From the ABC 7 Weather team

Hurricane Sandy Path: How the D.C. area will be impacted

October 26, 2012 - 02:15 PM
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Hurricane Sandy has moved back over tropical waters as it heads north towards the Bahamas. Is D.C. in the cross-hairs this weekend into next week?

Here is the latest forecast track for Hurricane Sandy which now shows the storm as a hurricane as it moves into the East coast somewhere from Virginia to Long Island, New York. It appears landfall will be occurring sometime late Monday night into the early morning hours on Tuesday and conditions will be rapidly deteriorating as the storm continues to push westward.

Forecast track for Hurricane Sandy

It is always important to not just look at the center of the forecast track, as the storm could hit anywhere in the hased area. Some of the latest models actually bring the storm north into portions of Long Island, then continue it westward centered in Pennsylvania and New York on Tuesday and remains strong Wednesday before weakening and pushing northward Thursday.

Hurricane Sandy 12Z spaghetti plot models

Above are some of the 12Z model spaghetti plots for Hurricane Sandy, which I wanted to show you because there is still some variability on where this storm will make landfall. I imagine you could throw the green BAMD out the window for being a big outlier, but as for as the other models are concerned, you can see the potential for landfall anywhere from the Delmarva and north to Rhode Island.

12Z Sandy Intensity Model Guidance

As far as intensity is concerned over the next few days, Sandy appears like it will be a low end hurricane or high end tropical storm all the way through landfall. There doesn't appear to be any big intensification or weakening prior to that point.

As far as the affects are concerned for the D.C. Metro, this storm has the potential to be catastrophic for the area, but it also may be more of a high wind and heavy rain event which may be more like Hurricane Irene in intensity. It is really hard to say exactly what it will be like at this point because the exact location of landfall will dictate the conditions our region will have.

If the storm makes landfall on the Delmarva or south: That would be the worst case scenario, as the strongest winds are located in the northeastern (front, right) portion of the storm. This would lead to devastating storm surge on the Eastern Shore as well as the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac Rivers. Couple that surge with the high astronomical tides and it compounds the problem even greater. It would also lead to higher winds around the D.C. Metro, possibly 60+mph gusts. Rainfall totals would be massive in the 5-10+ inch range at the least and widespread damage from downed trees would be common. Flooding would also look to be a big issue.

12Z Friday Surge Forecast for Tuesday morning based off the GFS Model

If the storm makes landfall in New Jersey: This would be a slightly better scenario for the D.C. area as the center of the storm would be north and we would be seeing the weaker quadrant as far as the winds. Regardless, wind gusts to 50+mph would be common and I think we would still see the majority of the same problems listed above except for the storm surge.

If the storm makes landfall in Long Island or farther north: This would be the best case scenario for the D.C. area. You would think that the region wouldn't see much of anything if this were to occur, but since it will be transitioning into an extra-tropical storm, the wind fields will be substantially larger than if it were only a post-tropical system. Our area would still see gust winds and some heavy rain, but it wouldn't be quite as bad as the top two scenarios. 

12Z Friday European forecast for Tuesday morning showing 850mb winds and MSLP ( models)

I wanted to show you a quick picture of the latest 12Z European Model gudiance as it depicts the massive storm moving into the Atlantic City area come early Tuesday morning before sunrise. I wanted to show you this because you can really see the massive size of the system and this just shows what kind of widespread impacts the northeast will see. 

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