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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 those on dial-up.

Wee Mama has posted a check-in diary. Let your friends know you are safe!

The hybrid system that Sandy will become is still forecast to strike New Jersey by Tuesday.

It is very important to not pay attention to the track of the center. Sandy will be an exceptionally powerful extratropical system by that time. Its high winds and rains will spread hundreds of miles from the center. Sandy's cloud shield already covers almost forty degrees of longitude---that's how big it is.

There is no chance this will turn out to sea. Across the entire Atlantic, a series of high pressure systems are currently setting up, as has been forecast for over a week. This block (called a Rex Block) is actually quite anomalous (they're very rare to begin with) and is quite possibly a result of the almost completely open Arctic Ocean, which continues to lose sea ice as the Earth quickly warms due to anthropogenic climate change.

Research already indicates the open sea has amplified storm tracks.

This is going to happen folks. 13 Days ago several noted this pop up on a number of models. I ignored it, as models are always spinning up crazy, crazy storms. It's happening.

The Hurricane Center has explained why hurricane warnings are not up from Virginia Beach through New England. Sandy will not be a tropical system. As many models and many weather watchers have been saying since at least Monday, the storm will transition into a very powerful extratropical cyclone and is doing so right now. I've blockquoted key areas of text below as that link is a PDF.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issues advisories, forecasts, and warnings on tropical cyclones - the generic term for hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions. Sometime prior to making landfall, Hurricane Sandy is expected to lose its characteristics as a tropical cyclone and take on the structure of a wintertime low-pressure area. Because the National Hurricane Center only issues advisories on tropical cyclones, there will be changes in the flow of information coming out of the NWS when this transition occurs.  

The primary difference between a tropical cyclone and a wintertime cyclone is the energy source.  Tropical cyclones extract heat from the ocean and grow by releasing that heat in the atmosphere near the storm center. Wintertime cyclones (also called extratropical or frontal lows), on the other hand, get most of their energy from temperature contrasts in the atmosphere, and this energy usually gets distributed over larger areas.   Because of these differences, tropical cyclones tend to have more compact wind fields, tend to be more symmetric, and have a well-defined inner core of strong winds. Wintertime lows have strong temperature contrasts or fronts attached to them, have a broader wind field, and more complex distributions of rain or snow.

The official NWS term for a tropical cyclone that has evolved into something else is “Posttropical cyclone”, where the post in post-tropical simply means after.  Thus, once Sandy loses its tropical cyclone status it will be known as “Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy” in NWS products.  

Some aspects of this transition are already occurring, and NWS forecasts of storm impacts are based on this expected evolution.  Regardless of when this transition formally occurs, Sandy is expected to bring significant wind, surge, rainfall and inland flooding hazards over an extremely large area, and snowfall to more limited areas.

Because Sandy is expected to make this transition before reaching the coast, the NWS has been using non-tropical wind watches and warnings, issued by local NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs), to communicate the wind threat posed by Sandy in the Mid-Atlantic States and New England.  (This is why NHC’s tropical storm warnings extend only into North Carolina.)  

The NWS plans to continue using non-tropical watches and warnings issued by local offices in the Mid-Atlantic States and northward throughout this event.  By using non-tropical warnings in these areas from the start, we avoid or minimize the significant confusion that could occur if the warning suite changed from tropical to non-tropical in the middle of the event.

Don't just treat this as just another nasty nor'easter like the ones we get . Prepare for a long-duration, multiple-day storm that behaves like a Category 1 hurricane. Always prepare for at least one category higher than what's forecast.
In the event Sandy remains a tropical cyclone through landfall, NHC advisories and products would of course continue.  There would be no transition, however, from non-tropical wind warnings issued by the WFOs back to Tropical Storm or Hurricane Warnings issued by NHC, since both sets of warnings describe the same wind hazard.

The 11 AM Update:

SUMMARY OF 1100 AM EDT...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...32.5N 72.6W
ABOUT 250 MI...400 KM SE OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 575 MI...930 KM S OF NEW YORK CITY
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...75 MPH...120 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NE OR 45 DEGREES AT 14 MPH...22 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...951 MB...28.08 INCHES

Note that the pressure  continues to fall. I discounted some of those models that deepened it as deep as 929mbs in less than a day. They may very well be right. (Andrew in 1992 was 925 and possibly lower at landfall. Andrew bought Category 5 sustained winds to portions of south Dade County, Florida.) It is now deeper than the March 1993 Superstorm.

At this point we need to watch the high tide cycles. Between now and Tuesday, every point on the coast has 5 coming high tides. The worst should be tomorrow evening.

STORM SURGE...THE COMBINATION OF AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS STORM SURGE
AND THE TIDE WILL CAUSE NORMALLY DRY AREAS NEAR THE COAST TO BE
FLOODED BY RISING WATERS. THE WATER COULD REACH THE FOLLOWING
DEPTHS ABOVE GROUND IF THE PEAK SURGE OCCURS AT THE TIME OF HIGH
TIDE...

NC NORTH OF SURF CITY INCLUDING PAMLICO/ALBEMARLE SOUNDS...4 TO 6 FT
SE VA AND DELMARVA INCLUDING LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY...2 TO 4 FT
UPPER AND MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY...1 TO 3 FT
LONG ISLAND SOUND...RARITAN BAY...AND NEW YORK HARBOR...6 TO 11 FT
ELSEWHERE FROM OCEAN CITY MD TO THE CT/RI BORDER...4 TO 8 FT
CT/RI BORDER TO THE SOUTH SHORE OF CAPE COD INCLUDING BUZZARDS
BAY AND NARRAGANSETT BAY...3 TO 6 FT

Staten Island especially could get a devastating flood (Not all of it, I know, but a great deal.)

At Battery Park, two storms bought an 8 foot surge: the December 1992 Nor'easter and Hurricane Donna in 1960. Sandy could bring a surge of 11 feet to The Battery. The December 1992 nor'easter flooded the subway system and it was not usable for 10 days. Irene, last year, was within inches.

If you're asked to leave, do so. If you're not in an evacuation zone, stay put.

COASTAL FLOODING IS ALREADY UNDERWAY ALONG THE DELAWARE AND NEW JERSEY COASTS.

Inland there are gale warnings across almost all of the Great Lakes. That's how intense and large Sandy is. If you don't need to be out on the Lakes, don't be out on the Lakes. Please treat gale warnings like tropical storm and hurricane warnings. They basically are the same thing.

WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE ALREADY OCCURRING OVER COASTAL
NORTH CAROLINA AND SOUTHEASTERN VIRGINIA.  GALE FORCE WINDS ARE
EXPECTED TO ARRIVE ALONG PORTIONS OF THE MID-ATLANTIC COAST LATER
TODAY...AND REACH LONG ISLAND AND SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND BY MONDAY
MORNING. WINDS OF HURRICANE FORCE COULD REACH THE MID-ATLANTIC
STATES...INCLUDING LONG ISLAND...BY LATE MONDAY.

INLAND
The worst case scenario takes it directly over my area. In fact the latest forecast brings the center over Harrisburg on the 30th.

High Wind Warnings are in effect across the entire mid-Atlantic. Treat these exactly like tropical storm warnings, and prepare to be in the dark for some time.

Extremely heavy snow (yes, that's right) will occur in the mountains of West Virginia.

RAINFALL...RAINFALL TOTALS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES ARE EXPECTED OVER FAR
NORTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM TOTALS OF 8
INCHES POSSIBLE. RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES ARE EXPECTED
OVER PORTIONS OF THE MID ATLANTIC STATES...INCLUDING THE DELMARVA
PENINSULA...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 12 INCHES POSSIBLE.
RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 3 INCHES WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS
OF 5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE FROM THE SOUTHERN TIER OF NEW YORK STATE
NORTHEASTWARD THROUGH NEW ENGLAND

Follow the tips in this diary and past ones.

9:32 AM PT: UPDATES:

Mandatory evacuations are in effect in New York City's Zone A. While this covers 375,000 people, NYC's topography means they won't have to go far to get to safety.

Wilmington, DE has also ordered evacuations in low-lying sections near the Delaware River.

Evacuations have not been ordered in Philadelphia, but Mayor Nutter very strongly suggests that people in flood-prone sections of the city get out.

10:37 AM PT: UPDATE 2

The first high tide tonight should be between 6 and 7 tonight. We're already seeing coastal flooding in Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey.

UPDATE (Sunday 2pm): Sandy is still a hurricane. It hasn't yet made its left hook--that'll come tomorrow.

SUMMARY OF 200 PM EDT...1800 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...32.8N 71.9W
ABOUT 270 MI...440 KM SE OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 575 MI...930 KM S OF NEW YORK CITY
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...75 MPH...120 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NE OR 50 DEGREES AT 14 MPH...22 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...951 MB...28.08 INCHES

This Google Alert site explains why there is deep concern about tidal flooding.

Coastal Flood Warning remains in effect from 4 pm this afternoon to midnight EDT Monday night.

Location: the Atlantic coast of New Jersey and Delaware.
Coastal flooding: major coastal flooding is forecast for the Monday morning and Monday evening high tides. Moderate coastal flooding is forecast for this evenings high tide and widespread minor flooding is expected with this mornings high tide cycle.
High Surf of 15 to 20 feet driven by frequent 50 to 60 mph wind gusts will contribute to the flooding on Monday. Especially Monday evening.

A 4 to 8 feet storm surge coinciding with the Monday evening high tide is likely to produce a record flood as measured at Sandy Hook, possibly 1 to 2 feet higher than ever recorded since storm Tide records began around the 1940s.

At Sandy Hook. New Jersey (Sandy Hook Bay). This evenings high tide occurs at 7:41 pm. With a forecast Tide level of 7.5 to 8.0 feet above mean lower low water. The Monday morning high tide occurs at 8:01 am. With a forecast Tide level of 9.0 to 9.5 feet above mean lower low water. The Monday evening high tide occurs at 8:22 pm, with a forecast Tide level of between 10.5 and 12.0 feet, this latter projection specific with the path of Sandy crossing the New Jersey Coast late Monday evening.

At Seaside Heights. New Jersey (oceanfront). This evenings high tide occurs at 7:11 pm. With a forecast Tide level of around 7.5 feet above mean lower low water. The Monday morning high tide occurs at 7:31 am. With a forecast Tide level of 8.5 to 9.0 feet above mean lower low water. The Monday evening high tide occurs at 7:52 pm. With a forecast Tide level of around 9 to 10 feet above mean lower low water, again specific with respect to the timing of Sandy`s expected crossing the New Jersey Coast.

At Atlantic City. New Jersey (oceanfront). This evenings high tide occurs at 7:22 pm. With a forecast Tide level of 7.0 to 7.5 feet above mean lower low water. The Monday morning high tide occurs at 7:41 am. With a forecast Tide level of around 8.5 feet above mean lower low water. The Monday evening high tide occurs at 8:00 pm. With a forecast Tide level of 8.5 to 9 feet above mean lower low water.

At Cape May. New Jersey (oceanfront). This evenings high tide occurs at 7:56 pm. With a forecast Tide level of 8.0 feet above mean lower low water. The Monday morning high tide occurs at 8:15 am. With a forecast Tide level of 8.5 to 9.0 feet above mean lower low water. The Monday evening high tide occurs at 8:34 pm. With a forecast Tide level of 8.5 to 9.0 feet above mean lower low water.

At breakwater Harbor. Delaware (Delaware Bay). This evening high tide occurs at 8:38 pm. With a forecast Tide level of 7.5 to 8.0 feet above mean lower low water. The Monday morning high tide occurs at 8:55 am. With a forecast Tide level of around 8.5 feet above mean lower low water. The Monday evening high tide occurs at 9:15 pm. With a forecast Tide level of 8.0 to 8.5 feet above mean lower low water.

At Rehoboth Beach. Delaware (oceanfront). This evenings high tide occurs at 7:32 pm. With a forecast Tide level of around 7.5 feet above mean lower low water. The Monday morning high tide occurs at 7:55 am. With a forecast Tide level of 8.0 to 8.5 feet above mean lower low water. The Monday evening high tide occurs at 8:11 pm. With a forecast Tide level of around 8.0 feet above mean lower low water.

High Tide on the back bays. Along Delaware Bay and along Raritan Bay occurs later than the high tide on the Oceanfront.

I found this on NWS Philadelphia's site. It reminded me of the absolutely dire warnings the Weather Service Office in New Orleans did before Katrina. Because it's a PDF I'll blockquote the statement below:
If you are being asked to evacuate a coastal location by state and local officials, please do so.
• If you are reluctant to evacuate, and you know someone who rode out the ‘62 storm
on the barrier islands, ask them if they would do it again.
• If you are still reluctant, think about your loved ones, think about the emergency
responders who will be unable to reach you when you make the panicked phone call
to be rescued, think about the rescue/recovery teams who will rescue you if you are
injured or recover your remains if you do not survive.
• Sandy is an extremely dangerous storm.  There will be major property damage,
injuries are probably unavoidable, but the goal is zero fatalities.
• If you think the storm is over-hyped and exaggerated, please err on the side of
caution.  You can call me up on Friday (contact information is at the end of this
briefing) and yell at me all you want.
• I will listen to your concerns and comments, but I will tell you in advance, I will be
very happy that you are alive & well, no matter how much you yell at me.
• Thanks for listening.
• Gary Szatkowski – National Weather Service Mount Holly
Quite frankly, if you're on the barrier islands along the Jersey shore and you're not going to leave, please consider writing your social security number in permanent marker on your arm or leg. The predicted surge will likely over-top several islands by several feet.

11:24 AM PT:

UPDATE 3 (230pm Eastern Sunday)

SNOWFALL..SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 3 FEET ARE EXPECTED IN THE MOUNTAINS OF WEST VIRGINIA...WITH LOCALLY HIGHER TOTALS TONIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT. SNOWFALL OF 1 TO 2 FEET IS EXPECTED IN THE MOUNTAINS OF SOUTHWESTERN VIRGINIA TO THE KENTUCKY BORDER...WITH 12 TO 18 INCHES OF SNOW POSSIBLE IN THE MOUNTAINS NEAR THENORTH CAROLINA/TENNESSEE BORDER.

SEPTA service will be suspended at the end of service tonight (12:30am), per NBC 10 in Philadelphia.

Waiting onbriefings from Governor Corbett at 4:30pm Eastern (I'd like to know if I have to go to work tomorrow and Tuesday.)

I know we don't like Governor Christie of NJ but he's absolutely right: "Staying on the barrier islands is stupid. Don't be stupid. Get out."

11:40 AM PT: Tolls are also suspended along the Garden State Parkway.

11:44 AM PT: I'm watching NBC 10 Philadelphia's  live-coverage. Shelters will open across most of southeast Pennsylvania around 7pm tonight.

Route 1 in coastal Delaware, the main coastal route through the area, is flooded. High tide isn't for some hours.

UPDATE 4 (3PM EDT Sunday):

I was looking at the water-vapor loop. There is absolutely no way this will miss the US East Coast.

I want to give mad props to the computer modelers who forecasted this very event last week and for emergency management who has been on top of this since Tuesday. Now we just wait.

Philadelphia public schools will be closed tomorrow, per NBC 10 Philadelphia.

12:26 PM PT: All Northeast Corridor operations are canceled for Monday.

12:27 PM PT: Predicted Water Levels at The Battery in New York City may reach almost 12 feet, which would be a record.

1:04 PM PT: There's still significant coastal flooding occurring in Florida.

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL

247 PM EDT SUN OCT 28 2012

...COASTAL FLOOD WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM EDT MONDAY...

...HIGH SURF ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM EDT MONDAY...

* COASTAL FLOODING...EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT REPORTED THAT SEVERAL

STREETS ALONG THE COASTAL AREAS OF PALM BEACH...BROWARD...AND

MIAMI-DADE COUNTIES WERE IMPASSABLE EARLY THIS AFTERNOON WITH FLOODED ROADS AND WATER ENTERING HOMES AND BUSINESSES.

PEOPLE ARE ALSO TRAPPED IN HOMES IN THE NORTHERN FORT LAUDERDALE BEACHAREA.

1:38 PM PT: Governor Corbett (R) of PA speaking now.

3:19 PM PT: There's a rec'ed diary about the prisoners on Rikers. Rikers Island appears to not be in the flood zone and the prisoners will likely be fine but Mayor Bloomberg's remarks are pretty flippant and rude.


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