10.29.12

Sandy Truly A Superstorm Of  Epic Proportions

Posted in Commentary, Hurricane Intensity, Hurricane Records, Tracking the Tropics, Model Forecasts at 11:46 pm by gmachos

Hurricane/Nor’easter Makes Mark Comparable To Superstorm ‘93

Hurricane Sandy is done as a tropical cyclone, but it will be a storm long remembered by many, especially in the Mid-Atlantic States of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and even Pennsylvania.  Of all the storms that I have lived through including Irene last year, this was the worst.  Not just the worst tropical storm or hurricane, but the worst storm period.  The legacy of Sandy here in New Jersey, New York, and Long Island will be the wind and surge.

This large and powerful storm produced tremendous winds by Jersey standards with winds whipping frantically for several hours on Monday night.  The winds had been picking up during the afternoon, but then around the 5:00 PM hour, they appeared to abate in Atlantic City and New York City.  About a hour later though they dramatically picked up again, and increased to as high as 100 miles per hour.  Here at the hotel that I am staying at, the winds have been relentless, and it felt like they were going to bust through the window in my room.

By the way, the winds aren’t going to slacken for a while either.  The slow moving storm will cause the high winds to linger for at least another 24 hours.  Along the coast, there was the surge.  A record surge was set in New York Harbor at King’s Point (13.3 feet) and Battery Park (13.7 feet).  Sandy Hook also was hit with a record surge of 13.3 feet.   The previous record for surge in New York Harbor was from the 1821 hurricane. The barometric pressure fell to 940 millibars, or 27.76 inches of Hg before the storm turned post-tropical and came ashore.  At GWC, the barometric pressure fell to 28.42 inches of Hg (Mercury) or 962 millibars, which shattered the record of 970 millibars set in Hurricane Irene last year.

The storm has left New York City as well as many locales around New Jersey reeling.  Flooding has occurred in many parts of the area, especially near the coast.  Trees have fallen on people.  A crane has partially collapsed in Midtown Manhattan.  Water poured into the PATH station in Hoboken.  Fires have broken out.  Transformers have blown all across the region.  Almost 5 million people have been left without power around the region.   Trees were down across Route 18 near Sayreville.  Power was out throughout much of Sayreville, Old Bridge, South Amboy, and Colts Neck.  This storm could end up making Hurricane Katrina look like a walk in a park.

It was a very well predicted storm.  Much like Superstorm ‘93 was almost 20 years ago, Sandy was picked up quite well in the models, and even in terms of its intensity and conversion from a tropical to post-tropical system.  The storm lived up to the hype and was well behaved from a forecast standpoint.  The similarities between Sandy and Superstorm ‘93 didn’t stop there.  Sandy was a storm that had winds stretch across some 1,000 plus miles at peak size.  It covered not only the Mid-Atlantic, but also New England, and the Great Lakes States. Approximately 60 million people were affected. Similarly, Superstorm ‘93 affected some 26 states when it was all said and done.  Like Superstorm ‘93, Sandy brought a variety of weather including a record storm surge, tornadoes, and blizzard conditions to some of the affected areas.

Keep in mind that we are still scratching the surface of this weather event.   The true scope of the devastation from this storm will begin to be revealed with daylight on Wednesday.  Many things will not sort themselves out until later in the week.  Nevertheless, if we are just talking the shear meteorological numbers, Hurricane Sandy, or Superstorm Sandy has truly been a historic storm.  Something I as well as all of you will long remember.

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