Tropical Tracker

More Wind Than Rain

October 29th, 2012 at 9:35 am by under Tropical Tracker, Weather

After a long week of watching and waiting, Hurricane Sandy’s effects are now being felt across the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states!  Today and tomorrow will be the worst days – very strong winds along bouts of heavy rain!

Here in western Massachusetts, we are not going to feel the full effect of Hurricane Sandy.  The storm will be much worse in other parts of the Northeast: cities along the coast will have to deal with 5-10′ storm surge, while parts of West Virginia will be contending with blizzard conditions!!  It’s not often you see hurricane and blizzard warnings in close proximity.

Nat’l Weather Service Watches/Warnings










Since we don’t have to think about storm surge or snow, here’s what we can expect over the next 48 hours:

Strong winds.  The strongest winds will be felt from this afternoon through Tuesday afternoon.  A high wind warning will be in effect for all of western Massachusetts through Tuesday morning as we are anticipating sustained winds between 20-30 MPH with gusts up to 60 MPH!  The higher gusts will likely be in the Hilltowns/Berkshires, but we will all be susceptible to high winds.  With tropical storm-force wind gusts, lies the possibility for downed trees and power lines which could lead to power outages.

Rain.  We will be tracking bands of moderate to heavy rain across southern New England.  Expect periods of rain from this afternoon through Tuesday.  With 2-4″ of rain in the forecast, flooding is possible.  Make sure you clear storm drains of leaves and debris!  If you leave near any rivers or places that are prone to flooding, keep a close eye on the water levels!  We are not anticipating as much rain as we saw with Tropical Storm Irene!

Sandy is expected to make landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey sometime late today or early Tuesday morning.  Once she makes landfall, she will continue to track inland towards Pennsylvania.  By Wednesday, the storm will make a sharp turn towards western New York.  By Friday and Saturday, the remnants of Sandy will still be loitering in northern New England.  Since this storm will get caught up in the Northeast, we can expect showers from Wednesday through Friday.

National Hurricane Center tracks Sandy












By this weekend, El Sol will be back to dry up the mess.

-Meteorologist Ashley Baylor

Meteorologist in the City

October 27th, 2012 at 8:40 pm by under Tropical Tracker, Weather

I wasn’t going to let Sandy ruin my plans in New York City this weekend – so here I am!

Took a nice drive on the Merritt Parkway to get down here.  It seemed like more people were actually trying to get INTO the city, rather than trying to escape as Sandy continues along the coast.

Hurricane Sandy is forecasted to make landfall anywhere from New Jersey to Delmarva on Monday.  Here in New York City, coastal flood warnings have been issued along with high wind watches.  Places along the coast will be impacted the most not only because of the wind and rain, but storm surge as well.

There will be a full moon on Monday.  During a full moon, the water level during high tide is higher than normal.  Combine a lunar high tide with a hurricane, and that means places like New York City, Long Island, the Jersey shore, and the Delmarva Peninsula could see seas rise 4-8 feet higher than normal.  The National Weather Service predicts up to 20 foot waves south of Long Island, that’s why a mandatory evacuation was ordered for Fire Island.  So far, that is the only place in the greater New York area that has been ordered to evacuate.

New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, held a news conference earlier, letting the public know they have made preparations for Sandy’s arrival.  One thing that caught my attention – he asked all surfers to stay out of the water.  Obviously, the surfers will want to take advantage of the high waves, but even the most experienced surfer could put themselves in danger with this storm.

Here in New York, they can expect 2-4″ of rain along with sustained winds of 40-50 MPH with gusts up to 70 MPH!

I’ll be making the trip back to the Pioneer Valley tomorrow!  See you Monday morning!

-Meteorologist Ashley Baylor

Lets Call it What it is

October 26th, 2012 at 9:05 am by under Tropical Tracker, Weather

The latest track on Sandy

Maybe you’ve read or heard the term “Frankenstorm” within the last 24 hours.

Here’s the thing – this is a potentially serious storm for the mid-Atlantic/Northeastern states, so I’m not going to call it something as parochial as “Frankenstorm”. I get that it’s a hybrid/Halloween reference, but still, lets call it what it is – a hurricane. It will likely downgrade to a post tropical storm or Nor’easter by the time it reaches cooler water.

(Besides, by next week, I’LL be the scariest thing out there… not Sandy!)

When I read the word ”Frankenstorm” yesterday, I made an eye roll felt ’round the world.

So, now we’re down to two Sandy scenarios… the 3rd one about Sandy heading out to sea is very unlikely. What’s the story morning glory? We are anticipating a big block near Greenland which will shift the jetstream in a south to north
direction – only a west to east jetstream would push this storm out to sea.

Scenario #1:
This seems to be the most likely scenario. Most of the computer models keep Sandy a category 1 hurricane as she tracks along the Florida and Carolina coastline. By early Monday morning, Sandy will be sitting just offshore of North Carolina. By Tuesday morning, the track makes a dog-leg left bringing Sandy onshore near the Delmarva peninsula. With this track, she will continue to move farther inland into Pennsylvania by Wednesday. This would be the best scenario for us in western Massachusetts – less rain, less wind.

Scenario #2:
The worst-case scenario for southern New England – a direct hit. The GFS model turns Sandy into southern New England Tuesday afternoon. If this happens, we will have contend with tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain, which could lead to coastal and inland flooding.

According to this computer model, the storm will get blocked in the Northeast for a few days – that means rain and wind through Thursday!

With either scenario, our primary concern will be the rain. If you remember Tropical Storm Irene, the wind didn’t do the most damage, it was the flooding rain!

-Meteorologist Ashley Baylor

Photos: Hurricane Sandy

Now the Horse is Catching Up With the Cart

October 25th, 2012 at 9:09 am by under Tropical Tracker, Weather

How close will Sandy get?

We are all deer in the headlights today - eyes wide open….waiting for something to happen….

That something is Sandy.

Is she going to run us over with her wind and rain, or are we going dodge this one?

I guess it would’ve been more appropriate to title this “Deer Catching Up With the Cart”, but who ever heard of a deer pulling a cart?!  (Ok, reindeer and sleigh aside..)

Every meteorologist is anxiously awaiting the next computer model run to see if Sandy will continue to track west, or push farther east.  Not the kind of babysitting job we want, but it is what it is.

I’m up to 3 Sandy scenarios now.  Unfortunately for us (in southern New England), 2 out of the 3 scenarios are not in our favor.

European model tracks Sandy

Scenario #1:
The European model wins.  I will say, the European model tends to do very well with long-range forecasts.  This model will basically keep Sandy parallel to the Florida and Carolina coastline, then arc it back into the Virginia/Delmarva area. 

Once the storm makes landfall, it will push farther inland into Pennsylvania by Tuesday night.  This scenario would mean rain and wind for us in southern New England from Monday to Wednesday.




Courtesy: National Hurricane Center

 Scenario #2:
This would be the worst-case scenario for New England.  Similar to the European model, the track would keep Sandy parallel to the Florida and Carolina coastline through Sunday.  By Monday, the storm will initially push east off the coast of the Carolinas, then dog leg left into New England.  This scenario would give us the heaviest rain and the strongest winds – we are talking several inches of rain along with sustained 50-60 MPH winds!  *IF* this happens, showers would start as early as Monday, then the heavy rain would take over for Tuesday and Wednesday.  There will be concern over tree and structural damage, inland and coastal flooding, beach erosion, and power outages. 

Keep in mind: this storm is at least 5 days away and things can change, so don’t board up the house and stock up on tuna fish just yet!!


Computer models track Sandy

Scenario #3:
The jetstream shifts to a west to east direction and kicks Sandy out to sea.  As of this morning, it’s becoming more and more unlikely that this will be the case, but hey, it’s still possible.

We’ll continue to track every computer model run as Sandy approaches.  In the meantime, this deer is going to take her tail and go munch on some grass.  I’ll catch up with my fellow deer tomorrow!

Stay out of the road!
-Meteorologist Ashley Baylor