Hurricane Sandy’s Impacts in the Washington Region

Latest Forecast Models re-curve Sandy back into the Mid-Atlantic coast somewhere between the Del-Mar-Va and Long Island. (Image Courtesy: weatherunderground.com)
  • Sandy will regain strength as she approaches the warm waters of the Gulf Stream on Sunday & Monday
  • The exact track of Sandy is only important for residents along the coast as it will determine who receives the highest storm surge.
  • Based upon the most current data available, widespread Tropical Storm force winds are possible across the Washington Region Monday afternoon through Wednesday morning.  Sustained winds of 40 to 60 mph are possible with higher gusts.
  • The amount of rain that will fall and the long duration wind event will enhance the threat of possible widespread power outages.
5 day rainfall forecast from the HPC. (image courtesy: http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/tropical/qpf/tcqpf.php?sname=Sandy)
  • Currently, rainfall totals of 5 to 10″ are possible with higher amounts near a foot.
  • Storm Surge:  It is too early to know exactly where Sandy will track so please pay close attention to the Official Forecasts from the National Hurricane Center (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov) and the National Weather Service here in Washington/Baltimore (www.weather.gov/lwx)

Snowfall:  A Winter Storm Watch has been issued by the National Weather Service in Baltimore-Washington for several counties in the West Virginia mountains where preliminary snowfall accumulations of 8 to 10″ are possible with higher amounts across the highest elevations.  Several models I have looked at, including the one below dump well over a foot of snow (12 to 15″+) in the mountains of West Virginia and western Maryland.  This amount of snow and high winds could cause catastrophic damage to trees and power lines knocking out power for many. I would expect the watches to be expanded as more information comes in tonight and Saturday.

Image Courtesy: http://www.wxcaster.com/conus_snowfall.htm

At times there can be public fatigue over what is perceived as media ‘hype’.  The center of circulation of the cylcone deemed the Perfect storm of 1991 in New England stayed well offshore and yet it still produced 200 million (1991 US dollars) in damage. When a similar weather pattern unfolds and the center of circulation is forecast to come onshore and spin in place for two days (as it is swallowed up by a deepening trough with an expanding wind field), I think residents should at least be prepared for a worst case scenario.  

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