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Saturday Sandy Update

8:51 PM, Oct 27, 2012   |    comments
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I'll divide today's update into two sections: "The Essentials" and "A Deeper Look". That way you can get in and out quickly if you wish, or learn more about the storm and the expected impacts.

The Essentials: Our overall forecast remains unchanged. Landfall still looks to be in the NYC area giving Maine a strong hit but NOT The Perfect Storm II that had been on the table earlier this week.

1) The timing has sped up. Now we are looking at the strongest part of the storm hitting us on Monday afternoon through Monday evening. Earlier the thinking had been Tuesday...that's no longer the case.

2) Winds will gust up to 70 MPH along the southern coast of Maine. Most of us, however, will end up with gusts in the 46-60 MPH range. The further west and north you head, the lower the wind gusts will end up. By the way, the general wind direction of the strongest gusts will be Northeast.

3) The duration of strongest winds will be quite short. This should help us as far as widespread damage. My thinking is that most spots will only see about 6 hours of the strongest winds.

4) It will certainly rain but I don't expect a deluge. Rainfall amounts should be in the 2-3" range for most of us with some higher amounts over western Maine where the moisture banks up against the terrain.

5) There will be some coastal flooding. Seems like "the usual" type of low lying flooding for a good sized Nor'easter. The tide isn't super high to begin with so that helps us out.

A Deeper Look: As I mentioned yesterday (read HERE if you missed it), I felt the final track of Sandy would move north a bit over time as the computer models had overreacted by jumping fully onboard with the Euro model. Sure enough the correction back to the north started last night and now the final landfall looks to be near NYC. To be honest the EXACT path of Sandy isn't that important as the wind field will be very spread out and impact a large area. The only thing that would really change our experience from Sandy would be a strong northward jog that put her into Cape Cod, MA. I don't see this happening.

So with the track in much better agreement it comes down to what kind of winds will we experience being a decent distance away from this strong tropical hybrid storm. There isn't much in the way of precedent for this exact setup but I was able to dig up a decent case study. Do you remember the February 25th, 2010 wind and rain storm? Take a look at THIS side by side I produced. On the left is the surface map from the night, on the right is the projected position of Sandy. The similarities are strong and during that February storm winds in Portland topped 70 MPH while some coastal buoys hit 95 MPH. Now, to be fair, that February storm was a bit further north but I think that's offset by the fact that the Sandy-hybrid is actually a much deeper and stronger low pressure system. So what's my point? I think the experience of that storm will be very similar to what we'll see with Sandy.

One last thought: The strength of Sandy as a Tropical Storm or Hurricane doesn't really matter for Maine. Don't fixate on how she looks as a tropical system, because she's actually not that well organized. The key, however, is that we aren't concerned with her as a tropical, but instead as an extratropical hybrid. So as long as the circulation remains intact, the fluctuations in intensity over the open water are of little meaning to us in Maine.

Ok that's it for now.

Twitter: I'll likely be geeking out from now through the storm. @KeithcarsonWCSH

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