In the “better safe than sorry” category, the northeast is on alert. The possibility of a mega-storm on par with the “perfect storm” of 1991 has everyone preparing for the worst.
John told me that the local power company in DC, PEPCO, starting making automated phone calls last night, basically to scare the cr*p out of people (and ensure that the already-expected stampede to empty out the local grocery stores will now be a panic). It sometimes seems that, as Americans, we do one thing particularly well – panic.
As always, NOAA has some amazing photos:
A contributing factor to the problem of this particular storm is the warm Atlantic Ocean. The warm ocean is behind the extended period of rain in northern Europe, and it is feeding tropical storms off of North America.
Another cool shot from NOAA:
Interestingly, the Washington Post is warning that even though Sandy appears to be weakening, she could still be just as dangerous:
At first glance, it would appear that Sandy is not the threat it used to be. It is a minimal hurricane, and looks less organized on satellite. DO NOT BE FOOLED! Sandy is already taking on some extratropical characteristics, and the lack of a traditional tropical appearance (symmetric eye, eyewall, etc) does not mean it’s any less of a risk.
As of 11 a.m., the center is located about 355 miles southeast of Charleston, SC and the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center gives it an intensity of 75 mph, and a pressure of 958 mb, which is considerably lower than last night.
It is possible that Sandy could even completely lose its status as a tropical storm or hurricane, and still be a terrible hybrid/extratropical storm with the same destructive power as a major hurricane. Do not focus on what category it is and make plans based on that. Sandy is still forecast to intensify as it heads north and interacts with energy from the approaching trough and front (through a process called “baroclinic enhancement”).
Here’s another nice satellite shot of Sandy:
And another shot showing the inches of rain expected up and down the eastern seaboard:
Another overall Sandy shot, showing Mexico and the top of South America, from NOAA: