From the ABC 7 Weather team

Tropical Storm Sandy path: Late season tropical storm forms in Caribbean

October 23, 2012 - 05:00 AM
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Just when you think hurricane season is over, it starts to ramp up!  Two organized systems in the Caribbean in late October.  Will they impact the U.S.?

Just when you think the coast is clear and we're free of any tropical weather, the tropics start to ramp up!   There are currently two named weather systems in the Caribbean and Atlantic.  

National Hurricane Center - October 22, 2012

Tropical Depression 19 is well out in the open waters of the Atlantic and is expected to steer clear of all landmasses.  Tropical Storm Sandy, on the other hand, is a much different story.  T.S. Sandy became the 20th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season late Monday afternoon.   The Atlantic hurricane season doesn't officially end until November 30th, but statistics show the season becomes much less active after the middle of October.

National Hurricane Center

The latest hurricane on record is Hurricane Alice that was active through December 31st, 1954.  It is very rare to have hurricanes that late in the season, as water temperatures are generally cooloer and there is a harder time creating and sustaining tropical development.  From the time period of 1851-2010, November has had 66 Tropical Storms and 40 hurricanes; and the month of December has had 10 Tropical Storms and 4 hurricanes. 

The most recent named storm in the Atlantic is Tropical Storm Sandy.  T.S. Sandy is currently over the Southwestern Caribbean Sea and is expected to track NNE over Jamaica, Haiti, and the Bahamas over the next few days.

NHC Forecast Track as of October 22, 2012

So where will Sandy track by the end of the week?  Well that has become thetopic of converation among many meteorologists and weather enthusiasts alike.  Some computer models project Sandy to get caught in the jet stream and get pulled inland into New England producing heavy rain, snow, and extreme winds.  The European model, as shown below, shows the outer bands of the storm approaching the Mid-Atlantic coast late Tuesday night, with the 940mb low a few hundred miles off the coast.  Now there has been some observed change between the 00z and 12z Europen runs.  The latest run (as of late Monday night) has the center of low pressure well off the coast, but then taking a stark turn to the left to bring a potentially extreme weather event to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. 

12z European Model - October 22, 2012

Other computer models, show little to no impact from Sandy, as the storm stays well off the Atlantic coast.   Take a look at the 18z GFS model, which keeps the storm center hundreds of miles off the U.S. coast.  Granted, Sandy is still a strong storm with a central pressure of about 964mb.  This simulation is Monday night (October 29th). 

18z GFS model - October 22, 2012

There is a huge margin of error and it will be interesting to see how everything pans out.  My best advice is to stay on top of the local weather forecasts.  As the week progresses, meteorologists will have a better handle on the weather situation and how and if Sandy will have an impact on the lower 48.  We'll keep you posted!  Until then, this gives you an idea of the many variables that go into weather forecasting and how much can change in a matter of days.  Enjoy the quiet weather pattern through the end of the week!

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