Forecast discussion: High pressure off the Gulf of Maine gave Providence another dry day, with some sunshine by the afternoon. We will see more of the same tomorrow, although some high clouds may block the sun’s rays from time to time. The high will begin to lose its influence by tomorrow night, as more moisture from the south begins to enter our atmosphere over Southern New England. Then, we will begin to see the starting effects of Hurricane Sandy on us.
Since my last report, some factors are becoming clear this evening. However, there are still some factors that have not completely come into place. As of 8 PM EDT, Hurricane Sandy is centered at 27.5N 77.2W, or about 400 miles south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina. It is barely a hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, with gusts of 95 mph. Sandy is currently moving straight north and has slowed, moving at only 7 mph.
Looking over the latest hurricane model tracks, Sandy could make landfall somewhere between the Delmarva Peninsula and somewhere along Southern New England. About half the models feel it will be in the southern part of the area. However, another three models feel Sandy will move further north, and making landfall somewhere in New Jersey, or right over New York City. At this time, the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center brings the center right into the Chesapeake Bay by Tuesday morning. So, what can Providence expect from Sandy?
If we stay to the current National Hurricane Center forecast, we will not see the full effects of the storm until Monday night. We would begin to see some showers and increasing winds by Sunday afternoon, with stronger winds and heavier precipitation going into Monday morning. We will see coastal flooding, possible beach erosion, and urban street flooding in low lying areas going into Monday evening. Some rivers may go above flood levels by Tuesday morning, as we may see about 3-5 inches of rain by Tuesday night. Finally, we may see sustained winds of 40-50 mph Monday, with gusts reaching hurricane force strength (about 75 mph). This could lead to numerous power outages in the state of Rhode Island.
However, there are still some factors that must be taken into effect. Sandy is forecast to weaken slightly, and become an extratropical storm. This means the wind field will broaden out, and fan throughout the storm. Unlike a hurricane, the strongest winds stay around the center. Also, if the system takes a more northerly track or landfall, the winds and rainfall will be stronger. I will continue to monitor the latest information on Sandy, and will update you tomorrow night on any changes to the track and its potential impact.
Once we get into Tuesday, the system will be over land, and will slowly weaken. However, we will still see showers and some breezy conditions going into Halloween. Some models finally move the remnants of Sandy into Canada by late Thursday. But, my forecast confidence in what happens after Wednesday is still quite low.
72 hour forecast:
Tonight: Partly to mostly cloudy with a low of 48.
Saturday: Partly to mostly sunny with a high of 65. Winds will come from the east-northeast at 6-9 mph.
Saturday night: Mostly cloudy with a low of 49. Winds will come from the northeast at 9-12 mph.
Sunday: Cloudy with scattered showers and increasing winds by the late afternoon and a high of 60.
Sunday night: Showers to light rain and tropical storm winds near sunrise with a low of 49.
Monday: Light to moderate rain with tropical storm force winds and a high of 60.
Monday night: Heavy rain with tropical storm force winds and a low of 49.
Tuesday: Heavy rain turning lighter with decreasing winds. Highs 58-61, lows 44-47.
Halloween: Showers and breezy. Highs 56-59, lows 42-45.
Thursday: Showers ending by the early morning, but remaining mostly cloudy. Highs 53-56, lows 40-43.
Friday: Partly sunny. Highs 54-57, lows 41-44.