Tuesday, October 30, 2012

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The UnSung Heroes Of Sandy

7:15 PM EDT 10/30 (Mid-Atlantic Team) As some begin to assess the damage wreaked by Hurricane Sandy, still others remain in harm's way and are facing a long nights of continued danger. Before continuing with weather forecasting and analysis, the Foot's Forecast team would like to thank and recognize the countless unsung heroes of Sandy across the entire eastern U.S.

While many of us sheltered in place, hundred of thousands of people had to be rescued, evacuated or relocated away from expected impacts of the storm. It is easy to overlook  those silent workers in public safety, but their efforts do not go unnoticed or without gratitude. We convey our deepest appreciation and salute the many first responders, emergency management personnel, police, fire, National Guard, utility and transportation workers who have to work the storm for you, regardless of the weather forecast. 

We know the unsung heroes have lost many hours of sleep and there are many tiring days ahead, but we appreciate all you do for the entire community. We hope many of you can head home to get some rest very soon. For readers, we invite your stories of those who you know put in more than most of us will ever know in this storm.

(CEO Rich Foot & Mid-Atlantic Director Greg Jackson)

Monday, October 29, 2012



A FAILED LESSON IN SCIENCE: Had the New York City government shown they fully understood the dangers of storm surge, evacuations would have started days in advance of Sandy's arrival, once it became clear the Mid-Atlantic faced no escape. Instead, an over-focus on minute changes in storm track lulled politicians into a false sense of security, delaying evacuations and costing lives that could have been saved by heeding the long-planned recommendations of engineers, and better short term weather intelligence. Now we face a potentially long term humanitarian crisis the likes of which we have not seen since Katrina.  



  • Technically speaking, Sandy is no longer a tropical cyclone, because it has transitioned to a more winter-time storm. 
  • However, the impacts will be identical as if it was still a Hurricane, because of the massive size, strong winds, and heavy downpours. 
  • Winds are still gusting to tropical storm force well away from the center. 
WIND-FIELD: Even though the storm is no longer scientifically speaking, a hurricane, you can see based on the graphic below that there is still a large area tropical storm force winds with gust of 40 mph+ along the Atlantic Coast and in New England.

RAINFALL: The storm center came ashore last night in New Jersey, but the rainfall is still going strong, especially in the SW quadrant of the storm. Many places have already seen a month's worth of rain, and more is on the way. Please visit this link for the latest radar image - http://radar.weather.gov/ridge/Conus/northeast.php. Stay safe everyone. 

Working The Storm With You

influence Sandy is having on wind in the Eastern U.S.  

As our team continues with analysis and preparation for the impacts of Hurricane Sandy on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, we want to streamline your access to our latest information on this resource page. Specific information on:

  • Connecting to all our Mid-Atlantic Zones in Facebook
  • Quick access to official NOAA & NHC storm information
  • Direct links to State Emergency Management
  • Safety and preparedness checklists / Twitter links
    NWS Radar: Southeast | Northeast Midwest


    Saturday, October 27, 2012

    "Say It Isn't So..."
    - Hall and Oates (lyrics + YouTube video)

    A generalized overview of Sandy's rainfall potential 
    from the NOAA Hydrometeorological Prediction Center

    8:00 AM EDT 10/27/2012  TEAM STATEMENT  With computer model solutions starting to converge, we can start looking at more specific impacts. As of the latest NHC advisory, Sandy has regained hurricane strength at 75 mph as it moves north-northeast at 10 mph.

    • INITIAL TIMING  – For the coastal Mid-Atlantic, winds will start to increase through the day on Sunday as Sandy’s extreme outer influences arrives. Rainfall rates should become heavier Sunday night through the day on Monday from the VA, MD and DE coast and into NJ. Inland winds and rain will significantly increase by late Monday into Tuesday, when the greatest impacts are expected for the entire Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.  
    • TRACK & LANDFALL – Initially, Sandy is expected to be picked up by the westerlies and start a little NE. However, the blocking high in the north Atlantic will force Sandy to swing left back towards land. As far as landfall projections, we believe that the storm center will make landfall between the Delaware Bay and Long Island. With this storm though, the exact location of landfall is not as important because of the enormous size of the storm. 

    • WINDS – Because of how this storm is expected to interact with the trough and the windflow out of the NW, the winds in the southwest quadrant of the storm may actually be amplified. As a result, we believe sustained winds reaching tropical storm force (>39 mph) is possible by Monday afternoon for much of the Richmond to Washington and Baltimore metro areas, as shown in the graphic, with gusts possibly nearing or surpassing 50 mph well into Tuesday.

    • RAINFALL – With the slow movement and long duration of the storm, Sandy may be able to dump quite a bit of rain across the Mid-Atlantic. The best estimates now drop 6-12” of rainfall region-wide before the storm is completely finished. This may make for some significant flooding concerns in low lying areas, streams, and eventually the larger rivers. 

    • STORM SURGE – This is still the most uncertain area. Storm surge is often very difficult to predict, but our best estimate now is a surge of 2-3 feet on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay because of the full moon and the astronomical high tide, with surge estimates of 6 feet + for the Atlantic coastal areas. 

    • TEMPERATURES – With the strong rush of cold air on the back side of this system, temperatures are expected to plummet. Sunday’s highs look to be around the upper 50s to 60º. Monday’s temperatures may not get out of the 50s, and on Tuesday, we could struggle to hit 50º. 

    Friday, October 26, 2012

    "Is This Going To Hit Us?"
    - The President, from the 1998 film Armageddon

    to interact with the upper level trough and eastward moving cold front

    Rainfall Projections | Forecast Track | Model Projections

    6:30 AM EDT 10/27/2012  TEAM STATEMENT  With computer model solutions starting to converge, we can start looking at more specific impacts. As of 5:00 AM EDT, Sandy is just below hurricane strength at 70 mph as it moves north-northeast at 10 mph. 
    • TIMING – For the coastal Mid-Atlantic, rainfall chances will start to increase through the day on Sunday as Sandy’s extreme outer influence arrives. Rainfall rates may become heavier Sunday night through the day on Monday and into Monday night. Winds are expected to start getting breezy late on Sunday, but read ahead for the details on the winds. 

    Thursday, October 25, 2012


    "She's Got The Look."
    - Roxette in the 1988 single (YouTube video)


    9:50 AM EDT 10/26  MID-ATLANTIC TEAM STATEMENT: The 8 AM NHC advisory showed that Sandy decelerated further overnight. Sandy is now tracking NW at just 10 mph.

    • The storm's slower forward motion is increasing the likelihood that it will be captured farther south on the Mid-Atlantic Coast.
    • The US Global Forecast System ensemble members must continue to be accounted for in the forecast, despite other models showing more extreme solutions.
    • Sandy could still make landfall somewhere from the VA Capes to northern NJ
    • Our projection is that the Delmarva to southern NJ offers the highest probability at this time.

    7:15 AM EDT 10/26  The singer Roxette would agree that "She's Got The Look" seeing this this twitpic from NASA sent by Meteorologist Bob Ryan last night. If your frappuchino has not woken you up yet, then take a look at the 5:00 AM update by the National Hurricane Center. That'll froth your java, it sure did for us. 

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

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    A Stormy Pattern Ahead?
    Increasing likelihood of coastal and inland impacts to the 
    Mid-Atlantic and Northeast from a significant storm next week

    Several model projections have been showing a mean-looking 

    6:00 AM EDT 10/25 (Mid-Atlantic Team) You know the saying, "When it rains, it pours." In the weather forecasting business, we prefer to say, "When it rains, it's a monsoon." Even though Hurricane Sandy may over a thousand miles away, changes in the large scale atmospheric pattern are already beginning to take shape. The indicators our Long Range Team and meteorologists are watching suggest the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast may be increasingly facing very stormy weather in the 5-10 day period ahead. 

    WHAT ARE THE SCENARIOS? For the Mid-Atlantic, we have outlined two possible outcomes for the period Sunday into Monday of next week. There are still many factors at play which could keep either scenario from being realized. If you need an alternate look on what NOAA meteorologists are saying about this at the federal level, just glance at the first line of this link. For additional detailed analysis of our confidence interval and other specifics, please visit our STORM section.  

    Updated storm analysis from our Long Range Team

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    A Stormy Pattern Ahead?
    Increasing likelihood of coastal and inland impacts to the 
    Mid-Atlantic and Northeast from a significant storm next week

    Several model projections have been showing a mean-looking 
    post-Tropical system getting too close for comfort by Sunday

    8:00 PM EDT 10/24 (Mid-Atlantic Team) You know the saying, "When it rains, it pours." In the weather forecasting business, we prefer to say, "When it rains, it's a monsoon." Even though Hurricane Sandy may over a thousand miles away, changes in the large scale atmospheric pattern are already beginning to take shape. The indicators our Long Range Team and meteorologists are watching suggest the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast may be increasingly facing very stormy weather in the 5-10 day period ahead. 

    THE SHORT VERSION: What are the scenarios in consideration? For the Mid-Atlantic, here's what we are projecting as possible outcomes for the period Sunday into Tuesday of next week. There are still many factors at play which could keep either scenario from being realized. If you need an alternate look on what NOAA meteorologists are saying about this at the federal level, just glance at the first line of this link. 
    • Scenario A : Stormy along the coast, windy & rainy inland. Some remnants of Hurricane Sandy interact with an approaching upper level trough, pulling the energy toward the coast. Cold air working in from the trough, combined with tropical moisture, fuels the rapid development of a large coastal Low. Some beach erosion and tidal flooding would occur, but limited to the Atlantic coast.
    • Scenario B : Significant impacts both inland and along the coast. A considerable amount of tropical energy from the remnants of Sandy are incorporated into a developing Low projected to deepen along the Carolina coast by Saturday. As this Low gets pulled into the upper level trough, it explosively develops into a very large and extremely strong hurricane-like system. Winds of tropical storm to near hurricane force would impact a large area of the Eastern seaboard from southern New England to the Mid-Atlantic, including the I-95 corridor. 
    WHAT IS OUR CONFIDENCE ON THIS? An assessment of the large scale atmospheric pattern in motion right now points to three major factors that are affecting this forecast. An overview of our confidence on how these factors will play out:
    • The North Atlantic Oscillation: A large scale measure of air mass movement in the North Atlantic. When the NAO is negative (as it is currently), the effect of colder air pushing south from Canada can block a storm's "escape route" up the coast. Our confidence the NAO will remain negative? HIGH
    • The Upper Level Trough: Currently in the upper Midwest, this is expected to move toward the Mid-Atlantic and remain "negatively tilted" or angled from southeast to northwest. This is one of the most important factors that will affect the intensity of the storm, if it develops. Our confidence the trough will be involved? HIGH
    • The Path of Hurricane Sandy: We expect Sandy to move into the western Atlantic as projected by models and the NHC. However, in advance of that, energy and moisture from a large plume of "outflow" ahead of the hurricane may begin to interact with the approaching cold front and eventually the upper level trough. The more that interaction occurs, the more likely Scenario B will verify.  Our confidence in energy from Sandy being incorporated into the trough: MEDIUM
    NEXT STEPS? Our Mid-Atlantic Leadership Team in consult with our Tropical Team, will be holding a full collaboration this evening. Expect a late evening update on this page by 11:00 PM or sooner. (CEO Rich Foot & Mid-Atlantic Director Greg Jackson) 

    Earlier analyses on this storm below. 

    1 comment:
    Who Remembers Hazel? 
    Comparisons between the October 1954 major hurricane 
    and current observations about Hurricane Sandy 

    3:50 PM EDT 10/24/12 (Forecaster Mike & The Long Range Team) On October 15, 1954 one of the most powerful October hurricanes in history slammed into the Carolinas, charged through the Chesapeake Bay with winds of 90 mph and by the time it crossed Pennsylvania into Canada, was still the equivalent of a Category 1 Hurricane. This was Hurricane Hazel, and over 50 years later it is still a benchmark against which late season tropical systems are compared. 

    Believe it or not, some strong similarities exist between the historical setup of Hazel in the days prior to its landfall, and the current atmospheric pattern before us with Tropical Storm Sandy. Our team has conducted a detailed analysis of this comparison, as featured below. 

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    Heading Beyond Halloween

    An examination by our Long Range Team on how some computer model forecasts fared with the current pattern, and organizing ideas on how the upper level pattern may change heading into November.

    10:00 AM 10/24/12 (Long Range Forecast Coordinator Nic Roberson) "Snow on the pumpkin?" No my friends, if you're in the Mid-Atlantic, this is not a weather version of Jim Carrey's line Dumb & Dumber ("so you're saying there's chance ??"). While snow is possible for some areas in aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we are focusing more on the long range pattern heading toward Halloween, and into November, as outlined below.

    THE BIG PICTURE FOR NORTH AMERICA. We'll start off with the U.S. Global Forecast System model (the GFS) Ensemble mean 2 meter surface temps (or what we would feel in terms of warmth or chill), for the period Oct 25 - November 1.

    • The GFS (US model) ensembles showed more warmth (compared to normal this time of year) over much of the eastern US (excluding the upper Mid West) 
    • This is due to ridging building over the central US. With the ridging over Alaska that would imply more surface Highs which in time will bring much colder temps into the North tier of the US which is what we see in the GFS ensembles (first image below) 

    HOW WELL WAS THE WARM UP FORECASTED? If we compare earlier projections from the European model against the GFS, we can see what the 850 millibar or 5000 foot level temps were forecasted to be for the current time period as shown below.

    • This supports what the GFS projected, and as such the warmup into the second half of October has verified fairly well for many in the east. The Canadian model is a bit warmer than both the GFS and EC in this time frame. 
    • It comes as no surprise that "Indian summer" like weather has arrived with temps in the central and Southern US with many highs around 80 and even 90s possible in parts of TX. 
    LOOKING BEYOND HALLOWEEN Further down the road to the last day of October into the first week of November, we can easily see a major pattern change taking shape. 

    In the wake of a possible coastal storm, both the GFS and the US Climate Forecast System (CFS) show that that markedly cooler air may settle in across much of the U.S. This is reflected i the current Climate Prediction Center's 6-10 day temperature outlook:

    This model (CFS) has done pretty well in the longer range and with ridging starting to show up around Alaska later in the time frame, it's only a matter of time before much colder air moves into the US - setting the stage for our winter pattern.

    But that is another story we'll have to save for a different day!

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

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    Sandy Heading For The Beaches

    11:15 AM EDT 10/23/12 (Forecaster Jason M.) Even though we are in late October, the tropics are fairly active once again. We have Tropical Storm Sandy and Tropical Depression 19. TD 19 is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and will remain
     far out to sea. 

    Tropical Storm Sandy is of much greater concern. Maximum sustained winds are at 50 mph and the storm is moving north-northeast at 5 mph. 
    • Sandy is expected to move over or very near to Jamaica on Wednesday, and it could be near hurricane strength by that time. 
    • Thereafter, the storm could impact Cuba and the Bahamas. 
    • It is too early to tell whether or not this will have significant impacts to the U.S. However, at the very least there will be increased swells and an enhanced rip current threat for the Atlantic beaches by the weekend. 

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

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    An Authentic TEAM

    At Foot's Forecast, we don't just predict weather, we live it with you. To better deliver the locally-produced weather forecasts you've come to rely on, we're working to build a strong foundation of resources. We invite you join the effort and support our "Authentic Weather" campaign. In exchange for a small donation, we offer a team shirt, custom long-sleever or hoodie: (donation levels include tax, shipping and artwork options)

    • $10 for a youth-sized shirt or $20 for adult sizes (sizes up to 6 XL available).
    • $25 for a long-sleever with specialized FF artwork on the sleeve or shoulder (you'll get to select from several designs).
    • $40 for a hoodie with color and seasonal options, such as our "Powderhound Purple" for the snow sports community.
    • Special pricing for multi-item orders or a custom set for your organization.

    Simple Steps To Your Order. To gauge quantity and interest, and to get your request in before the holidays, here's how it works:
    • First, send an email to orders@footsforecast.org with: a) Your first & last name; b) The city to where your order will be shippedand; c) A general idea of items and quantity you would like. We also welcome any questions you have.
    • Second, you'll receive a quick "auto-message" with instructions on the order process and our guarantee your email, order info and credit card will never, ever be sold, redistributed or published to a third party. 
    • Third,  you can checking the status of the "Authentic Weather" campaign at this page. When printing fires up, we'll share pics of our progress!
    Forecaster Joey, 2nd from right, is a custom printer extraordinaire with Just Extreme Graphics.
    Shown here with lady forecasters at the April 2012 USA Science & Engineering Festival.
    A Business Takes The Right Step.  Whether you're a long-time "Foots" follower or have just learned about us, you'll benefit from a special partnership we have with Baltimore screen-printer Just Extreme Art. Locally-owned and operated, Just Extreme has teamed up with Foot's Forecast to produce an inspiring and innovative new line of team apparel.  

    Passion For Team Progress. our readers have been there with us through every storm and the recovery. Even when weather takes a break, we keep moving forward for you. Here's a short list of objectives in progress during 2012:
    • Developing a new, innovative, and easy-access website;
    • Organizing our content for distribution to a Smartphone app with alerts;
    • Expanding education outreach to continue building the team, AND now...
    • Authentic, locally-produced "team apparel" for our fans!
       We look forward to seeing you in the "Epic Blue." 
      Thanks for your strong support of our team. 

      *Seal of An Authentic Weather Forecaster
      Featured below is Forecaster Ross Harris 
      of our Cape Fear & Carolina Coast Zone
      high atop Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina

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      Welcoming The Bel Air Music Fest!

      7:00 AM 10/18 (Maryland Team) This Sunday in Harford County, MD under what looks to be yet another "golden October sky," our partners at The Bel Air Downtown Alliance will unveil the 1st Annual Downtown Bel Air Music Festival, (on Twitter) presented by Katzen Eye Group. This AWESOME forecast map from NOAA showcases for Maryland the ONE "weather letter" we know Bel Air loves the most: A BIG BLUE "H" !! That means sunshine, blue sky, light winds and great times to come out Sunday for the Music Fest!

      The Music Fest, to be held Sunday, October 21st, 12pm-6pm at Rockfield Manor will feature eight LOCAL and regional bands/artists performing ORIGINAL music.  Headlining the performances will be Fiction 20 Down and Jimi Haha from Jimmie’s Chicken Shack.  The Music Fest is a collaboration between the Bel Air Downtown Alliance and Fiction 20 Down’s lead singer, Jordan Lally.

      PROMOTING LOCAL BUSINESS. When asked about the event's importance to Bel Air and Harford County, Executive Director Scott Walker said, "it's our mission is to create a vibrant business community and visitor friendly destination in Downtown Bel Air.  Our efforts to promote Bel Air focus on promoting local businesses and local events."  

      FAMILY-FRIENDLY & AFFORDABLE. Director Walker also said, "We have also been working very closely with the local community to draw more attention to the arts, so this is the perfect opportunity to do just that.”  What better way to involve the community and the arts with children-friendly activities, including hay rides, face painting, and local artists from the Harford Artists Gallery with children 12 and under are FREE.  

      TICKET INFO. Tickets are $10.00 when purchased before the Music Fest and $15.00 at the door, and can be purchased ONLINE at this link. Tickets are also available at Looney’s Pub, located at 312 S. Main Street in Bel Air, MD, and the Bel Air Downtown Alliance’s First Fridays on October 5th, located at the corner of Office and Main Streets in Downtown Bel Air.  Tickets will be also available at the gate on the day of the event.  Must provide photo ID to claim your tickets.

      Monday, October 15, 2012

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      Celebrating NOAA's New Center

      10:00 AM EDT 10/15/12 (Forecaster Mike & Mr. Foot) The U.S. Team of Foot's Forecast congratulates all our colleagues at the National Weather Service in reaching this long-sought milestone: The ribbon-cutting of the new NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction. We believe this exciting and innovative new facility will maximize the efficient use of many collaborative resources throughout the NOAA community in fulfillment of the NWS m
      ission to save lives and protect property.

      Those of you who are Terp fans will be especially proud to know the new center is right here in central Maryland on the University of Maryland's College Park campus! 

      Our team looks forward to continuing the strong and productive relationships we have developed with many across NOAA in the years to come. 

      Photo credits: (Above) The Maryland Team; (Below) NOAA NCEP

      Friday, October 12, 2012

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      "But Your Kids Are Gonna Love It."
      - Marty McFly in Robert Zemeckis' 1985 film Back To The Future


      9:15 AM EDT 10/12/12 (Forecaster Jason Isaacs - Atlanta, GA) In Back To The Future, Part 1, Marty McFly's closing stage act during the high school dance not only alters history, but shows the shocked audience a glimpse into the future of their music. (3:27 min YouTube clip). 

      For those looking to get a glimpse into the future of snow this winter, you might not be ready to find out that one of the biggest indicators doesn't even have any UNITS. It's just a few little numbers that make a big different in the outcome of a winter storm. 

      We're talking about the little-known climate indicator called the "North Atlantic Oscillation" or affectionately known in weather circles as "the NAO."

      Recent cold snaps throughout the Mid West and East have been prompting the same question over and over again from my students in the Gwinnett County Schools of north Georgia: 

      "It is going to SNOW AT ALL this winter?” 

      Wednesday, October 10, 2012

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      “Do You Think He’s Coming Back?” 
      – From The Dark Knight Rises 

      2:10 PM EDT 10/10 (Forecaster Mike Natoli - College Park, Maryland) When a schoolboy asked this key question of patrol officer John Blake in The Dark Knight Rises, it captured the essence of a foremost question on the minds of many in the audience. 

      Are you searching for a sign of what lies ahead this winter? Wondering if there are any clues that might support or reject the forecasts for big snowstorms in some parts of the country this upcoming season? If you're a Powderhound, in public safety, or just want to know what's really going on with the winter forecast, the answers to our uncertainty may rest with the "He" of our movie analogy. 

      In our take-off analogy of the Batman story, "You" are the curious schoolboy, our Long Range Forecasters play the role of Officer Blake, and the "He" is simply El Nino. This the world-reknowned Spanish term for the Christ child, so applied to climatology due to the tendency of this sea-surface temperature driven oceanic influence to peak around the Christmas holiday season off the coast of Peru.  An El Nino condition in this region is characterized by warmer than normal temperatures across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. 

      The top map shows the Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies on 10/07/2002, heading for the eventual moderate  El Nino of the 2002-03 winter. Compare to the bottom map, which shows the current state of a virtually non-existent El Nino as of 10/08/2012. Image Credit - NOAA