Here Comes Sandy!
Hurricane Sandy. The Frankenstorm. Whatever you want to call it, a large portion of the east coast of America and as far inland as eastern Ohio is in for a monster of a storm over the next several days. Due to a “perfect storm” conversion of hurricane Sandy pushing north\northwest and colliding with two other winter storm systems pushing eastward from the heartland, this storm could produce conditions as bad as or worse than other “fabled” storms such as the 1991 Perfect Storm or 1938s’ Long Island Express.
Hurricane Sandy has already been blamed for 43 casualties in the Caribbean as it continues its’ journey towards mega population centers of the U.S. such as Washington, D.C. and New York City. Current projections are calling for Sandy to make landfall anywhere from North Carolina to as far north as Long Island, N.Y. A direct hit by Hurricane Sandy there, with her storm surge and heavy rains, would in fact render the entire New York subway system vulnerable. It is just too difficult to predict exactly where the storm will come ashore, but its’ wrath is going to be widespread and felt by millions of citizens along the eastern seaboard.
One of the primary concerns with a storm of this magnitude is the tidal surge. Initial models are calling for a storm surge of three to six feet in size. Heavy, gale-force winds, accompanied by a full moon, will “push” water inland as the storm continues to churn. Rainfall totals from Hurricane Sandy are expected to be as much as 12 inches. This rain, coupled with the storm surge, is certain to produce flooding anywhere near the landfall zone. Currently, the Delaware coast is the likely landfall target for Sandy, with ten inches of rain expected. Further off to the west, parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio are preparing for significant snow events, as much as two feet in certain areas as Sandy merges with another storm front bringing colder air into the mix.
High winds of 50 miles an hour or more are expected to remain constant, with gusts up to 70 miles an hour. These high winds are expected to knock down trees and power lines across the entire east coast and as far inland as Ohio and Western New York State. In fact, Governor Cuomo of New York has already declared all of the states’ counties as disaster areas, already making them eligible for assistance from the National Guard if required. Compounding the high wind problem could be the snow that lands on trees that still have their leaves on them, falling over under the additional accumulated weight of the snowfall.