Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy strengthened and quickly bore down on the New Jersey-Delaware border, packing 90-mile-an-hour winds, unleashing life-threatening storm surges, and knocking out power for one million people.
Ocean City, on Maryland's easternmost Atlantic coast, was already being lashed by a combination of wind, rain and "very heavy surf", with the resort town's pier sustaining heavy damage. The mandatory evacuation of downtown Ocean City has been completed and "there are few if any residents left in the town".
Twenty-three emergency shelters have opened around Maryland for those most in need, but others should "hunker down" and remain indoors with their families until the "monster storm" passes. "There will undoubtedly be some deaths that are caused by the intensity of the storm, by the floods, by the tidal surge and by the waves. The more responsibly citizens act, the fewer people will die."
The governorsays fatalities are inevitable as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the Mid-Atlantic state with all its force. "Hurricane Sandy is going to come over Maryland, she's going to sit on top of Maryland and beat down on Maryland for a good 24 to 36 hours. This is going to be a long haul," he said. "The days ahead are going to be difficult. There will be people who die and are killed in this storm." He warned of "very high winds", lengthy power outages and severe flooding in the countless rivers and streams that feed into the Chesapeake Bay. He urged motorists to stay off the roads until Tuesday night.

HMS Bounty sinks off North Carolina - 14 rescued, two missing. Helicopters have plucked 14 crew members of a replica three-mast tall ship, the HMS Bounty, in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, but two others are missing. Three people fell overboard, but only one made it to a life raft. (photo)
The crew donned cold water survival suits and life jackets before launching in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies after getting caught up in stormy seas 144 kilometres southeast of Hatteras, North Carolina. The owner of the vessel, which was built for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando and was also featured in Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp, said he lost contact with the crew late Sunday. Weather at the scene consisted of 65km/h winds and five-metre waves.

Boat missing in Caribbean waters hit by Hurricane Sandy - As many as seven people have disappeared. French officials say at least six of them are French citizens. The Dominica Coast Guard is searching for those aboard a rigid-hulled inflatable boat that left the country on Sunday en route to Martinique on a trip that should take no more than two hours.
Dominican authorities were searching the island's harbours to see if the vessel is anchored to await better conditions. Authorities from French Martinique are conducting an aerial search. Sandy, which killed at least 66 people in the Caribbean, was far to the north, near the US coast, on Sunday, but was still kicking up waves around the island. "We have a lot of groundswells and a little wind but nothing so great it would affect normal sailing."

New York - Two of the three Manhattan road tunnels are to close because of the risk of floods from Hurricane Sandy.
A crane in New York has partially collapsed and is dangling over a city street.
Links for following the storm on the web


'Frankenstorm' - How an UNPRECEDENTED WEATHER EVENT came to be. The storm that is threatening 60 million Americans in the eastern third of the nation with high winds, drenching rains, extreme tides, flooding and probably snow is much more than just an ordinary weather system. It's a freakish and and unprecedented monster. How did it get that way?
Start with Sandy, an ordinary late summer hurricane from the tropics, moving north up the East Coast. Bring in a high pressure ridge of air centered around Greenland that blocks the hurricane's normal out-to-sea path and steers it west toward land. Add a wintry cold front moving in from the west that helps pull Sandy inland and mix in a blast of Arctic air from the north for one big collision. Add a full moon and its usual effect, driving high tides. Factor in immense waves commonly thrashed up by a huge hurricane plus massive gale-force winds. Do all that and you get a stitched-together weather monster expected to unleash its power over 800 miles, with predictions in some areas of 12 inches of rain, 2 feet of snow and sustained 40- to 50 mph winds.
"The total is greater than the sum of the individual parts. That is exactly what's going on here." This storm is so dangerous and so unusual because it is coming at the tail end of hurricane season and beginning of winter storm season, "so it's kind of taking something from both — part hurricane, part nor'easter, all trouble." With Sandy expected to lose tropical characteristics, NOAA is putting up high wind watches and warnings that aren't hurricane or tropical for coastal areas north of North Carolina, causing some television meteorologists to complain that it is all too confusing. Nor is it merely a coastal issue anyway. "This is not a coastal threat alone. This is a very large area. This is going to be well inland."
"This storm as it grows and moves back to the coast on Monday and Tuesday, the circulation of this storm will extend all the way from the Midwest, the Ohio Valley, toward the Carolinas up into New England and southern Canada. It's really going to be an expansive storm system." It's a topsy-turvy storm, too. The far northern areas of the East, around Maine, should get much warmer weather as the storm hits, practically shirt-sleeve weather for early November. Around the Mason-Dixon line, look for much cooler temperatures. West Virginia and even as far south as North Carolina could see snow. Maybe 30 inches.
The location among those with the highest odds for gale-force winds insthe country's most populous place: New York City. New York has nearly a 2-in-3 chance of gale force winds by Tuesday afternoon. One of the major components in the ferocity of the storm is that it is swinging inland — anywhere from Delaware to New York, but most likely southern New Jersey — almost a due west turn, which is UNUSUAL. So the worst of the storm surge could be north, not south, of landfall. And that gets right to New York City and its vulnerable subways, which are under increasing risk of flooding. "There is a potential for a huge mess in New York if this storm surge forecast is right."
Add to that the hundreds of miles of waves and the overall intensity of this storm and "we are in the middle of a very serious situation." Forecasters are far more worried about inland flooding from storm surge than they are about winds. Because of the mix with the winter storm, the wind won't be as intense as it is near the center of a hurricane. But it will reach for hundreds of miles, spreading the energy further, albeit weaker.
They expect the central pressure of the storm to drop to a NEAR RECORD LOW for the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast FOR ANY TIME OF YEAR. That is a big indication of energy and helps power the wind. This puts it on par with the 1938 storm that hit Long Island and New England, killing 800 people - the equivalent of a category 4 hurricane.

**Many of life’s failures are experienced
by people who did not realize
how close they were to success when they gave up.**
Thomas Edison

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
10/28/12 -

Canada - A 6.0-magnitude aftershock struck off the coast of British Columbia's Haida Gwaii islands Sunday morning - less than 24 hours after the 7.7 quake, CANADA'S STRONGEST EARTHQUAKE IN MORE THAN 60 YEARS, hit the same area.

Tsunami reaches Hawaii after 7.7 earthquake strikes western Canada. After barreling across the Pacific Ocean for hours, a tsunami spawned by the earthquake in Canada struck the Hawaiian islands. Waves between 3 and 7 feet were expected to lash the islands. But the largest wave was only about 2.5 feet above ambient sea level.
The tsunami warning for Hawaii proved nothing more than a pre-Halloween scare for thousands of people this weekend. "The tourists are doing their best Chicken Little impressions," one reporter in West Maui, Hawaii, wrote early Sunday. Sirens announced the tsunami warning across Hawaii on Saturday night, as thousands of revelers packed streets in Honolulu for the annual Hallowbaloo festival and many others in costumes headed to Halloween parties. Restaurants, clubs and the festival immediately shut down and the parties turned into bumper-to-bumper traffic jams as residents headed to higher ground.
Visions of the devastating quake and tsunami that killed thousands in Japan in March 2011 fueled the fright, but the waves proved to be smaller and less powerful than feared. While the warning said waves could surge between 3 and 6 feet, the largest wave, measured in Kahului on the island of Maui, was about 2.5 feet. The evacuation orders for coastal residents and the tsunami warning were canceled by 1 a.m. in Hawaii (7 a.m. ET) and a tsunami advisory was put in its place. That advisory was lifted three hours later.
About 80,000 people live in evacuation zones on the island of Oahu, where Honolulu is located. Even Hawaiians accustomed to tsunami warnings spared no effort in bracing for the worst. "A (magnitude) 7.7 is a big, hefty earthquake -- not something you can ignore. It definitely would have done some damage if it had been under a city." Instead, the quake struck about 139 kilometers (86 miles) south of Masset on British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands. No major damage was reported. Canadians as far away as Prince Rupert, on mainland British Columbia, felt the quake.

In the Atlantic -
- Hurricane Sandy was located about 470 mi [760 km] SSE of New York City. [Barely moved in prior 24 hours.] Minimum central pressure is 950 mb. Hurricane-force winds are expected along portions of the coast between Virginia and Massachusetts. This includes Delaware, New Jersey, the New York City area, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
On the forecast track, the center of Sandy will move over the coast of the mid-Atlantic states late Monday or Monday night. Sandy is expected to transition into a frontal or wintertime low pressure system prior to landfall. However, this transition will not be accompanied by a weakening of the system and in fact, a little strengthening is possible during this process. Sandy is expected to weaken after moving inland. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 175 miles [280 km] mainly to the southwest of the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 520 miles [835 km].
Given the large wind field associated with Sandy, elevated water levels could span multiple tide cycles resulting in repeated and extended periods of coastal and Bayside flooding. In addition, elevated waters could occur far removed from the center of Sandy. Furthermore, these conditions will occur regardless of whether Sandy is a tropical or Post-tropical cyclone.

In the Western Pacific -
- Tropical storm Son-Tinh was located approximately 60 nm east-northeast of Hanoi, Vietnam.

Tropical Cyclone Sandy transitions into terrifying super-storm heading for New Jersey coastline. Tropical Cyclone Sandy, which has transitioned into a terrifying unpredictable crossbreed; a kind of super-storm. Sandy is being energized not only by warm ocean water that fuels tropical cyclones, it is also intensifying and becoming more massive due to difference in air masses between cooler and drier air to the north and west and the very moist air mass to the south and east.
And if that is not enough to cause panic, atmospheric energy from the jet stream that is steering Sandy is helping to intensify this monster storm. By the way, that’s exactly what jet streams do. You see, jet streams steer cyclonic storm systems at lower levels in the atmosphere, and so knowledge of their course has become an important part of weather forecasting. These conditions mean that Sandy is a well-constructed storm built for maximum damage.
The strongest winds may be far away from the center which is very different from a regular hurricane whose strongest winds are right around the eye-wall. The other incredible thing about this storm is the fact that all computer models have the storm making a left turn bringing it into the New Jersey coastline.
Power outages will be massive along with some structural damage due to the strong winds. Coastal flooding, beach erosion, and flooding rains will be huge problems from the North Carolina coast up through New England. Inland areas are going to experience damaging high winds and flooding. The latest update has the pressure dropping to 951 millibars, which is an incredible barometric pressure.
It should now be clear, that we’re dealing with a very different kind of storm with tendencies that make it somewhat unpredictable. In reality, it’s not merely a tropical storm or hurricane. Don’t get fixated on a particular track. Wherever it hits, the mammoth storm slowly moving up the East Coast will afflict a third of the country with sheets of rain, high winds and heavy snow, say officials who warned millions in coastal areas to get out of the way.
As Hurricane Sandy trekked north from the Caribbean — where it left nearly five dozen dead — to meet two other powerful winter storms, experts said it didn’t matter how strong the storm was when it hit land: The RARE crossbreed storm that follows will cause havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. Governors from North Carolina, where steady rains were whipped by gusting winds Saturday night, to Connecticut declared states of emergency. “Don’t be rash. Because if this does hit, you’re going to lose all those little things you’ve spent the last 20 years feeling good about.”
The storm is expected to approach the coast of the mid-Atlantic states by tonight, before reaching southern New England later in the week. It was so big, however, and the convergence of the three storms so rare, that “we just can’t pinpoint who is going to get the worst of it,” said the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Officials are particularly worried about the possibility of subway flooding in New York City. The city closed the subways before Hurricane Irene last year, and a study predicted that an Irene surge just 1 foot higher would have paralyzed lower Manhattan.
On Saturday evening, Amtrak began canceling train service to parts of the East Coast, including between Washington, D.C., and New York. Airlines started moving planes out of airports to avoid damage and adding Sunday flights out of New York and Washington in preparation for flight cancellations today. Utility officials warned rains could saturate the ground, causing trees to topple into power lines, and told residents to prepare for several days at home without power.
In New Jersey, hundreds of coastal residents started moving inland. There was a forced shutdown of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos for only the fourth time in the 34-year history of legalized gambling here. City officials said they would begin evacuating the gambling hub’s 30,000 residents at noon Sunday, busing them to mainland shelters and schools.
Hurricane Sandy is now the LARGEST TROPICAL CYCLONE ON RECORD in the Atlantic at 520 nautical miles.
Sandy is expected to be unlike most hurricanes, and some on Twitter and Facebook have been critical of the National Hurricane Center for not issuing hurricane watches and warnings north of the North Carolina-Virginia border. Temperature is the difference, according to the hurricane center.
Sandy is forecast to move to a position approximately 225 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C., by 2 a.m. Monday. With the storm about 2,000 miles wide, Connecticut will already be feeling its force at that point. "Sandy is then forecast to intensify and grow in size as the storm interacts with an approaching winter type storm system." Sandy is forecast to move northwest to a position near the southern coast of New Jersey by 2 a.m. Tuesday.
Sandy is expected to be a large and dangerous hybrid when the storm arrives Sunday night and Monday — the Frankenstorm many have been talking about. State officials warn that hybrid storms do not act like hurricanes and do not weaken over cold waters. Sandy is forecast to move slowly and impact the area for up to 36 hours with very strong winds, finally departing the area Wednesday morning.
"Tropical cyclones extract heat from the ocean and grow by releasing that heat in the atmosphere near the storm center. Wintertime cyclones (also called extratropical or frontal lows), on the other hand, get most of their energy from temperature contrasts in the atmosphere, and this energy usually gets distributed over larger areas. Because of these differences, tropical cyclones tend to have more compact wind fields, tend to be more symmetric, and have a well-defined inner core of strong winds. Wintertime lows have strong temperature contrasts or fronts attached to them, have a broader wind field, and more complex distributions of rain or snow. Once Sandy loses its tropical cyclone status it will be known as 'Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy'... Some aspects of this transition are already occurring, and NWS forecasts of storm impacts are based on this expected evolution. Regardless of when this transition formally occurs, Sandy is expected to bring significant wind, surge, rainfall and inland flooding hazards over an extremely large area, and snowfall to more limited areas."
Nervous New Yorkers stripped supermarket shelves of water, bread and batteries as they wait for "Frankenstorm" or "Hell-oween." All New York subways, buses and regional trains have come a halt ahead of the arrival of Sandy. The New York Stock Exchange will be closed completely on Monday and possibly even Tuesday due to the imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
Video - Captures the sense of fear as hurricane Sandy approaches the US. "I think this one is going to do us in."
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