Thursday October 25, 2012

All eyes on Sandy

10:00P.M. Thursday October 25, 2012

School Forecast For:
Friday October 26, 2012
Two-Hour Delay Cancellation Early Dismissal
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In late August of last year, the Northeast was struck by what was at the time Tropical Storm Irene. The storm formed in the extreme northeastern Caribbean, and tracked over Puerto Rico and the Bahamas before turning northward up the east coast. On August 27th and 28th, 2011, Irene skipped along the coast from North Carolina to New Jersey. The storm passed directly over New York City on the morning of August 28th with winds of 65 mph. The storm then continued north of the region into Canada.

Irene was responsible for over a foot of rain across the northeastern US. Flooding from the storm exceeded record levels across many parts of the region. Thousands of people spent the week without power as a result of widespread tree damage. Many people lost homes due to the flood waters. Irene was responsible for over $15 billion in damage across the US.

One year later, History seems poised to repeat itself. Hurricane Sandy is currently located in the Bahamas with 100 mph winds. Over the past several days the models have been forecasting that Sandy will move northward parallel to the east coast. By early next week many of the models have Sandy turning westward over the weekend, and hitting the northeastern US anywhere from Virginia to Maine. There is enough model support for this scenario that the National Hurricane Center now calls for the storm to come ashore along the New Jersey coast Tuesday Morning.

There is still considerable uncertainty in what the exact track of the storm will be, but one thing that we do know is that Sandy will be a very large storm. Tropical storm force winds of 40 mph or greater are forecast to extend out ward over 300 miles from the center of the storm as it comes ashore. This being said, where the exact center comes ashore is not appear to be overly significant at this point. Expect that a large portion of the Mid-Atlantic and New England states will experience at least a period of bad weather.

What the Mid Hudson Valley can expect from Sandy

Rain. Flooding rains will likely end up being the biggest threat Monday through Wednesday. Depending on the exact storm track, we very well could end up seeing a large repeat of last summer's flooding from Hurricane Irene.

Wind. The current forecast track would likely give us sustained winds of 40 mph on Tuesday with gusts as high as 50 mph. These winds would likely last most of the day, and so extensive tree damage is possible. Unlike with Irene, however, many of the trees have lost most of their leaves, so this may slightly reduce tree related damage, opposed to if they were in full bloom. Widespread power outages should be expected for Tuesday into Wednesday.

Storm Surge. The Mid Hudson Valle is about 90 miles inland from the Atlantic, however, it is possible that storm surge becomes an issue. If Sandy were to track to the west of New York City, into New Jersey as is currently forecast, her large counter-clockwise circulation could find itself in a perfect position to pump large amounts of water into New York harbor and the surrounding bays.This water could then potentially flow up the Hudson, just like the tide does every day, creating flooding along the river itself.

Adding to this scenario, Monday is also a full moon, which is when the most dramatic tides occur. If Sandy were to send a surge up the river during the full moon high tide, combined with the runoff from potentially flooding rains, we could be looking at significant flooding along the river and associated tributaries.

Right now, the region should be taking precaution in anticipation of the storm.
This includes identifying what risks your local area poses, and preparing emergency plans.

Next Update:
Friday Evening

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