If you live along the East Coast, you know the big news is Hurricane Sandy, a late season tropical cyclone expected to collide with a westward moving storm and wreak havoc all along the Eastern seaboard.
So what happened to the spell of “fair” weather we predicted for the East Coast? That prediction was based on the expectation that a fair-weather ridge of high pressure would predominate. Guess what? That ridge of high pressure will indeed be in place. What we did not account for is the development of a tropical cyclone so late in the season.
Now, here’s the rub: Normally, a tropical system like Sandy would curve harmlessly out to sea. But Sandy can’t do that because that same fair-weather ridge of high pressure is acting like a huge atmospheric block, preventing her from moving away from the coast. And while all of this is happening, a cold front from the west is plodding eastward and ultimately will “phase in” with Sandy at the start of next week, causing the storm to take a very unusual left-hand turn back toward the coast.
How unusual is this? A forecaster at the Boston National Weather Service could only find two other somewhat similar cases: Hurricane Hazel in October 1954 and “The Great Gale of 1878!” So, yes, we admit we didn’t see this one coming, but c’mon and give us a break; this rare type of tropical cyclone track has apparently only materialized twice before over the last 150-years, something very difficult even for our fabled “secret formula” to pick up on.
And again, this probably would never have happened if it weren’t for that ridge of high pressure which was supposed to bring us fair skies in the first place!
More important than all of that, though, is our hope that everyone in the path of the storm takes precautions and is prepared.
Here are some tips on disaster preparedness we’ve run over the years: