A Hurricane That May Have Snow!

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Would we then call the hurricane a sno-i-cane?

First things first. The cold front has blow through and temperatures are dropping. Our high for the day was 73° a few minutes after midnight. The front hit after 6AM and we’re now down to 45° and dropping. Clouds are in abundance but unfortunately the models were right concerning the lack of rainfall…a quick shot and that’s been about it. Nothing else aside from some chilly temperatures are expected with a moderation heading towards the early part of next week. Some hard freezes are likely as well and some frost.

I’m not optimistic that we’ll see much more rain over the next 7-10 days. with all the warmth over the last few days, our average temperature for the month is now just about average. Technically we’re 2/10° above average. We’ll eat through that over the next couple of days. Unless something changes the month will end up well below average again from a rainfall standpoint at KCI, although other areas have done a bit better.

Now let’s talk about Sandy that went through an explosive deepening last night as it approached the coast of Cuba. From a central pressure standpoint it tanked down to 954 mbs or 28.17″ which made it the lowest pressure so far this season. The other two were Michael @ 28.47″ and Gordon at 28.50″.  From a wind standpoint however, there has been a noticeable lack of the lower pressures corresponding to much stronger winds. For whatever reason, storms of that pressure would’ve had, in the past, winds of 120 MPH+. This season though it seems like the strongest winds have really had a tough time tightening up around the center. Sandy moved across eastern Cuba last night and is now back over the open waters in the SE Bahamas.

The storm should maintain it’s strength for a bit before slowly weakening, although the amount of weakening over the next 4 days is not a slam dunk.

The future though of Sandy has been written about in my blogs for the last 5 days or so. Yesterday I focused on our weather so today let’s focus on the the future.

Obviously the models have been scattered but the EURO has been pretty persistent for the last week or so, about the potential of some sort of hurricane/tropical system affecting either the Mid-Atlantic states or the NE part of the country. Today that hasn’t changed. The Canadian model has mostly been on the same page, although it has at times taken the storm into SE Canada. Finally the GFS has been all over the place, with mostly an out to sea solution.

All these solutions are still possible, but obviously the land falling aspect of this is what I’m mostly interested in. This is possible because the trof that is delivering the cold air into our region now will move eastwards and have more energy digging into it. As this occurs Sandy will continue to move towards the N/NNE and from a size standpoint probably grow even larger (the wind fields may not get stronger but the area covered by the wind will get larger). How Sandy interacts with this trof and it’s energy is what is most fascinating. Here is a look at the EURO model for later next Monday

I’ve illustrated Sandy with an L in the Delmarva area. Odds are it would be a tropical system still and would be ingesting the cold air into the west side of the circulation. I’ve drawn in the 32° freezing line at 5000 feet or so, and the area on the surface (small) in SE WV that might have heavy wet snow falling per this model. This would be because the warm moist airmass from the tropics would’ve rotated around the storm into the colder air. Now look 12 hours later, early TUE AM. The remnants of the storm are weakening, the pressure is filling in fast, but now the cold air into the backside of the storm is expanding and getting colder. As a result the snow potential (heavy and wet) in growing in scale and intensity. This area is represented by the enlarged area of 32° air through WV, W VA and even parts of NW NC. Elevations there are also a player in this since there are a lot of mountains in that area as well.

Meanwhile along the coastal areas, as the storm approaches, depending on the timing, we may be looking at the storm coming in during high tides. Since the moon will be full,, we may also see the tides running high from that as well. So the tidal flooding concerns, in addition to having all this water being pushed ashore would be a major factor in the amount of flooding that is possible along the coastal area.

The forecasts from the Hurricane Center have all been out to sea, but as you know from reading this blog I’ve been more interested in the closer to shore thinking. Well the latest forecast now is more along the lines of following the EURO model after all. Take a look and notice where the storm is forecasted to be in 5 days.

Has something like this happened before. Strangely yes. Back in 1991 the ” Perfect” storm, a combination of upper air energy dropping SE from Canada and Hurricane Grace created this monster storm off the East Coast.

There was another Hurricane that can ashore in the 50s, named Hazel that slammed into the Carolinas and then ingested some jetstream energy and became a major issue for the NE part of the country.

These storms are all different and their interactions were different, but the point is…it’s happened before.


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