Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Charges Ashore, New York City Hit Hard

New York Times online headline at 2:13PM EDT, October 30, 2012.


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Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, or rather, its remnant now-extratropical circulation is sort of spinning itself out over Pennsylvania.

The NWS radar mosaic for the northeastern quadrant of the U.S. Lower 48 at 1818UTC (2:18PM EDT), October 30, 2012. The center of circulaton of post-tropical storm Sandy is a bit west of State College, Pa. Unusual snowfall continues in the mountains of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

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The New York City area was hit very hard with tremendous coastal flooding that has rendered inoperable most of the mass transit systems including the city's subway lines and the PATH trains. Storm surge heights reached 11.9 feet at Kings Point on the North Shore of Long Island, N.Y.; 8.4 feet at Battery Park in NYC; and 8.6 feet in Sandy Hook, N.J.

A security camera captures Hudson River water flooding like crazy into the PATH station in Hoboken, N.J., last night, Oct. 29, 2012.

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AP is presently reporting 38 deaths in the storm including at least 17 in New York, of which at least 10 were in New York City proper. There were also destructive fires caused by downed power lines / exploding transformers with one in particular in the Breezy Point section of Queens that destroyed scores of homes. There were 23 reported storm-related fires in New York City.

Total and eerie fire destruction in the Breezy Point section of Queens, New York City, Oct. 30, 2012 as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

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More fire destruction of homes in the Breezy Point section of Queens, New York City, Oct. 30, 2012.

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According to news media accounts ...

At least 6 million people had no power at some point during the storm with approximately 750,000 in New York City still lacking electricity. In some cases the power was turned out as a precautionary measure including in parts of Lower Manhattan. Over 6,000 people are in 76 different shelters in New York City.

The partial blackout in Manhattan with the Empire State Building still illuminated over other darkened towers, October 29 or 30, 2012.

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By contrast, the Washington, D.C., area weathered the storm reasonably well if only because the really powerful winds of the hurricane -- the forecasted gusts of 70 to 80 mph and sustained winds of 50mph -- never materialized. I think peak gusts were about 60 mph and only intermittently. This was due to the unusual nature of the weather pattern that included a low-level wedge of cold air that acted as a cap on the winds mixing down to the surface.

The NWS radar mosaic at 2028UTC (4:28PM EDT) Oct. 29, 2012 as Hurricane Sandy was nearing landfall close to Atlantic City, N.J. It crossed the coastline around 8PM EDT.

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About 110,000 or so customers in the D.C. area were without power this morning (unsure if that was the peak number or not) and that number is quickly falling.

The Dover, Del., NWS radar (DOX) in enhanced base mode reflectivity at 4:39PM EDT, Oct. 29, 2012.

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The D.C. Metrorail system is reopening this afternoon. The Federal Government was shut for a second day -- and so I had another day off. Everything else -- area schools, local governments, many businesses -- are still shut. Things should start getting back to normal by tomorrow.

A young girl is rescued from flood waters in Little Ferry, N.J., October 30, 2012.

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Updated 9:15AM 10/31/2012: Corrected to specify KDCA versus KBWI storm rainfall totals:

Rainfall storm totals were in the 4 to 7 inch range including 3.85" at Reagan Washington National Airport (KDCA) and 5.51" at Baltimore/Washington International Airport (KBWI) on Monday. KDCA also had 0.15" on Sunday and 0.84" on Tuesday, or 4.84" overall. KBWI had 0.24" on Sunday and 0.92" on Tuesday or 6.67" overall. I will have updated totals in my next entry.

Another rescue of a small boy in Little Ferry, N.J., October 30, 2012.

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Updated 1:52AM 11/1/2012:

It looks as though the barometric pressure at KDCA and KBWI both got down to 969.2 millibars / 28.62" last night, neither of which broke the March 1993 Superstorm record low of 966.5 millibars / 28.54" and 965.9 millibars / 28.52", respectively. I think the peak wind gusts were around 60 mph at both locations.

Flood waters pour into excavated ground at Ground Zero construction site in Lower Manhattan, New York City, October 29, 2012.

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Flooded roadways in Lower Manhattan, New York City, October 29, 2012.

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Flooded streets in Hoboken, New Jersey from Hurricane Sandy, October 29, 2012.

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Even though it didn't rain as much in the New York City area (in the 1/2" to 1" range) there were sustained high onshore winds that piled up the water quite high -- hence the destruction. JFK Airport had a wind gust of 79 mph and several hours of sustained winds around 50 mph.

The Washington Post online headline at 1:00PM, October 30, 2012.

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Damage from the storm will be in the tens of billions of dollars and will certainly rank among the costliest -- perhaps the highest ever in dollar terms -- in New York City. The Jersey shore also was hit hard. 

Waves batter an abandoned apartment building in Atlantic City, N.J., October 29, 2012. This has a certain Inception movie / Limbo City quality to it.

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Stranded boats on Broadway in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy, October 30, 2012.

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The historic Binghamton steam ferryboat flooded by the Hudson River at its mooring in Edgewater, N.J., October 29, 2012.

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A rainbow appears in the skies over heavily damaged Breezy Point section of Queens, New York City, October 30, 2012.

Earth is a violent planet, and so this rainbow signifies nothing of the sort about no future disasters.

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OK, that's all for now. My next blog update will be either tomorrow or Thursday including with final storm total precip numbers for the D.C. area.

--Regulus

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Arrives -OR- A Weather Day to Remember

The Atlantic Ocean floods onto Beach Avenue in Cape May, N.J., as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the mid-Atlantic coastline, October 29, 2012.

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Hurricane Sandy is making her move toward the mid-Atlantic coast, or rather she has been captured (as expected) by the upper level trough moving into the Eastern U.S., and so IT'S ON.

The Dover NWS (DOX) radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity, 12:59PM EDT, Oct. 29, 2012.

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The worst conditions here in D.C. are expected tonight with winds of 50+mph gusting to as high as 70mph (which would cause a lot of damage / downed trees and power lines) and squally rains. However, in the time I've been writing this entry, the wind has started to really gust outside and it's raining quite heavily. The rain is lashing against my window noisily.

The Sterling NWS (LWX) radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity, 1:37PM EDT, Oct. 29, 2012.

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Already conditions are rather bad along the Delmarva coastline and Jersey shore as well as Long Island and New York City (where a storm surge up to 11 feet is anticipated). All kinds of states of emergency and shutdowns are in effect. There is continuous news coverage on the local channels up and down the I-95 corridor from Ricmond, Va., to New England.

The Sterling LWX radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity early this morning at 6:10AM EDT, Oct. 29, 2012 as the first major rain band was approaching.

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Of note, there is a Full Moon tonight with its astronomical high tides.

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The East Coast visible satellite image at 1515UTC (11:15EDT) Oct. 29, 2012 showing Hurricane Sandy.

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The Federal Government is shut here in D.C., and so as an employee of a company that is a contractor to a large Federal agency, I have the day off. The Metrorail system is closed, too.

The U.S. East Coast water vapor satellite image at 1545UTC (11:45AM EDT), Oct. 29, 2012. On the loop, you could clearly see the digging / negative tilt shortwave that is pushing the hurricane's cloud shield northward (near the 5 o'clock position). The hurricane has been captured by the trough and it is in the process of transitioning into an extra-tropical cyclone.

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Here in D.C. proper, it's the usual fantasy land detached from the rest of reality with young people having the day off and thus the only thing to do is go to this or that restaurant, bar, or friend's place. In other words, a lot of hurricane parties are being had.

The National Hurricane Center's 5-day track for Hurricane Sandy issued at 2PM EDT intermediate advisory 29A.

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As of 2PM EDT, Hurricane Sandy's center is located at 38.3N and 73.1W or 110 miles southeast of Atlantic City and 175 miles south-southeast of New York City. Maximum sustained winds are 90mph and the central pressure has fallen to 940mb / 27.76". The forward motion is to the NW at 28mph. It has really accelerated.

The current weather warnings, watches, and advisories in effect in the NWS Eastern Region, updated at 12:45PM EDT, Oct. 29, 2012.

As I mentioned in my previous entry, you can see the hurricane force wind warnings in effect along the U.S. mid-Atlantic shoreline but the hurricane warnings in effect on the continental slope waters. This is due to the transitioning nature of the storm. Likewise this is why the tidal Potomac has storm warnings instead of tropical storm warnings in effect.

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There is an extensive area of heavy rainfall is located on the west side of the storm and it has been raining rather steadily across the entire Baltimore/Washington region since late last night. Looking at the obs on the LWX webpage, rainfall totals through the 1PM EDT today at the three regional airport climate stations are as follows:

KDCA: 1.90"
KBWI: 2.57"
KIAD: 2.02"

Also through 1PM EDT, Ocean City, Md. (KOXB) has had 4.84" of rain and Atlantic City, N.J. (KACY) has had 3.64" of rain. The Wildwood, N.J. automated reporting station (KWWD) has had 5.36"of rain.

Just for weather record-keeping purposes as of October 27th -- the day before any precipitation from Sandy started -- KDCA was at 0.98" month to date or -1.96" and year-to-date was 23.98" or -9.08" below the normal of 33.06" or -27.5 percent.

There is a CHANCE that this entire yearly deficit could be elminated in this storm.

Here is the Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) map with weather advisories in effect this afternoon, updated 2:07PM, Oct. 29, 2012. D.C. is under a coastal flood warning (the one that takes precedence), a flood warning, a high wind warning, and a flood watch.

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Given the unusual hybrid / transitioning nature of this storm, which I've mentioned in my previous entries, with sufficiently cold air above about 2,000 feet, there are also blizzard warnings in effect in Garrett County, Md., and a number of counties in West Virginia. Indeed, 24 to 36 inches are forecasted in parts of the Blue Ridge. I suppose the GOP cavalcade of Know Nothings, Flat Earthers, corporate gigolos, and assorted kooks, cracks, and nutty libertarians will cite this as proof of "global cooling" since it isn't even Halloween yet.

Flooded Beach Avenue in Cape May, N.J., in Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 29, 2012.

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Oh, yes, I'm really glad Michael Mann is suing Mark Steyn and the National Review for libel. I know the fanatical free speech types believe he hasn't a chance, but that's not the point.

A flooded street in gloomy Atlantic City, N.J., Oct. 29, 2012 as Hurricane Sandy approaches.

In what is truly a sign of the impending Apocalypse, the casinos in Atlantic City are CLOSED today.

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Ominous skies looking out over the heaving, surging Atlantic Ocean from the beach in Queens, New York City as Hurricane Sandy approaches, Oct. 28 or 29 (unsure of date), 2012.

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This brings up the topic of Wall-P and his demands for God-like accuracy all in service of his main concerns:

"Eh. Eh. When will the storm hit? What time? What wind speed? Eh. Eh. Will this affect my collection of rents and interest accruals on my investments holdings? What will the final report show? Eh. Eh - "


Then the She-Mistress of the Manse -- doing jumping jack motions while lying down on her back in bed -- will scream at him and he'll settle back into his wee corner, the good corporate legal stooge that he is.

Oh, and I suppose Michael "Fat Ass Gas Bag" Barone will have a shitty opinion piece  in this or that propaganda appendage of the VRWC / GOP Death Star about why Mitt Romney won over more independent swing state soccer moms with his "commanding" and "presidential-like response" to the hurricane. As it is, just one more week until the election nightmare is over. Enuf with the flippin' polls always showing Romney ahead.

Sandbags set in place around the New York Stock Exchange, the very lair of the money-changers, crooks, and criminals of Wall Street in lower Manhattan, Oct. 29, 2012. The stock market is basically closed today and hence there are no opportunities today to blow financial bubbles or create new financialized instrument scams. Indeed, our whole American Way of Life in 2012 might collapse.

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Water begins to overtop the walkway at Battery Park in lower Manhattan, New York City, Oct. 29, 2012.

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Alright, that's all for now. I'm supposed to take a walk with Gary in this storm later this afternoon. I suppose we will end up at Larry's Lounge at some point. I plan to update this blog tonight or tomorrow, but keep in mind that given the wind gusts that are forecasted, it is quite possible the cable / internet could go out.

Waves churned up by Hurricane Sandy crash over the boardwalk in Ocean City, Md., Oct. 29, 2012.

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Oh, yes, as a weird connection ...

As I wrote this, I was watching Antenna TV and the old sitcom Hazel was on. I mention this because I think Hurricane Hazel in 1954 produced the highest ever wind gust officially measured in Washington, D.C. (at National Airport, KDCA) at 98mph.

--Regulus



Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Sunday of Hurricane Anticipation -OR- Sandy is Ready for Her Close-Up

** Second Update 11:51PM 6/17/2014: See below.**

Updated at 10:45PM 10/28/2012: See below.

Large and battering waves come ashore at Ocean City, Md., as Hurricane Sandy approaches in a picture taken by a WaHoPo photographer earlier today, Oct. 28, 2012.

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UPDATED 10:45PM EDT 10/28/2012:

Uh, oh ...

... She's got an eye again. This is the infrared satellite picture at 0145UTC (9:45PM EDT) Oct. 29 (28th), 2012.

And the shortwave trough seems to be elongating / rounding through Tennessee  and into Georgia tonight. The trough should be going negative tilt soon with hurricane capture -- and thus the subsequent recurvature of the cyclone back into the coastline isn't far off. The exact location of this is still unclear.

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So everything is still on track for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy in all its hybrid tropical / extra-tropical ferocity. The storm itself as of 8PM EDT tonight has as central pressure of 950mb and top sustained winds of 75mph. The sprawling storm is centered at 34.0N and 70.9W or 485 miles SSE of New York City.  The forward motion is still NE at 15mph but that is expected to change -- and to the WNW into the mid-Atlantic coastline (specifically, the Jersey shore) by tomorrow.

A blizzard of sea foam is lifted up from the heaving ocean by the Hurricane Sandy's strong winds and spewed onto Jennette's Pier, Nags Head, N.C., Oct. 28, 2012. That foam can be pretty nasty.  

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At this point, it looks as though New York City and the Jersey shore are going to get the worst of it. A storm surge of 6 to 11 feet is expected with onshore hurricane winds. There is a chance the storm will have one of the lowest pressures for an East Coast landfalling hurricane.

Although the Washington and Baltimore areas are not in the forecated crosshairs, there will still be tropical storm conditions for 12 hours or so even in the D.C. area owing to the size and structure of the storm. This includes 35 to 50mph winds with gusts over 60mph and 6"+ of rainfall.

Here is the 5-day track issued by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) at 5PM EDT Oct. 28, 2012.

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Everything is shutting down up and down the I-95 corridor between Washington, D.C., and Boston. New York City is shutting down its transit service including the subways and residents in "Zone A" are being told to evacuate. Zone A, based on this map that I found on this website, seems to correspond to the areas that are expected to flood in a category 1 and 2 hurricane direct strike on New York City as shown in the SLOSH model.

The map showing New York City's Evacuation Zones A, B, and C.

Reposted:  The SLOSH model for New York City.

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Here in D.C., the Federal Government is shut tomorrow -- and I expect this means I also have the day off (as a contractor).

It is a gloomy showery night here in D.C. The rain has tentatively started. There has been a heavy rain band along the length of the Eastern Shore / just east of the Chesapeake Bay all day in some sort of convergence zone.  Of note, in keeping with the very unusual and possibly historic nature of this storm, there is already heavy wet snow falling at the highest elevations of southwestern Virginia in Wise County.

LWX radar base reflectivity mode, 6:40PM EDT, Oct. 28, 2012.

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The hurricane itself has not yet started its expected sharp turn to the west northwest back into the coastline as a result of the deepening / negative tilt trough moving in from the Ohio River valley.

East Coast U.S. visible satellite image at 1515UTC (11:15AM EDT), Oct. 28, 2012.

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All kinds of watches and warnings are in effect up and down the East Coast of the United States. Speaking of which, here is something you may not ever see again in your lifetime -- or at least not for a a few decades -- concerning the weather advisories in the Baltimore/Washington NWS forecast area (the Sterling LWX county warning area): hurricane-related warnings AND blizzard warnings in relatively close proximity.

Here we have (as of 6:43PM EDT tonight) both a hurricane force wind warning AND a blizzard warning on the same map (the latter in Garrett County, Md., and parts of West Virginia). But such is the nature of this hybrid storm -- Hurricane Sandy transitioning into an extra-tropical cyclone.

At this point here in D.C., there is a high wind warning and a coastal flood warning.

Of note, the hurricane force wind warning on the Chesapeake Bay and the storm warning on the tidal Potomac would under a "normal" hurricane situation actually take the form of a hurricane warning and a tropical storm warning, respectively. That is, if there were no transition but instead the storm remained fully warm-core tropical, those would be the corresponding warnings under identical wind / sensible weather conditions. However, because of the expected transition, the National Weather Service, including the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the regional weather forecast offices, are issuing extra-tropical storm warnings. NHC explains this here.

Here are the warnings for the Mount Holly / Philadelphia CWA updated at 709PM EDT tonight. You see the same thing: Hurricane warnings are in effect well offshore on the continental slope waters but hurricane force wind warnings closer in as a result of that expected transition.

I've been watching the Weather Channel quite a bit -- except when frickin' Jim Cantore's mug appears on the camera. He's unwatchable and unlistenable.

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A little pinwheel in a flower bed blows in the preliminary breezes from Hurricane Sandy. This was in the flower bed outside The Regent on 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 4:00PM, Oct. 28, 2012.

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I've purchased about $100 worth of groceries in the past two days and had no trouble finding anything at either the Harris Teeter or the 17th Street Safeway. I went to the latter tonight after going to the YMCA.

Tulip poplar trees with fall colors beginning to show and very expensive row houses in the 1800 block of 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:56PM, Oct. 28, 2012. These row houses at that location are easily worth $2 million.

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More towering tulip poplar trees in the 1800 block of 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:54PM, Oct. 28, 2012.

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Triangular lot formed by 16th Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., with a large oak tree. This was at 3:53PM, Oct. 28, 2012.

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**Updated 11:51PM 6/17/2014: Content removed.**

OK, that's all for now. I plan to update this blog tomorrow with more weather info, but there is a chance that my internet / cable could go out. To my (few) area readers, be safe.

--Regulus