Sandy Makes Landfall in Jamaica As 80 mph Hurricane, Worry Model Trend For US

Courtesy of ECMWF

Sandy became a Category 1 Hurricane prior to landfall just east of Kingston, Jamaica a short time ago with sustained winds at around 80 mph. Flooding rains and damage is likely to have occured. Conditions should improve tonight into tomorrow across Jamaica as the storm heads north but Cuba will see the wrath of Sandy as it crosses the eastern side of the island bringing damaging wind and flooding here too. The interaction with the Cuban landmass will weaken the system a bit but with plkenty of warm water either side and a fairly quick crossing of the land, weakening is likely to be minimal.

During Thursday morning into the afternoon, Sandy will enter the Bahamas bringing the same conditions experienced in Jamaica and Cuba and by this time, the east coast of Florida will feel fringe effects but coastal gales and heavy driving rains shouldn’t be sniffed at. Some strong storms will poush onshore as the outer bands swing in.

What are the models saying at this time?

Meteorologists and residents alike from Florida to Maine are watching every new computer run come out to see what they’re saying about Sandy. There are some big questions out there and it’s important to try to conprehend the POTENTIAL on the playing field here over the next 5 days. This storm folks has the ingredients at it’s disposal to wreck havoc on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast if this thing does not get taken out to see and that likihood is lessening with every new model run. In fact, the GFS which has been persistent at keeping this out at sea is now worryingly taking this storm west and into Maine.

Ultimately, it will be the combination of (A) Sandy’s position and how close it is to the Southeast Atlantic coast once it crosses Cuba and (B) the timing of an eastbound trough but to make matters worse, each model is different either by a small margin or by a large one and even the slightest difference can make huge differences in either driving the storm onshore, offshore or across densely populated New York City or sparsely populated Maine.

The ECMWF model has been most consistent at driving a Halloween Superstorm in the heart of the Northeast as a sub-960 mb hurricane. The GFS has been keeping this offshore, however what’s concerning is, the latest run of the GFS now takes Sandy into Maine as you can see in the chart below.

Courtesy of AccuWeather Pro

Take a look at the pressure as it comes ashore!

Here’s the latest ECMWF.

Courtesy of AccuWeather Pro

If you, family or friends live anywhere from DC to Maine, you must start paying close attention to Sandy as this is a scanrio which could turn into a worst case. Think about it. A warm-core hurricane with pressure under 950 mb driving into a huge vortex of cold air. The heat and moisture as well as a powerful storm system driving into this conflicting environment would likely mean the storm ‘bombs’ out. Widespread hurricane-force winds with gusts well over 100 mph, major rains with 3-6 inches widely, perhaps more.. A 3-6 foot storm surge, massive beach erosion and a major, likely record breaking blizzard over the interior mountains which could be a disaster in itself.

There is a lot on the table. I shall be continuing to post on this and will keep you up to date with the very latest inflo as it comes out.

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Impacts by state/region

Florida

The east coast of Florida from Miami to Jacksonville can expect squally showers and an increase in wind coming in from the E, NE as the centre of Sandy crosses over the Bahamas. Winds sustained could be in the range of 20-40 mph with gusts between 50-60 mph. Anywhere from 1-2 inches may fall but in heavier bands, we could see locally 2 or 4 inch amounts which will likely present flooding issues.

Stay tuned!

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