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Hurricane Sandy October 26, 2012

Posted by mikeheard in Uncategorized.
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Hurricane Sandy storm path is highly unusual for late October. The National Hurricane Center is projecting the hurricane to swing away from Florida and the SE coast and curve westward back toward the east coast of the United States sometime Monday evening or Tuesday morning.

Typically hurricanes will curve to the right in the northern hemisphere the farther they travel northward due to the Coriolis force (spinning of the earth). However, the atmosphere in the eastern U.S. and in the Atlantic ocean is experiencing a traffic jam at the moment.A large high pressure ridge off the eastern Canadian coast line (air flowImage around a ridge is clockwise) and a cut off Low (air flow around a Low is counter-clockwise) near the east coast of the U.S. is pushing Hurricane Sandy to the west. Another factor is  the polar jet stream, a digging trough into the Great Lakes that will eventually move eastward in a few days and will help pull the hurricane into the trough or to the west,  these are the primary reason for Hurricane Sandy’s projected storm path.

The National Weather Service office in Great Falls Montana is one of 2 sites that launch weather balloons every 12 hours. These balloons rise up through the atmosphere recording and transmitting data such as temperature, humidity, wind speed etc as it climbs and drifts with the steering winds aloft. This data is then ingested into the various weather computer forecast models which in turn helps us predict thImagee weather. Due to this unusual storm path of Hurricane Sandy the Great Falls NWS is launching weather balloons every 6 hours through the weekend because we are well up stream of this event and forecasters want as much data as they can get to predict how the jet stream will develop and other atmospheric weather conditions before Sandy’s makes landfall on the east coast. Weather conditions over Montana today will eventually move eastward or downstream into the eastern U.S. by this weekend so it is important to gather as much data as possible so the National Hurricane Center meteorologist can help save lives and property before the storms arrival.

Forecast models right now are predicting a heavy rainfall event along the east coast from North Carolina on up to New Jersey and inland as far west as Ohio and Pennsylvania. QPF (Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts) are estimating 6” to 12”+ of rainfall in these areas.

It will be interesting to watch this hurricane out in the Atlantic Ocean and see how it strengthens or weakens over the next 2 to 3 days and where it will make landfall. This could be a devastating hurricane by Tuesday.Image

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