Hurricane Sandy has strengthened to a category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, and is moving a bit faster than previously forecast. Landfall is now anticipated to occur during the next few hours over southern New Jersey.
…The low down on Sandy (Location / Current watches & warnings)…
According to the latest information from the National Hurricane Center, as of 5PM EDT on Monday afternoon, the center of Sandy was located at latitude 38.8N, longitude 74.4W. This places the center about 30 miles east southeast of Cape May, New Jersey ; and roughly 40 miles south southeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Maximum sustained winds remain at 90 MPH, with a movement toward the west northwest at 28 MPH. The minimum central pressure has decreased to 940 millibars, or 27.76 inches of mercury. Sandy has undergone further strengthening since this morning, and has also increased her movement speed.
Below are listed some of the wind speed observation data from points around the mid Atlantic and Northeastern United States, as of 5PM EDT Monday (in the format location, wind direction, sustained wind speed in MPH, wind gust in MPH)
- Central Park, NYC: Northeast 24, 52
- Laguardia Airport, NYC: Northeast 45, 55
- Kennedy International Airport, NYC: Northeast 45, 61
- Islip, Long Island: East 32, 51
- Albany, NY: North 16, 31
- Newburgh, NY: Northeast 35, 58
- Poughkeepsie, NY: Northeast 29, 45
- White Plains, NY: Northeast 21, 48
- Groton, CT: East 32, 56
- Providence, RI: East 40, 59
- Wrightstown, NJ: North 46, 59
- Trenton, NJ: Northeast 35, 55
Current data indicate that hurricane force winds (75 MPH or greater) extended outward approximately 175 miles from the center, mainly in the southwestern quadrant of the storm, while as tropical storm force winds (45 MPH or greater), extended outward an impressive 485 miles from the center.
Data above were obtained via the NOAA National Hurricane Center, and the National Weather Service. Please refer to the National Hurricane Center’s website (by clicking on the hyperlink in the previous sentence) for official information concerning this dangerous storm.
…Forecast for Sandy…
Sandy has exhibited a rapid acceleration to the northwest from that which was observed earlier this morning. At this rate, the center of the storm should be over southern New Jersey by early this evening. The storm is then forecast to move more in a westward direction inland, over eastern Pennsylvania by early Tuesday morning. The storm is then forecast to move into western Pennsylvania and Western New York by Tuesday evening, being over eastern Canada by Wednesday morning.
The storm is expected to maintain its intensity through landfall, and to slowly weaken as it moves inland. Despite the forecast weakening, winds with the storm are forecast to remain strong, and rainfall amounts to the western side of the storm are forecast to be quite plentiful, while those locations on the eastern side of the storm center see less in the way of total accumulated rainfall.
…Potential impacts for the Capital Region & vicinity…
The major concern with Sandy across the Capital Region will be the strong and damaging wind potential. Winds had picked up late this morning, and this afternoon across the region. Winds were generally sustained between 15 and 30 MPH with some higher gusts to near 40 MPH further south, near Poughkeepsie. Winds were alot stronger further south and east, toward the coastal areas. Winds are expected to increase further during the early evening hours, as Sandy makes landfall. Wind speeds of 25 to 45 MPH are expected this evening, and winds may gust to near 60 MPH at times, with higher gusts forecasted over the higher terrain and the valley floors.
Rainbands with Sandy continue sporadically across the Capital Region this afternoon. Some periods of moderate to heavy rainfall continue to look favorable this evening and overnight, as the storm moves inland. Total rainfall amounts across the bulk of the region are forecast to be in the 1 to 2 inch range. Locally higher amounts, on the order of 2 to 4 inches, are expected in the favored upslope regions of the Adirondacks, Berkshires, Taconics, and Catskills.
Flood warnings have been issued for the Hudson River in Columbia, Greene, Ulster and Dutchess counties, and points south along the river, through Tuesday morning. This is due to the combined effects of the incoming storm surge from Sandy and subsequent tidal influences. Water is expected to surge northward, causing flooding in these areas along the Hudson River. Necessary precautions to preserve life and property should be taken immediately. Of particular concern in these areas would be the times of high tide, when flooding is most likely to occur.
The possibility of protracted power outages will also increase later this afternoon and overnight. Winds may bring down trees and power lines, thus causing power disruption. Prepare now for the potential of power outages by having plenty of non-perishable food items available, as well as adequate supplies of drinking water.
The next statement we will issue concerning the evolution and track of Hurricane Sandy, and its subsequent potential impacts to the Capital Region, will be during the early evening hours on Monday. Stay tuned to the Capital Region Weather Examiner Homepage for the latest intermediate updates as well.
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