Hurricane Sandy will send increasing winds and heavy rainfall into the Capital Region Monday afternoon through Tuesday.
…The particulars on Sandy (Location / Current watches & warnings)…
According to the latest information from the National Hurricane Center, as of 5PM EDT on Saturday afternoon, the center of this category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale was located at latitude 30.2N, longitude 75.2W. This places the center about 345 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina. Maximum sustained winds remain at 75 MPH, with a movement toward the northeast at 13 MPH, a slight increase in forward speed from this morning. The minimum central pressure was approximately 961 millibars, or 28.38 inches of mercury, which was also slightly higher than the morning readings, indicative of perhaps a slight weakening.
Tropical storm watches and warnings have been issued for the bulk of the southeastern Atlantic coast, excluding the Florida coast, up to the coast of North Carolina. More specifically, tropical storm warnings have been issued for the coastal areas from South Santee River, South Carolina tom Duck River, North Carolina, the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, and Bermuda. Tropical Storm Watches are in effect for the area from the Savannah River to South Santee River.
High wind warnings and watches have been issued for most of the Mid Atlantic and Northeastern United States. Flash flood, and areal flood, watches have also been issued well in advance of the system’s arrival.
Current data indicate that hurricane force winds (75 MPH or greater) extended outward approximately 105 miles from the center. On a more concerning note, tropical storm force winds (45 MPH or greater), extended outward an impressive 520 miles from the center.
Data above were obtained via the NOAA National Hurricane Center. 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…
Although still a category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, Hurricane Sandy’s impacts on the eastern Seaboard will be far reaching. The storm’s center was still well out to sea this afternoon, and it is expected to remain well to the east of the Atlantic coast as it continues a northerly to northeasterly track through the next 24 hours.
As the new work starts on Monday morning, Sandy is forecast to be just north of the outer banks of North Carolina. At this point in time, she is forecast to come under the influence of a nearly stationary trough of low pressure, and associated cold front. This front is forecast to be located from northern New York, south and west to southern Florida, moving slowly eastward toward the eastern seaboard.
Sandy is expected to be absorbed by the frontal boundary, and the resultant system should be a powerful “hybrid” type low pressure area. This strong storm is then forecast to curve back to the northwest during the day on Monday, and to make landfall in the vicinity of the New Jersey and Delaware border areas by Tuesday morning. The storm is then expected to migrate north and west into Western New York on Wednesday, be picked by the northern branch of the jet stream, and be accelerated to the northeast into northern Canada as we close out the work week.
…Potential impacts for the Capital Region & vicinity…
Forecast confidence is increasing for the likelihood of a prolonged period of rainfall and strong winds across the northeastern United States during the Monday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon time frame. Even though Sandy may not be a tropical entity, by definition, when the storm makes landfall over the mid Atlantic coast, residents in this area and in the Capital Region, should take precautions now.
As the storm begins to impact our area during the day Monday, and especially Monday night through Tuesday, powerfully strong winds will kick up. Sustained wind speeds between 25 and 45 MPH, with higher gusts to near 60 MPH, are possible over the higher terrain and on valley floors due to channeling effects. Those with outdoor furniture still out should move that furniture inside. Power outages are also possible due to potential for downing of trees and power lines. In addition, a heavy wind-driven rainfall is possible across the Capital Region and vicinity during this time frame. Rainfall amounts on the order of 2 to 4 inches are presently forecast. Favored upslope locations in the Adirondacks and Catskills may see 4 to 6 inches of rainfall by the time the storm winds down Wednesday.
Those with interests along the region’s rivers and waterways should be especially cautious, and closely monitor the track and forecasts regarding Sandy. Of particular concern are areas along the Hudson River that may be adversely affected by the combination of heavy rains and tidal influences which may exacerbate flooding potential.
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 on Sunday morning. Stay tuned to the Capital Region Weather Examiner Homepage for the latest intermediate updates as well.
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