Sandy will no longer be Sandy when the impacts of the storm are felt here. But what’s in a name? I’ll leave it to the readers to debate whether or not that makes a difference in how people hear and interpret information. The meteorological truth is that Sandy will be a category one hurricane into Monday as it moves northward off the US Mid Atlantic Coast, and as it begins a left turn toward the NJ coast, it will lose tropical characteristics, and will no longer be tropical (by definition) by the time the center of the storm reaches land on the NJ coast Monday night.
We should not be focusing only on where that center crosses the coast, as the storm already has a very wide wind field and this will expand further as it loses tropical characteristics. This is the reason why significant and some damaging wind will take place in the forecast area in southern New England.
So, this storm, though very significant, will not be a “classic” New England hurricane. Here’s a summary of what to expect in the region starting in southern areas late Sunday night and spreading northward Monday into Monday night, before slowly subsiding Tuesday as the storm spins down over land…
Wind: A moderate northeast breeze will develop Sunday but winds will not be that significant during the day. They will increase at night and build during the day Monday, peaking during the hours of 3PM to midnight Monday afternoon and night. During the peak time, winds will blow from the northeast to east. Sustained winds will be 25-35 MPH inland except 30-40 MPH in higher elevations and 35-45 MPH in coastal locations. Gusts will be 45-65 MPH inland, 55-70 MPH higher elevations and coastal areas. For Cape Cod and the Islands, add 5 to 10 MPH to all of these wind speeds. Isolated peak gusts that are slightly stronger may occur. Again, please remember that the gusts are just that, gusts, not sustained winds. During these gusts are when most of the wind damage takes place.
Coastal flooding: Widespread moderate coastal flooding is likely at the times of high tides, with the most critical high tides around 11AM Monday, midnight Monday night, and noon Tuesday. Areas of major flooding may occur at high tide times in portions of the South Shore of MA, Cape Cod and the Islands, and RI. Storm surge peak will occur on the South Coast of New England for Monday night’s high tide. Storm surge of up to 5 feet above normal tides may occur. Keep in mind that these high tide cycles are occurring during the time of a full moon. Astronomical tides are higher during full and new moon times.
Rain: This storm will NOT be a major rain producer. Rainfall totals of 1 to 2 inches will be common. Isolated 3 to 4 inch amounts are possible, especially where rainfall can be enhanced by air moving up the slopes of hills in north central MA and southwestern NH. Any flooding from rain would be mostly minor to locally moderate and only in the most flood prone areas.
By Tuesday, the worst will be over, and though winds will still be very gusty it will be much less stormy than Monday. Winds will shift more to the southeast as the low pressure area spins over the interior Northeast. Additional showers will take place, though the heaviest rain will be over. The remains of the storm will continue to spin down and decay on Wednesday over the interior northeastern US. There will be additional showers in our area but some drier air will also work up from the south and southwest with periods of improved weather. As November gets underway, the trough will lift out and be replaced by high pressure and improving weather into next weekend.
Forecast for eastern MA, RI, and southern NH…
TODAY: Mostly cloudy. Areas of fog early. Chance of light rain or drizzle late afternoon. Highs 56-61. Wind NE 5-10 MPH to start increasing to 10-20 MPH by late in the day, gusts around 25-30 MPH may take place by the end of the day Cape Cod & South Coast.
TONIGHT: Cloudy. Areas of fog. Chance of rain. Lows 50-55. Wind NE 10-20 MPH inland and 20-30 MPH coastal areas, with higher gusts.
MONDAY AND MONDAY NIGHT: Overcast. Periods of rain. Highs around 60. Lows around 55. Wind NE shifting more E later, increasing to 25-45 MPH with gusts 45-70 MPH inland (see above for more detail).
TUESDAY AND TUESDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Periods of showers. Highs around 65. Lows around 55. Wind SE 20-35 MPH with higher gusts, slowly subsiding.
WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy. A few additional episodes of showers. Highs 60-65. Wind S 10-20 MPH with higher gusts.
THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy. Low 47. High 56.
FRIDAY: Partly sunny. Low 44. High 55.
THANK YOU EVERYBODY for being patient while it took me forever to update this blog. I was at a conference for nearly 12 hours today, and hit some famous Boston traffic on Route 93 heading back home, and between needing to refuel and rest, the result was a long delay in updating. Thanks for sticking with me! Please use the comments below for questions, observations, and other thoughts regarding this storm or anything weather-related.
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