Hurricane Sandy displays more of a northern track this morning, which should become a northwesterly track by this afternoon. Landfall is forecast later this evening over New Jersey.
…The low down on Sandy (Location / Current watches & warnings)…
According to the latest information from the National Hurricane Center, as of 5AM EDT on Monday morning, the center of this category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale was located at latitude 35.9N, longitude 70.5W. This places the center about 285 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and roughly 385 miles south southeast of New York City. Maximum sustained winds have increased to 85 MPH, with a movement toward the north at 15 MPH. The minimum central pressure was approximately 946 millibars, or 27.94 inches of mercury. Sandy has undergone strengthening overnight as she passed over the warm waters of the Atlantic ‘Gulf Stream’.
Tropical storm warnings remain in effect from areas north of Surf City to Cape Duck, North Carolina ; the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, and Bermuda.
According to latest surface observations across the Eastern Seaboard, from North Carolina and points north and east, tropical storm force winds are being experienced. Even inland, across portions of eastern Massachusetts, and portions of southern New York and New England are beginning to see wing gusts approaching 40 MPH in cases. An ocean buoy east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, reported a sustained wind of 64 MPH with gusts to 85 MPH.
Current data indicate that hurricane force winds (75 MPH or greater) extended outward approximately 175 miles from the center, 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. 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…
The forecast track of Hurricane Sandy is still much the same as it has been. The storm is expected to continue its northward jog through early Monday morning. It will encounter an upper level ridge of high pressure which is in place to its north, and a trough of low pressure which has already undercut the system from the south. This should coax the center of the storm to a more northwesterly track by this afternoon, and then more of a westerly track by this evening.
Landfall is still anticipated across the southern New Jersey shore, near the New Jersey and Delaware border, this evening and/or overnight. A life threatening storm surge is expected across the coastal areas from the Delmarva Peninsula up to the southern New England coast and New York City.
In addition, tropical storm force winds should begin to batter portions of the Southern New England and New York coastal areas by early this afternoon, with some areas seeing near Hurricane force winds as the system pulls ashore later this afternoon and evening.
…Potential impacts for the Capital Region & vicinity…
The outer cloud bands associated with Hurricane Sandy continue to make slow but steady inroads across the Capital Region this morning. Rainfall has been slow to work its way into the region thanks to downsloping effects, but this is forecast to begin to change as the morning wears on, and Sandy approaches the mid Atlantic coast. Increasing clouds and the threat of rain will be in the forecast.
Rain will be heavy at times, particularly from Albany and points south and west, where 2 to 4 inches of rainfall is expected from the storm. Favored upslope locations in the Adirondacks, Catskills, Taconics, and Berkshires may see 3 to 5 inches of total rainfall, with locally higher amounts possible. The remainder of the Upstate Eastern New York region is on track to see 1 to 3 inches of total precipitation. Needless to say, main stem rivers and associated tributary’s will be dealing with much runoff from these rains. Flooding remains a concern as many area rivers and streams have swelled due to rains over the last few weeks.
We continue to closely monitor the situation concerning the Hudson River, from Albany south, as storm surge from the Atlantic, combined with above average high tides, may disrupt the normal draining process of the Hudson River into the Atlantic Ocean. Water may actually have no recourse but to move back upstream, thus causing potential for significant flooding concerns. Those in this area should stay tuned for further updates, and take precautions now for what to do in the event that flooding occurs. Remember to seek higher ground at the first sign of flooding conditions. This event will be mostly occurring during the overnight hours tonight and early tomorrow morning, when it’s most difficult to determine if flooding is actually occurring due to cover of darkness. As always, heed the advice local law enforcement and Government officials.
Winds continue to be of great concern with this system. Upon landfall, Sandy, or the low pressure system that once was Sandy, will be an anomalously powerful and deep low pressure area. The pressure gradient between this system, and high pressure well to its northeast, over the Northern Atlantic Ocean, appears likely to cause damaging winds to occur over the Capital Region later this afternoon through early Wednesday morning. Sustained winds of 25 to 45 MPH are forecast later this afternoon and evening, with gusts as high as 60 MPH possible. Winds may gust higher, to around 75 MPH, across higher terrain and the valley floors, thanks to channeling effects.
Winds at such high speeds can move loose items which may become dangerous flying debris. Those with outdoor furniture should move the furniture inside a sturdy structure. If this is not possible, these items should be securely fastened to the ground to avoid being picked up and carried by the strong winds. Driving may become difficult later today, especially for those with high profile vehicles.
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 for potential 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 late afternoon hours Monday. Stay tuned to the Capital Region Weather Examiner Homepage for the latest intermediate updates as well.
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