Sandy is once again a hurricane as of mid-morning. Whether this gets called a strong tropical storm or a minimal hurricane the next couple days is less important than the size of the storm. Although Sandy is losing some of its tropical characteristics it will continue to be a very large storm. There have been reports of 60 mile per hour winds some 300 miles from the center of the storm. Sandy will also gain energy from the jet stream and may get some more as it moves over warmer water later in the weekend. You can see from the map below that the water off the coast of North Carolina is very warm and this will help energize the storm. Normally, tropical systems are very compact and affect areas under 100 miles from the center. Sandy is transitioning into a hybrid storm that is part tropical and part like a nor'easter. When it hits the coast next week, it will have the size of winter storm covering hundreds of miles and the strength of a minimal hurricane. I will be updating the latest information on the storm using Twitter at @growingwisdom
Sandy is a very large storm and while it doesn't look like a classic hurricane, this storm is anything but typical. The storm will begin to move northeast overnight and then make that turn to the left and come onshore between Delaware and southern New England. No matter where this storm comes ashore, the wind field of tropical storm force wind will extend out over 300 miles from the center.
The weekend is your time to prepare for the storm. Today is a great day of weather with sunshine and mild temperatures. We will see highs well into the 60s with light winds. Sunday, clouds will increase and there will be a few showers later in the day. The peak of the storm will be Monday-Tuesday. I expect if the track holds that most businesses and schools will be closed Monday and perhaps even Tuesday. Wednesday there will still be a few showers, but the trend will be improving. All in all the effects of the storm will last for 4 days.
What to expect
Everyone will experience a strong storm starting Monday. We won't know until later in the weekend just how intense the impact to southern New England will be so check back often as I update the forecast. In a worse case scenario, south and some east coast facing beaches will see storm a storm surge of 2 to 5 feet and coastal flooding could be major. High tide is at midnight and noon Monday and Tuesday with the noon tides being the highest of the cycle. All areas will have strong to damaging winds and tree damage will be an issue. I expect widespread power outages and some street flooding from heavy rain. Even if the storm stays further south we will still experience a very strong nor'easter. Rainfall will be on the order of 2-5 inches which will also create some basement flooding issues. I don't expect rivers flooding to be an issue at this time.
What to do now
Here are some things to think about before the storm. Don' buy a lot of perishable food. If the power goes out, food goes bad. Have cell phones charged fully and have a flashlight and candles ready. If you have a well and the power goes out the pump won't work so fill the tube with water so you can flush toilets etc. Grab some cash because ATM's also don't work without power. Finally, think about what you can do for fun with the kids if they are home from school for a day or two. Those of you with boats and homes on the water already know what precautions to take I am sure, but get that boat into dry dock this weekend.
Why this very unusual track?
The track of the storm is forecast to be highly unusual. I have to say that until it happens, it's almost difficult for me to believe it's so strange. However, the models are clear that the jet stream will carry the storm into the coast around New Jersey late Monday. The map below shows the forecast, based on the GFS model, of the jet stream. I have tried to illustrate how everything comes together to move the storm west.
Gardening this week
There are many plants that bloom in the fall. Toad lily, asters, mums, joe pye weed, roses and many others wait or continue blooming into late fall. It's a good idea to have a garden with plants that bloom in all different season. When I design my gardens I select plants that bloom from February to November here in the northeast. Additionally, but adding some special evergreens, I can bring color to the garden all year long.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this blog or any others. Please follow me on Twitter at @growingwisdom and check out my latest videos at GrowingWisdom.com
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