Hurricane Sandy: Frankenstorm Intensifies And Heads Landward

Since we last reported on Hurricane Sandy last week the storm has only intensified and the US East Coast is preparing for massive flooding and a massive damage bill.

Hurricane Sandy Frankenstorm
On Oct. 27 at 1907 UTC (3:07 p.m. EDT), NASA’s TRMM satellite saw that rain associated with Hurricane Sandy storm’s center, was moderate (in green and blue) and falling at a rate of 20 to 40 mm per hour. The heaviest rainfall at the time of this image was falling west of the center at more than 2 inches/50 mm per hour (red).


NASA reported on Saturday that Sandy was merging with a cold front and “creating a monster storm with a massive reach.” They believe that Sandy will “bring heavy rainfall and tropical-storm-force sustained winds for a couple of days to the Mid-Atlantic ad northeastern U.S. beginning late Sunday.”

As of Saturday morning, the storm’s circulation was over 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometres). The US Weather Channel cited concern for power outages from Maine to Virginia as a result of the Frankenstorm.


The National Hurricane Center confirmed that Hurricane Sandy was a Category 1 storm on Sunday, drawing “energy from a cold front to become a huge storm covering a large area of the eastern United States.

Hurricane Sandy Frankenstorm
NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite captured this visible image of the massive Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 28 at 1302 UTC (9:02 a.m. EDT). The line of clouds from the Gulf of Mexico north are associated with the cold front that Sandy is merging with. Sandy’s western cloud edge is already over the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States.

The combination of Sandy merging with the northern cold front is expected to bring heavy rainfall and tropical-storm-force sustained winds.

In addition to it’s super-size, Sandy is also giving anything in its path a good soaking. According to NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite the rain associated with Sandy’s center is falling at a rate of 20 to 40 mm per hour (1.57 inches per hour).

Unsurprisingly the National Hurricane Center has issued Flood Watches for the U.S. East coast.

Not only are there watches and warnings in effect from Sunday, including a tropical storm warning in effect from Cape Fear to Duck, N.C., the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, and Bermuda, but the storm is likely to have great impact far inland as well.

Residents anywhere near the East Coast of the United States should check with their local authorities and weather stations for the latest updates. 

Sandy is expected to approach the coast of the mid-Atlantic for a landfall late Monday night.

The National Hurricane Center identified the following areas for storm surges:

  • South of Surf City, N.C., 1 to 3 feet
  • north of Surf City, N.C. including Pamlico/Albemarle Sounds, 4 to 6 feet
  • Southeastern Virginia and the DelMarVa (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia) peninsula including the lower Chesapeake Bay, 2 to 4 feet
  • Upper and middle Chesapeake Bay, 1 to 2 feet
  • Long Island Sound and Raritan Bay, including New York Harbor, 6 to 11 feet
  • Elsewhere from Ocean City, Md., to the Conn./R.I. border, 4 to 8 feet
  • Conn./R.I. border to the south shore of Cape Cod including Buzzards Bay, 3 to 5 feet

NASA spoke to Dr. Marshall Shepherd, University of Georgia Professor and Research Meteorologist has worked with TRMM satellite data since its launch in 1997 and asked him to provide his own take on the storm.

“Models are coming into consensus on a landfall, if you will, in the DelMarVa area. Comparisons are being made to the Perfect Storm of 1991, but many folks won’t remember that. Storm will bring very strong winds (hurricane force) over a strong area. Remember the Derecho of June 29, 2012. Expand that to the entire Delaware/Maryland/Virginia and New York/New Jersey region.”

Shepherd said that the event will bring significant rains and inland freshwater flooding , that he said was often the deadliest threat from tropical systems. He also cited concerns about the storm surge and coastal flooding as full moon will mean elevated water levels/tides coupled with the storm-induced surge. Finally, he noted, there is likely to be heavy wet snow into the inland and higher elevations of the effected region. “Pay attention to the cone or area of influence rather than a specific track as the storm will affect an area not a point,” he said.

“Advances from NASA satellites, aircraft, and models are essential for ingest into the models, assessing storm locations and intensity, and testing future modeling techniques. It may not be obvious to many, but our warning and prediction capability does have traceability to the NASA program in numerous ways and I have been happy to play some small role as a former NASA scientist and current member of the NASA Precipitation Science Team and Earth Science Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council.”

We at Planetsave and the whole Important Media Network have our thoughts and prayers firmly focused on the US East Coast. 

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