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. 

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    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. 

    Friday, October 19, 2012

    Central Maryland Plus

    Maryland Plus

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    Central Maryland   

    8:15 AM 7/21 – Lighting up the night! Who else saw some epic lightning last night? From my location in Bel Air, I was able to get a few shots looking south to some impressive storm cells. If you have any pictures of the lightning in your area please feel free to share them with us!
    As always, when taking pictures of storms, be sure that you are in a safe place from the lightning and the storm before you start.

    TODAY – Instead of pushing through, the cold front has yet again stalled north of us which will keep an unsettled pattern in place. Today will be partly sunny, but some scattered thunderstorms are possible mainly later in the day. Today will finally be cooler, but still highs will hit the upper 80s (not much of a relief), and humidity will remain just as high as it has been. 
    TONIGHT – Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy through the overnight with some scattered thunderstorms still possible. It’ll be mild and muggy once again with lows in the lower 70s.

    MONDAY – To start off the new work week, we will see mostly cloudy skies with some partial sunshine possible. It’ll be warm and humid with highs in the mid to upper 80s. Again there is the possibility for some scattered showers and thunderstorms.

    TUESDAY – Tuesday will be quite similar to Monday with highs in the mid to upper 80s, under mostly cloudy to partly sunny skies. Scattered thunderstorms are possible once again.

    LOOKING AHEAD – The oppressive heat is gone, but now we are right back into the stormy pattern. The theme of the week is for scattered thunderstorms, humid conditions, and highs in the mid to upper 80s. Stay tuned and have a wonderful day!

    Weather Statements
    MONDAY: Scattered showers and thunderstorms, perhaps 0.25". Clouds, high upper 80s. E wind, 7.
    TONIGHT: Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Clouds, lows mid-70s. Wing light and variable.
    Sunset  at 126th Street bayside in Ocean City, MD.

    Photo: Sunset yesterday (03/20/13) from the OC Abbey Burger Bistro at 126th Street bayside in Ocean City, MD.

    Weather Statements- Wakefield (Maryland Shore)

    The NWS has reissued the HEAT ADVISORY for the region with the exception of Montgomery County from noon through 7PM Saturday. High temperatures will top out in the lower 90s with heat index values around 105°. A cold front will be on the move towards the area, and this will give us a shot at showers and thunderstorms late in the afternoon into the evening. The front will stall near the region early next week, and that could prolong the chance for wet weather.

    Have a great weekend and stay cool!

    (Forecaster Jason)

    Weather Statements

    SATURDAY: Mostly sunny. Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs: mid-90s. SW winds 10-15mph.

    SATURDAY EVE: Mostly cloudy. Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows: mid-70s. SW winds 5-10mph.

    We could see additional showers and thunderstorms as we head into Sunday, so be sure to stay tuned. 

    (Forecaster Nikki)

    Saturday and Sunday will bring changes to the area. Finally, a break in this heat. A cool front will drop into the area on Saturday causing a good chance of afternoon and evening storms across the area. The cool front will drop to the South and East of the area by Sunday. There will still be a chance of showers and storms due to the close proximity of the front but the temperatures will cool down on Sunday. Highs on Saturday will be in the low 90s with highs on Sunday in the mid 80s. Lows on Saturday Night will be in the upper 60s.


    0915, 20 July

    TODAY:  Scattered showers and thunderstorms.  Sun, high, mid-90s.  

    TONIGHT:  Scattered thunderstorms early, perhaps 0.25".  Clouds, low in the low 70s.  

    SUNDAY:  Showers and thunderstorms in the PM, perhaps 0.25". Clouds, high upper 80s.  
    Advisor Brad