to start choosing your new headline in regards to what Duane posted earlier about the second week of Nov. When he posted that, the control run of the Euro was showing something like the GFS operational. It could be that we will be stuck in the warm sector, but it is very very close.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Might still be a bit too soon for a new post, but I would say if this signal continues on Monday or Tuesday of next week, a new headline could be needed. It's still too far out for a complete look at the European and Canadian runs, but every model at least shows the development of a system. The last frame of the Canadian looks mighty interesting at this point, developing a low right in that four corners region. Those are typically good starting points for big storms in this area. Like I said though, it is still over a week away but perhaps a sign of the changing seasons.

    ReplyDelete
  28. From Katrina to Sandy, I always have to ask myself why wouldn't everyone evecuate? Then I realize, not everyone has the financial means to get up and leave for an indifinate amount of time.

    In hindsight, things could have been done differently by residents and local officials if they knew how bad it would be. But with models predicting both of these cyclones fairly well, I am not sure what else can be done to "motivate" people to get out of harms way.

    Depending on what level you want to measure a storm to - deaths, damage, economic disruption, etc., Sandy has to rank up there at least as #2 in terms of overall impact.

    God Bless anyone still out there struggling through these freezing temps. I don't want to be too morbid, but when does the death total from storms like Katrina and Sandy stop? I am guessing more people lose their lives from Sandy in the days and weeks after the storm made landfall. Hopefully I am wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Looks like below average temps west of Ohio starting in a few days for the foreseeable future.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Still a week away, but models are consistent on an active pattern shaping up starting this weekend. There are two storm systems of interest here. The first will impact our weather this weekend, and the second will be a week from today (Monday/Tues). It really appears as though we will easily stay in the warm sector for the one this weekend with a chance of showers and even thunderstorms. Temps will be warm out in front of this system, with temps dropping behind the front. The second system is the interesting one, as another area of low pressure develops in eastern Oklahoma and moves towards the area. Right now, both the Euro and GFS bring the low up through Chicago and eastern WI. This track favors SW, central, and northern WI for accumulating snow. A stronger low or a shift west in the track would push that snow closer to the Twin Cities and western WI. The pattern is becoming active, so we'll see how things pan out. Since this trough is still well out to sea, we will probably see plenty of fluctuations in the models so it is still much to soon to get your hopes up (or worry) about these systems.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Plymouth Weather LoverNovember 5, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    My hopes are up! Bring it!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Sorry this took so long, had a lot going on. But here is my winter forecast. Because winter here in MN starts in November,(snowfall season) this forecast is for November thru Feb.

    Temps.....1-2° below average, I think the coldest region will be to our northwest including the ND region where I can see temps from -2 to -4 below average.

    As far as snow is concerned for MSP I will say around 38."

    ReplyDelete
  33. Plymouth Weather LoverNovember 10, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    No comments about this weekends weather or when the next snow might be? I count on you guys!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I wish I had something to say. Showers and thunderstorms roll through overnight tonight into Sunday morning, then things really get cold with temps in many areas probably not getting above freezing on Monday. From 77 degrees to 32 degrees in the matter of 48 hours...45 degree swing. If the cold air can catch up with the precip trailing the cold front, then we'll see some light snow but no real accumulations will come from this around here. After today, things remain quiet. Long range charts still look boring which is a real bummer. We'll see something eventually (I hope). The waiting game continues. Side note...we still do need the rain. We still have a lot of catching up to do.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Saturday night's weather was very interesting. I was at Whole Foods in St Paul and walked out of the store around 7pm. It was eerie. It's hard to describe, but it just felt like tornado weather. It was unusually warm, very humid, the air was very still yet somehow unsettled. We've all felt that kind of air; you never forget the sensation.

    I was not at all surprised the next day to hear that there were tornadoes.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Next weekend has some possibilities. Gem is very strong with the idea, the 11/15 06z run of the GFS moved in that direction, and the end of the Euro run was suggesting something as well. If it should develop and it's a big if at this time, it looks like Black Friday will be spared. Stay tuned.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'm fully expecting a large snowstorm for the weekend after Thanksgiving because I have to go up to Duluth during that weekend. It would be very typical for things to be quiet up until I need to head out of town. :) It's the only blip the models have shown in days so I guess we'll see.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Tornado situation is interesting. Even 15 years ago I wonder how many of those four would have been confirmed.

    Obviously the no warnings is newsworthy. NWS has the goal of warning for every tornado. On the other hand, it was November and tornadoes are very rare in Minnesota. If you issue a tornado warning for a million people and nothing happens, you could argue thats more damaging than a weak tornado could be.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Yea, it does seem like they spend more time and effort to identify tornadoes, even the little ones in this case. Sometimes, I wonder if that's really worth it, a good use of resources, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Absolutely it's worth it. Presumably they could find the path on the ground, then go back and look at radar images. Maybe that would help find tornado precursors.

    It kind of bugs me how the NWS approached the Saturday night event. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there weren't even any severe t-storm warnings. Obviously the storm WAS severe. I don't think it should matter what month it is; we've seen nothing but weird weather over the past decade-plus. There have been plenty of tornadoes right inside the metro area -- and most of them have been weak, regardless of the month.

    At least the SPC had an idea that something might happen.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Well the 12z GFS looks like fun if you like snow. Models may be pointing at a pattern shift the final week of November. Pretty good size snowstorm on there as well, but for now it is a waiting game on that. This one could end up going away just like the others did, or maybe things will finally start picking up. The Euro does show something starting to form at the end of its run but doesn't quite go far enough to see the system that the GFS does. Probably not a bad thing that things are quiet the week of Thanksgiving with all the traveling. Stay safe everyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Duane- the ECMWF does show it:
      http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/cgi-bin/expertcharts?LANG=en&MENU=0000000000&CONT=namk&MODELL=ecmwf&MODELLTYP=1&BASE=-&VAR=pslv&HH=216&ZOOM=0&ARCHIV=0&RES=0&WMO=&PERIOD=

      Delete
  42. Just got back from the east coast yesterday,volunteering my time and helping family from Sandy,and without getting much into it,cause it seemed after reading the comments here some of you were trivalizing the magnitude of Sandy with talking about the extent of the hype and where people lived,(wherever you live weather affects you,remember Duluth earlier this year,no one saw that coming),try sharing your opinions with the people I helped there who have nothing left,literally nothing,I was blown away with the amount of destruction I saw,but I have regressed because I don't want to look back on what Sandy caused. The real reason I commented today was to talk about this incredible stretch of mild weather were in the middle of and lasting thru Thanksgiving,50's and even 60 is too warm for my blood this time of year,I like to be talking about snow,which leads me to my last comment did anyone read the discussion page from NWS for our area this morning,pretty interesting for them to comment about a snowstorm that COULD happen more then 10 days out,but that's exactly what they did,even saying the end of the month looks like trouble.Bill a new post maybe in order,just for the fact that the Sandy post isn't the first post I see anymore when I visit here.
    For anyone traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday already,may your travels be safe and the destination even better!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Enjoy this week of warmth, because models are very consistent with bringing in an big chunk of arctic air the final week of November. Will we get a snowstorm with it? Well, it is way too soon to know that but history has shown that the first real arctic blast of the season is usually accompanied by a big snow. Snow or no snow, the long range is looking more like winter especially in the temp department. Lets just hope this cold push doesn't shove the storm track too far south and east. Cold and no snow is just boring...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been watching the GFS flickering with snow/ no snow and system over us/ohio. Watever the model decides upon, I hope that it lands in our favor. It all depends on how much push the following high has.

      Delete
  44. After we push thru these next 4 days of spring-like weather,winter/snowlovers can rejoice,temps will crash into the 30's by Friday with flurries around.........but next week is the meal ticket,another positive sign if you read the last paragraph of our area weather discussion on the NWS page,basically the pattern change their looking at is conducive to big snows in our neck of the woods.....time will tell!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I absolutely love the set-up for early next week. There appears no doubt that a massive storm will get squeezed out of this clash of airmasses. Too early to tell exactly where, but definitely worth a discussion. This pattern/set-up has blizzard potential. Gut feeling is that someone in MN, WI and/or IA will receive 12"+ of snow by Wed. of next week.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Wow, if 12z ECMWF verifies, a blizzard is a lock for many of us! Low track from Kansas City to Milwaukee on TUE and it matures during the day. Plenty of Arctic air to work with.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Finally added a new threat to talk about what Novak and others have suggested about a possible winter storm next week.

    ReplyDelete