The central Caribbean is the birthing ground for the 18th named storm of the 2012 season. Tropical Storm Sandy has formed and is nearly stationary at this time. Winds are 45mph and the tropical storm wind field extends 90 miles.
The environment is favorable for development with light winds aloft and warm surface water. There appears to be a healthy convection on the east side of the storm this morning. As the storm pulls north, it is expected to reach hurricane intensity when it passes Jamaica and Cuba. Currently a Tropical Storm Warning and a Hurricane Watch are posted for those nations.
Rainfall expected in the path is 5-10 inches of rain with up to 16 inches enhanced by the mountains.
Official NHC Stats
SUMMARY OF 500 AM EDT…0900 UTC…INFORMATION
- LOCATION…13.3N 78.6W
- ABOUT 345 MI…555 KM SSW OF KINGSTON JAMAICA
- MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…45 MPH…75 KM/H
- PRESENT MOVEMENT…N OR 360 DEGREES AT 3 MPH…6 KM/H
- MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…998 MB…29.47 INCHES
Farther down the line, Cuba and the Bahamas appear to be in the path by Thursday. The long range forecast is still a matter of speculation. The tropical computer models curve Sandy to the east out into the Atlantic after passing The Bahamas. However some other global models have the same storm much closer to the US east coast. The European and Canadian models actually have Sandy interact with an arctic air mass and pull the storm inland, phasing it and dragging down unseasonably cold air. On the other hand, the GFS model has Sandy farther off of the coast and pushing out into the Atlantic with no US threat.
It is important to note that the computer models I have mentioned have had some trouble handling tropical systems. We only have to look back to Isaac to see how models have been slow to develop tropical systems and project the track. Initially this storm was expected to hit Florida, but it took a few extra days, traveled farther west and formed into a hurricane just before stalling on the Louisiana coast. The GFS did a better job with this and for now has to hold a little more credence.
Tropical storm and hurricane history of naming. 2012 Atlantic list
Tropical Storm formation history: Storm origin maps every 10 days of season
Hurricane Preparedness Week: Storm Surge is the most deadly and destructive
Hurricane Destruction Animation based on Saffir Simpson Scale
NASA Global Hawk: Hurricane drone planes run by locals at Goddard
The potential for any risk is worth watch and I will be tracking the East Coast potential threat on my Baltimore Weather Examiner Page. Also follow along for updates through:
Facebook: Justin Berk, Meteorologist