Sandy ready to visit the Mid-Atlantic tonight

This will be a short post to update you on some incredible satellite imagery that is assisting forecasters today. Some of it is very new and due to some incredible hard work behind the scenes at CIMSS/SSEC University of Wisconsin-Madison and NASA SPoRT, we have these available for the blogs and some of it in operations at the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center, the Ocean Prediction Center, the NESDIS Satellite Analysis Branch, and the Hurricane Center. Thank you everyone for your help!

Suomi NPP VIIRS Day-Night Band (DNB) composite of Sandy courtesy of CIMSS/SSEC/University of Wisconsin-Madison valid on 10/29/12.

The Suomi NPP VIIRS Day-Night Band image above shows Sandy overnight with a “visible” like image thanks to our full moon. This same full moon is already aiding in the astronomical high tides on top of the storm surge and large fetch. At last report, Atlantic City is completely underwater by a few feet and chunks of boardwalk are destroyed up and down the NJ coastline.

GOES-14 SRSO of Sandy on 10/29/12 with GLD-360 1-min lightning overlaid courtesy of Vaisala. Click on image to animate.

The GOES-14 Super Rapid Scan Operations (SRSO) is running at the NCWCP today to assist the forecasters with 1-min imagery at 1 km resolution. This could help HPC, OPC, and SAB look for structural changes in Sandy as she makes her approach to shore this evening. Note the complete lack of cloud-to-ground lightning in the core of the storm, while you see occasional lightning strikes in the bands hundreds of miles to the east. This is definitely one of the larges storms I’ve seen in my relatively short career!

GOES-Sounder RGB Air Mass product valid at 15z on 10/29/12 courtesy of CIRA and NASA SPoRT.

Last week I started to describe some of the upper-level features that would play a role in moving Sandy towards the East Coast. Today, the red “L” indicates the approximate location of the upper-level low that is cutting off and moving Sandy towards the coast. The black “L” is Sandy and shows the proximity. The red area highlighted shows the dry, stratospheric air on the periphery of Sandy, but notice how there is no sign of that over the hurricane? Sandy has been able to re-attain its more tropical look which has led to significant deepening and increases in wind. This tool has been used at HPC to help with the placement and timing of the features when compared to model solutions.

The track guidance has not really shifted much today and it looks like a landfall will occur near or south of Atlantic City, NJ around 6-7 pm this evening. Winds have already gusted in many spots with 43 mph at my brother’s house in Toms River to 60 mph in South Seaside Park, NJ. In the Baltimore area, we have been gusting from 35-40 mph and this will only increase in all areas as the day progresses. I expect winds on the NJ shore to reach 70-75 mph sustained with gusts 95-105 mph or higher! In the Baltimore/DC area, winds will be sustained around 50 mph tonight with gusts that will probably eclipse 80 mph in spots if not higher. The heavy rain is here and I have provided a couple maps below with the rainfall and track guidance for you.

Please take care of yourselves tonight and I’ll be thinking of you all. I will try to post again later if power stays on. Thanks for reading!

12z or 8am track guidance for Hurricane Sandy.
The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) Day 1-5 rainfall forecast valid at 11:16 am EDT on 10/29/12.

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