A potentially dangerous weather event is looking more likely to unfold across the Northeastern United States Monday and Tuesday as a strong low pressure area, once Hurricane Sandy, makes landfall.
…The low down on Sandy (Location / Current watches & warnings)…
According to the latest information from the National Hurricane Center, as of 5PM EDT on Sunday afternoon, the center of this category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale was located at latitude 33.4N, longitude 71.3W. This places the center about 275 miles east southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and roughly 530 miles south southeast of New York City. Maximum sustained winds remain at 75 MPH, with a movement toward the northeast at 15 MPH. The minimum central pressure was approximately 952 millibars, or 28.11 inches of mercury. In general, the storm has essentially held its strength and forward movement speed throughout the day today.
Tropical storm warnings remain in effect from areas north of Surf City to Cape Duck, North Carolina ; the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, and Bermuda.
Portions of the northeastern Atlantic Coast, as far north as eastern Massachusetts, may begin to experience tropical storm to hurricane force winds beginning as early as this evening. High wind warnings and flood watches have been issued for most of the Mid Atlantic and Northeastern United States well in advance of the system’s arrival. Please refer to local National Weather Service Forecast Offices for updates on local watches and warnings.
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 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…
The forecast track of Sandy remains much the same as previously stated in previous updates. Interaction between Sandy and an inland trough of low pressure are beginning to occur per latest satellite imagery and surface observations. The center of the storm is still a good 200 miles off shore of the outer banks of North Carolina this Sunday afternoon.
Sandy will be traversing a section of warm sea surface temperatures along the Atlantic Ocean’s famed ‘Gulf Stream’ through Monday morning. This will help to provide an abundantly rich moisture source for the storm to feed on. Thus, the storm is not expected to weaken, and may in fact undergo some minor strengthening during the overnight period.
Sandy is forecast to continue a northward track, with perhaps some minor deviations to the northeast, through Monday morning. However, as Sandy is undercut, and eventually absorbed, by the inland trough of low pressure moving east, it is forecast to make a sharp turn toward the northwest by Monday afternoon. Landfall is forecast in the vicinity of the southern New Jersey Shore, late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.
Despite the fact that Sandy will likely no longer be classified as a tropical entity at the time of her landfall, the threat for a wide area of high, damaging winds, and very heavy rainfall is expected. It cannot be emphasized enough that, tropical classification or not, this storm will be a dangerous storm, with effects being felt along the entire length of the Eastern Seaboard, and well inland once the storm makes landfall.
The storm is expected to weaken drastically by Tuesday afternoon, upon making landfall and moving inland into western Pennsylvania and western New York on Wednesday morning. The low pressure that was Sandy then looks to begin accelerating north and east, away from the area, by Thursday as it gets picked up by the northern branch of the jet stream.
…Impacts for the Capital Region & vicinity…
Light showers and abundant cloud cover, some associated with the outer bands of Sandy, were moving northward along the Atlantic coast, and were over the immediate Capital Region this afternoon. Increasing, thickening, and lowering clouds are expected tonight with some showers becoming more numerous after midnight.
Rainfall will become more prominent during the day on Monday, and may even be heavy at times, as the storm begins to move more to the northwest, toward the mid Atlantic coast. Total rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are forecast for the bulk of the region from Monday morning through Tuesday evening. There may be higher amounts, upwards of 6 inches, in the favored upslope locations of the Adirondack, Taconic, Catskill, and Berkshire mountains.
Winds will begin to pick up during the day on Monday as well. This looks to be especially true during the Monday afternoon and overnight periods. Winds of 25 to 45 MPH are forecast, with higher gusts to near 60 MPH possible at times. Higher wind gusts, to near 70 MPH, may occur over the higher elevations, and on the valley floors, thanks to channeling effects.
Those with interests along the Hudson River should begin to take precautions now for a potentially dangerous flooding situation! The upcoming full moon and above average high tide, combined with runoff from heavy rainfall, may cause potentially significant flooding! Those in these areas should be prepared for this flooding, and should seek higher ground if flood warnings are issued during the course of the storm. As always, heed any evacuation orders as may be given by law enforcement and/or Government officials.
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 evening hours Sunday. Stay tuned to the Capital Region Weather Examiner Homepage for the latest intermediate updates as well.
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