I know graphics-heavy diaries are expected here. But there are several people who I know read me and I know are on dial-up. I apologize for the lack of visual aids, but I prefer to keep my diaries image-free as a courtesy to them.
The forecast has not changed much since I wrote yesterday afternoon. Actually I think it's gotten worse. What I wrote yesterday:
Nor'Easters are common at any time of year along the East Coast. Nor'easters can also be as bad if not worse than hurricanes. At locales such as Cape Cod or the Jersey Shore hurricanes are not common, and they're in and out in less than a day. Not so with Nor'easters. They can pound the coast for days and as Sandy moves north and north-northwestward along the coast this is precisely what will happen. Coupled with the full moon on Monday, the coastal flooding will be unprecedented. Even if the best-case scenario occurs and Sandy does move out to sea, this will still be bad for coastal locations.Make the jump for the rest for why I think the forecast is worse.
Sea surface temperatures are running above normal. While not warm enough to support a fully tropical feature, they are warm enough to fuel an exceptionally powerful storm.
Most models are placing a sub 960mb low near or off of New Jersey on Monday night. This would be a significant hurricane in its own right, but Sandy won't be a hurricane at that point. The wind-field for an extra-tropical storm is much much wider than a hurricane's. High winds, with gusts to and beyond hurricane-force, may extend for hundreds of miles from the storm center.
On the backside of Sandy cold air will flood down from Canada. That's right, that means snow for inland areas in the Appalachian Mountains. Trees are not yet bare, so that means power outages.
Sandy's current forecast track takes it into the Delmarva Peninsula or southern New Jersey sometime in the Monday-Tuesday timeframe. At the same time it will be undergoing transition from tropical to extratropical, spreading out its high winds hundreds of miles from its center. At the same time it will be the full moon, and astronomical high tides were already going to be high. And at the same time as that, it may strike the New Jersey or Delaware coast at an angle that is conducive to devastating coastal flooding for a densely populated part of the United States. Sandy's modeled track has been dangerous all week; now it appears to be coming to pass.
Also, we are thinking of this as a hurricane. It is one now (although it looks like it may be transitioning right now); it won't exactly be one when it comes ashore. It may have an intense warm-core system embedded within an intense cold-core cyclone. What's evolving reminds me of the exceptionally powerful extratropical storms that strike Europe. I looked through the historical record to find a precident, and other than the Perfect Storm of 1991 (which did not come ashore, but did tremendous damage in Massachusetts), I had to go all the way back to the 19th Century to find a late October storm that was even close.
The Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962 is an analouge we should look at. In that case the tide came in and did not go out for days. That storm lingered for the better part of a week. In addition the Christmas Day Nor'easter of 1994 also had hybrid features.
NWS New York is not playing around with this:
SIGNIFICANT COASTAL FLOODING WILL BE POSSIBLE WITH THIS STORM. FIND OUT IF YOU LIVE WITHIN A STORM SURGE EVACUATION ZONE. KNOW THEIf you live in coastal Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York City or the South Shore of Long Island, intimately get to know the following sites and do this right now. Sunday afternoon is too late. There's a chance you won't need this, but you should know it anyway.
LOCATION OF DESIGNATED OFFICIAL SHELTERS AND LEARN THE MOST DIRECT
SAFE ROUTE TO GET THERE. MOST SHELTERS WILL NOT ALLOW PETS...AND
SOME SHELTERS HAVE FACILITIES FOR THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS...SO TAKE
THESE INTO CONSIDERATION. ADDITIONALLY...KNOW YOUR EVACUATION ROUTES
IN ADVANCE. MUCH OF THIS INFORMATION MAY BE FOUND AT YOUR LOCAL TOWN
HALL...OR ON THE INTERNET AT YOUR COUNTY'S OFFICE OF EMERGENCY
LISTEN CAREFULLY TO LOCAL OFFICIALS AND EVACUATE THE AREA IF TOLD TO
DO SO. IF YOU DO NOT EVACUATE TO AN OFFICIAL SHELTER...YOU MAY
CONSIDER STAYING AT A FRIEND'S OR RELATIVE'S HOME OUT OF THE
EVACUATION ZONE. LEAVE LOW LYING OR COASTAL AREAS...AS WELL AS
OFFSHORE ISLANDS. THESE ARE THE LOCATIONS MOST PRONE TO STORM SURGE.
STORM SURGE IS THE MOST DANGEROUS PART OF A STORM SUCH AS THIS ONE.
THE SURGE IS A DOME OF WATER THAT COMES ACROSS THE COAST AS THE
STORM MAKES LANDFALL. IF YOU LIVE CLOSE TO THE COAST IN A MOBILE
HOME YOU SHOULD EVACUATE TO A MORE SUBSTANTIAL SHELTER...EVEN IF YOU
ARE NOT IN A STORM SURGE PRONE AREA
NYC has an address locator. You should know if you're in a surge zone and act accordingly if asked to leave.
Residents of Long Island should get to know these maps. I'm seeing comparisons to the '38 hurricane around the web. I do not think they are hyperbole.
Residents of coastal New Jersey, these are maps you should know.
Maryland and Delaware, these are the storm surge maps for your area.
And by all means stay tuned to emergency management.
If you're staying at home this is what should be in your emergency kit (that everyone should have anyway):
•Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitationOther tips? Clear your block's storm drains. They're full of leaves. Your local municpality may not get to it, and likely has not the funds to do so. Ten to twenty minutes with a rake and a Hefty bag may save your block a whole lot of water drama. Bring objects inside. I learned the hard way this summer when a 60mph gust blew my outdoor canopy a tenth of a mile. Tropical storm-force gusts may happen very far inland.
•Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
•Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
•Flashlight and extra batteries
•First aid kit
•Whistle to signal for help
•Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
•Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
•Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
•Manual can opener for food
•Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
Meteorologists may seem giddy, but they're not. Most I follow appear to be deeply concerned at what could be a significant and devastating storm. Heed warnings if necessary.
This is still a developing situation, so please stay tuned to the National Weather Service and your local emergency management groups.