Hurricane Sandy Recap 10/30/12

Hurricane Sandy blew through the North Country late Monday into early Tuesday with peak wind gusts of 35-50mph in most Adirondack hamlets. Reported rainfall generally ranged from 0.5-1.5 inches in the central and eastern Adirondacks, with 0.5 inches or less in the western Adirondacks.

Strong northeast to easterly winds knocked down or uprooted many large trees which were normally accustomed to withstanding strong west to southwesterly winds. Blowdown clean-up will be needed before this winter, but that’s nothing compared to the swath of devastation that Hurricane Sandy laid down from Long Island down to Virginia! In essence, we received a glancing blow from this natural disaster.

Since this is il*snow*.com I’ll leave you with a great snow pic from the high ground of West Virginia!

Hurricane Sandy snowstorm, West Virginia

Hey! It’s only October and we’ll get ours this winter when we can use it.

Hurricane Sandy Update 10/28/12

Sandy is starting to morph from a hurricane into the Über-Hybrid Nor’easter known as Frankenstorm. In addition to the massive cloud complex that has enveloped the eastern seaboard, you can see drier air wrapping into the eastern sector of the storm (shown by the brown):

Hurricane Sandy Water Vapor Picture

Hurricane Sandy Water Vapor Picture

Some of this dry punch will wrap itself into the northeastern quadrant of Sandy as she makes landfall. This will spare us the tremendous flooding like we had with 2011 Irene.

NAM is showing Sandy making landfall somewhere in central New Jersey by 8PM Monday. The massive upper level low digging into the Carolinas will shove Sandy westward into Pennsylvania after landfall: What a monster!

Sandy Landfall

Sandy at Monday 8PM

What to expect from Sandy:

The calm before the storm will last into early Monday. Northeasterly winds will strengthen dramatically in the afternoon, then eventually veer to easterly into the night. Peak wind gusts late Monday afternoon into Monday night should reach 40-60mph in most places. Higher terrain exposed to northeast or easterly winds will have gusts well over 60mph. Winds will further veer to the southeast early Tuesday and begin to weaken.

(Remember: In meteorology, wind direction ALWAYS refers to the direction in which the wind is blowing FROM.)

Rain will end up being the most over-hyped impact from Sandy over the North Country. The dirty secret is that the lion’s share of Sandy’s rainfall will be orographically driven by strong winds blowing across mountains and valleys:

Sandy Precipitation

Meso NAM forecast rainfall through Tuesday 8PM

You can see the severe “rain shadowing” from compressional drying in the Hudson, Champlain and St. Lawrence Valleys, with those areas only picking up 0.50 inch or less of rain through Tuesday evening. The high mountain ranges of the Adirondacks will do much better with 1.5-3 inches of rain, with the some of the High Peaks over 3 inches. In most of the Adirondack hamlets, rainfall may only be in the 0.5-1.5 inch range by Tuesday evening. Of course, there will be additional rains on Wednesday as the remnants of Sandy pinwheel from Pennsylvania into New York State. But the bottom line is that flooding will not be a major problem in the Adirondacks, aside from localized flooding near the high mountains and in leaf-clogged drains and culverts.

Sandy’s winds will be a far bigger story than her rain in the Adirondacks. Be prepared for fallen trees and loss of power. Snowmobile clubs and town crews will be busy with blowdown clean-up before winter.

How about snow?

Not this time! But you may wish to book a road trip to West Virginia where the high mountains will end up measuring snow by the feet!

Sandy snowfall over West Virginia

Snow (inches) through 8AM Tuesday

This is probably my final update before Sandy hits. I’ll try to hit with an update Monday evening with the storm underway, IF we still have power. At least you have been warned well in advance. 🙂

Important Hurricane Sandy Update! 10/27/12

Sandy was “only” classified as a Category 1 hurricane Saturday morning with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and gusts to 90 mph. Don’t let that fool you into letting your guard down. Sandy’s central pressure is very low (958mb), which means she will hold her strength extremely well while transitioning to a sprawling Über-Hybrid Nor’easter. Call it Frankenstorm if you wish……

The most important trend of the short range models is the forecast acceleration of Sandy on Monday. Latest NAM is showing that Sandy should make landfall over New Jersey before Monday evening. That is nearly 12 hours sooner than previously expected!

Inland Sandy
Effects of Sandy’s rapid acceleration will include:

1) Increasing the high wind potential for the Adirondacks:

Atmospheric pressure gradient is the main force that drives wind. The rapid movement of Sandy on Monday will compress the pressure gradient ahead of her prior to landfall, which further increases wind speeds. Locations that are highly vulnerable to easterly winds may experience wind gusts over 60mph Monday afternoon and into the first half of Monday night!

2) Cause freakish local variations in rainfall totals:

Strong easterly winds will favor heavier rain over the eastern Adirondacks and lighter rains over the western Adirondacks. The sheer strength of Sandy will cause further local variations due to small scale precipitation banding that the models won’t accurately pick up:

Sandy precipitation

Precipitation (inches) through 8PM Tuesday

The chart includes precipitation through 8PM Tuesday and additional rain will continue through Wednesday as Sandy pinwheels over Pennsylvania. However, widespread flooding should NOT be expected for the Adirondacks, with rainfall potential capped at 1-3 inches in most spots for the entire event (Monday thru Wednesday).

Comparing 2012 Sandy to 2011 Irene:

In terms of heavy rain, Irene was much worse than Sandy will be. Irene tracked up the Connecticut Valley, which placed much of the Adirondacks in the sweet zone for heavy rainfall (3-6+ inches) to the left of the storm’s track. We will be to the right of Sandy’s track as she tracks through New Jersey into Pennsylvania. Dry air entrainment to the right of Sandy’s path will cut down on rainfall for the Adirondacks.

On the other hand, I think that Sandy may generate stronger wind than Irene did. With tropical systems, the highest winds usually occur to the right of the storm’s track, which will be the case for us with Sandy.

Either way you slice it, Sandy will likely cause widespread and significant tree blow down throughout the Adirondacks on Monday. Make sure that your generator and chainsaw work before she gets here! You have all weekend to prepare….


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