On Monday morning, Oct. 29, 2012, the National Hurricane Center announced that video briefings and audio podcasts regarding Hurricane Sandy are available. The National Hurricane Center also reports that “Sandy [is] Expected to Bring Life-Threatening Storm Surge Flooding to Mid-Atlantic Coast”.
The current impact of “Superstorm” or “Monsterstorm” or “Frankenstorm” Sandy include:
- closed airports including JFK
- cancelled or delayed flights (check ahead with airlines nationwide. Flights in San Diego are affected (Hurricane leaves travelers stranded in San Diego, Oct. 29, 2012)
- 60 million people prepare for Sandy’s impact by evacuating, safety preparations, closed schools, closed businesses
- Wall Street closed (for the first time in 27 years, Wall Street shuts for storm; trading may not resume until Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2012)
- closed pre-voting places
- stand-by emergency and utility workers
- heavy snow in Appalachian mountains
In its Oct. 27, 2012 statement, the National Hurricane Center describes Hurricane Sandy’s transition to a post-tropical cyclone (the generic term for hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions) with the following characteristics:
Hurricane or tropical cyclone characteristics:
- Hurricane extracts heat from the ocean and grows by releasing that heat in the atmosphere near the storm center.
- Hurricane tends to have more compact wind fields, is more symmetric, and has a well-defined inner core of strong winds.
- Prior to making landfall, Hurricane Sandy is expected to lose its characteristics as a tropical cyclone and convert to a post-tropical cyclone or wintertime cyclone and take on the structure of a wintertime low-pressure area.
Post-tropical cyclone or wintertime cyclone characteristics:
- Post-tropical cyclones or wintertime cyclones are also called extratropical or frontal lows.
- Wintertime cyclones get most of their energy from temperature contrasts in the atmosphere and distribute their energy over larger areas.
- Wintertime cyclones lows have strong temperature contrasts or fronts attached to them, have a broader wind field, and more complex distributions of rain or snow.
- Sandy is expected to bring significant wind, surge, rainfall and inland flooding hazards over an extremely large area, and snowfall to more limited areas.
Does Hurricane Sandy know all of this?
Nature has its own laws and whether or not Sandy will play by the rules and the definition of tropical or post-tropical cyclone is a different story. The National Hurricane Center knows to expect the unexpected and has the following provisions:
- In the case that Sandy becomes post-tropical while its center is still over water, the Ocean Prediction Center (OPC) will provide information about the storm in its Marine Weather Discussion. OPC will host a web page for storm support. This page will contain a graphic that is showing the forecast track of the storm and other information specific to Sandy.
- Once the National Hurricane Center determines that Sandy has made the transition from tropical to post-tropical cyclone, the National Hurricane Center’s advisories will stop and the continued flow of information will be provided by the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC).
- The HPC Public Advisories will include information about post-tropical storm Sandy’s current location and strength of the storm, as well as information on the various hazards (wind, surge, and precipitation). The HPC Public Advisories will also contain a track forecast.
- Because Sandy is expected to make its transition from tropical cyclone to post-tropical cyclone before reaching the coast, the National Weather Service has been using “non-tropical wind watches and warnings, issued by local NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs), to communicate the wind threat posed by Sandy in the Mid-Atlantic States and New England. (This is why NHC’s tropical storm warnings extend only into North Carolina.)”
- If Hurricane Sandy remains a tropical cyclone through landfall, the National Hurricane Center’s advisories and products will continue.
- In order to ensure a consistent flow of information and updates about Sandy, the National Hurricane Center will continue to coordinate information between NHC (National Hurricane Center), HPC (Hydrometeorological Prediction Center), OPC (Ocean Prediction Center), and the WFOs (local National Weather Service Weather Forecasts).
The National Hurricane Center will continue to lead the National Weather Service’s coordination with FEMA.
To stay informed about the most current Hurricane Sandy updates available, the National Hurricane Center offers the following services.
Hurricane Sandy ongoing available services and updates:
- The National Hurricane Center videos are continuously updated and available hourly as briefings to the media. A list of the most updated videos is posted to the right of the video screen.
- A National Hurricane Center audio feed or “podcast” is planned to be issued every few hours during a hurricane landfall along the U.S. Coast or U.S. Territorial Islands.
- The National Hurricane Center’s main webpage also offers notification alerts via text, e-mail, RSS, or mobile devices.
“When a current podcast is available, a link to the RSS/Podcast feed and a link to the corresponding directory with the latest audio (mp3) file will be displayed. You can right-click and choose “save” to download the file.”
In addition to providing ongoing updates about Hurricane Sandy, the National Hurricane Center offers the following useful resources:
National Hurricane Center resources:
- Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide (pdf) – Spanish Version (pdf)
- YouTube PSAs on Hurricane Preparedness Week – Spanish Version
- Be a Force of Nature with NOAA’s Weather-Ready Nation
- NHC Outreach Resources
- Ready.gov Hurricanes
- Ready.gov Kids
Federal Emergency Management Agency resources:
In addition to the National Hurricane Center, FEMA (The Federal Emergency Management Agency) offers a list of disaster assistance programs for not only hurricanes but also floods, earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, home fires, blackouts, and biological threats.
FEMA’s Ready program which began in 2003, was designed as a national public service advertising campaign with the goal to “educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters.“