Hurricane Sandy swept through the Bahamas Friday morning and then the outer bands skirted Miami. The storm is not the most powerful, staying in the category 1 range and occasionally going to a 2. What makes this storm the one forecasters are watching closely are a series of weather patterns that are on a collision course to merge and grow.
First is the size. Sandy can be seen clearly from the space station and is estimated to be over 400 miles wide.
Next is its timing. The moon is full on Monday, October 29th and that is when coastal tides are highest. “The current forecast track from the National Hurricane Center brings Sandy in for a landfall in central New Jersey on Tuesday, Oct. 30,” Rob Gutro, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., explained in a statement. “Regardless, it appears that Sandy may be a strong wind event for the U.S. mid-Atlantic and Northeast.” The storm surge along with high tides can cause extensive flooding along the coast.
Then there is another cold front approaching from the Ohio Valley that is expected to collide with the hurricane creating what is called a nor’easter and intensify rapidly, turning rain into snow, sleet and hail. Worries expressed from power companies are that most trees have not dropped their leaves so tree-fall is expected to down power lines and cause power outages.
Last, but not least, the combining of the storms will “stall” over land and the storm can stay over land in the northeast through Friday, not only causing more damage, but also prolonging cleanup efforts.
Some are comparing this storm to what is called the “Perfect Storm” that hit off the coast of New England in 1991. “The Perfect Storm only did $200 million of damage and I’m thinking a billion,” said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private service Weather Underground. “Sandy’s expected landfall along the mid-Atlantic coast is likely to be a billion-dollar disaster.”