Even as Hurricane Sandy moves further away from Tampa Bay and Florida on Sunday evening, the future track and intensity of this deadly and destructive storm remains a matter of interest and concern for local residents. While this “megastorm” and “perfect storm” has dominated the coverage on national news and weather channels for the last three days, the connection to the storm and the areas being affected is far more personal for many people living and working in Tampa Bay.
West-central Florida is the home of many people that have either relocated to Tampa Bay from the mid-Atlantic, the northeastern U.S., and New England. Even many of the area’s “native Floridians” still have family members residing in parts of the country that will be impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
There are also many “snowbirds” who spend the winters in Tampa Bay, but still own property and live in the areas to be affected by Sandy during the warmer months of the year. All of these local residents have an additional vested interest in monitoring the latest developments and news relating to the storm.
The latest information on Hurricane Sandy
As of 11 p.m. Sunday, the center of Hurricane Sandy was located at 34.5 degrees north and 70.5 degrees west. This placed the center of the system approximately 290 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and around 470 miles south-southeast of New York, N.Y. Maximum sustained winds remained near 75 miles per hour (mph), with the minimum central pressure at 950 millibars, or 28.05”. Sandy was moving to the northeast at 14 mph.
Over the next 24 to 48 hours, Hurricane Sandy is forecast to merge with other non-tropical weather systems that will enable the hurricane to transition into enlarge and intensify into an unprecedented coastal “perfect storm”. This tropical and winter-weather hybrid system is forecast to produce damaging winds, destructive waves. devastating coastal flooding, and drenching rainfall that will affect up to 60 million people.
In addition to Sandy’s aforementioned characteristics, forecasters anticipate the system will enable the formation of an early season snowstorm over parts of the Appalachian Mountains. For more details on the five elements provided by The Weather Channel that sets Sandy apart from typical “nor’easters” and coastal winter storms, please click here.
What forecasters expect from Sandy within the next 48 hours
Hurricane Sandy’s path is expected to turn to the north, and then to the northwest by Monday morning. This will put the system on track to make landfall along the mid-Atlantic and northeastern shores of the U.S.
Just prior to landfall, Sandy should transition from a hurricane into a monster “extratropical” (a hybrid system of both tropical and non-tropical characteristics) storm. This transformation will begin as the hurricane merges with a powerful wintry system moving in from the west.
While tropical systems normally weaken during the process of transforming into a non-tropical entity, forecast models predict Sandy will intensify upon the merger of systems. In addition to the convergence of the two low pressure areas, a high-pressure area to the north of Sandy that is locked into place will feed Arctic air into storm’s circulation. This will complete Sandy’s transformation into an extratropical entity.
Not only will this area of high pressure providing a source of unseasonably cold air to further intensify this perfect storm, the extraordinary difference between the high to the north and Sandy to the south will also strengthen and broaden the wind field with the storm. Areas from Maine to Florida and hundreds of miles inland will experience breezy to windy conditions as a result of the storm.
Links and websites providing updates for Hurricane Sandy
Once Hurricane Sandy has completed its transition into an extratropical storm, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) will cease its issuance of advisories on the system. However, the website will contain numerous links to other branches of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that provide the most up-to-date information available for individuals tracking the storm.
The NHC has created a document explaining how the center will handle the issuance of advisories for Sandy while she is still a hurricane, during her transformation into a hybrid system, and after Sandy has completed its transition into an extratropical storm. Please click here to read the NHC document.
AccuWeather, the weather corporation located in Pennsylvania will issue updates and forecasts for locations within the path Sandy via the company’s television network, and internet website.
The Weather Channel (TWC) will continue to work around the clock to ensure both its television and internet audience are able to stay informed with the latest developments for Sandy. The website for TWC can be found here.
Another great resource allowing affected residents to keep abreast of the latest updates, as well as any additional watches or warnings, is the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS operates through both weather radios and an internet website. The website allows its users to click on a certain part of the nation for more individualized information.