Not Putting the Cart Before the Horse

October 24th, 2012 at 8:01 am by under Weather

Let me start this blog by saying:

1. I’ve tried to hold off talking about the Sandy scenarios, but thanks to social media, there’s been a lot of chatter and the questions are coming in.

2. Every meteorologist looks at computer models differently.  A meteorologist may like one computer model more than another – that’s why there can be discrepancies from one meteorologist to another.

3. When it comes to Tropical Storm Sandy, the models are about as organized as the $5 DVD bin at Walmart.

Okay then..

I’m sure most of you have heard about the possibility of a storm early next week.  Even though you haven’t really heard the 22 News Storm Team mention it, trust me, it’s had our attention!  As meteorologists, we look for trends and consistency.

We didn’t want to put the cart before the horse.

Here’s what we know:

1. Tropical Storm Sandy will cross over Jamaica today, then move on to Cuba and the Bahamas within the next 48 hours.

2. Most of the computer models put Sandy between the mainland and Bermuda by Sunday night/Monday morning.

3. After that, the track becomes very uncertain – it seems like most models want to push Sandy out to sea, but there are *others* that draw her into the mid-Atlantic/Northeastern states.  As of this morning, there is a 775-mile difference between the American and European model(s) by Tuesday morning!

4. **IF** Sandy does approach the Northeast, it’s unlikely she will maintain tropical storm strength.  Keep in mind – it’s November – water temperatures are very cool.  Cool water causes tropical cyclones to lose energy/strength.

5. **IF** Sandy hits the Northeast, it will be on or near the anniversary of the October snowstorm (10/29/2011) AND the Perfect Storm (10/30/1991).  Don’t look at this as anything more than a coincidence.

Scenario #1:
The jetstream will push Sandy through the mainland and Bermuda, then out to sea.  Most computer models, including the National Hurricane Center, are favoring this track.  Even if the storm moves out to sea, we could still see some moisture wrap into New England, hence the rain chances for Monday and Tuesday next week!

Courtesy: National Hurricane Center









Computer models track Sandy













Scenario #2:
The European model wins out.  The jetstream will stay north, Sandy will run up the East Coast, transition into a Nor’easter, and curve into the mid-Atlantic states.  If this happens, we can expect heavy rain along with 50-60 MPH winds!  The European model even suggests some serious snow in Pennsylvania!  This would be the worst-case scenario.

European model tracks Sandy










Note: the key player is the jetstream.  Wherever the jetstream sets up is where Sandy will go.

This is a very tough storm to track – too many players on the field – too many “ifs” and “buts”.

I’m going to quote a line from one of my fellow meteorologists, Pete Bouchard: “You don’t buy a ticket to the playoffs until your team has won the division.”  Meaning – Sandy has our attention, but lets not clean out the grocery store just yet.  Lets just watch this closely over the next few days!

For everyone’s sanity, I’m hoping this turns out to be a fish storm.  I can handle grumpy groupers….a second year of angry trick-or-treaters?  Noooo.

-Meteorologist Ashley Baylor

6 Responses to “Not Putting the Cart Before the Horse”

  1. Myanna Carbin-O'Brien says:

    Thanks for spelling it out Ashley…love it…about as organized as the $5 DVD bin…..I will tell you that my son Jacob will have your head on a platter (figuratively of course) if he misses trick or treating this year too!!!! Let’s just pray for out to sea!

  2. ls says:

    Thankyou Ashley :)

  3. Lenore says:

    I love your sense of humor, your down to earth mannerisms and most importantly, your sophistication and knowledge when it comes to reporting the weather. WWLP made a great choice adding you to the weather crew! Hope you stick around!!


  4. Linda LaPointe says:

    This is a great explanation of different forecasts, what “MIGHT” happen and it also provides a few chuckles. Thanks for keeping us informed but more importantly for helping us put this in perspective. Keep up the great work!

  5. Joele says:

    Thank you for the very well informed update…

  6. Hey Ashley,you mentioned it’s November,it is still October. Good information,
    thanks for that. The latest I’ve seen is that most models take it to the right
    by the North Carolina area and then hook it back to the left with that trough
    digging in from the west which will become a negative tilt in the northeast which
    will allow the storm to back in from southeast to northwest. The Euro model is
    the most reliable model out all of them. Keep up the good work.

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