Tropical Storm Sandy

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

As at 2 PM Pacific time, here’s the current position of Sandy and the projected path.

SOURCE: National Data Buoy Center

I had said a couple of days ago, when Sandy was a hurricane, that it would not be a hurricane when it hit the coast. How did that go?

Well, as of the time that this location and projection of the path was done, the NDBC has shown all the nearest stations. Not one of the actual observations is showing sustained winds over 50 knots, and that’s a long ways from the 72 63 knots that marks a hurricane.

Please note that the big damage from such storms is the flooding, so I am not minimizing the likely extent of the damage.  It will be widespread. However … not a hurricane.

w.

Addition by Anthony:

Harold Ambler has a photo of storm surge in Rhode Island here

Flooding in the subway in Newark, NJ (via FirstHand Weather on Facebook)

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Günther

Well done, Willis! Right again! Thanks for reporting!

Robert A. Taylor

Has anyone noted any MSM reporting this? As far as I can tell it is still hurricane Sandy, and will be for all time.

Theo Goodwin

The MSM downgraded it immediately after landfall. Just check CBS or any of the others.
I cannot find a photo or video that looks like a major storm surge. In New York City, all I see are events of water sloshing over seawalls. Wind damage seems all but nonexistent, though one crane happened to collapse. I just do not see the major storm that has been hyped for two days. Sorry, but the MSM are demented. Given the MSM’s propensity for unbridled hype, they should not be allowed to play with computer models.

J.Hansford

Yep, It’s no hurricane…..There’ll be damage and flooding. Any big storm arriving during a full or new moon is going to have exacerbated flooding over the 12-24 hours it takes to arrive, cross and pass…. and the news teams which are nothing now but glorified info-tainment purveyors, with the emphasis on hype, catastrophe and propaganda, will be whooping it up for all it’s worth… sigh.
I long for the days when people just got on with the job of making the best of the day and went about their lives with a bit of decorum….;-)

Bennett In Vermont

Up here in northernmost Vermont we were told to expect 80 mph gusts… It’s 9:25 and as far as I can tell, no one, anywhere, is getting 80 mph gusts.
Note to self, this is a good thing.
It did look frightening for a while there so I don’t blame the fear mongering msm too much, and I’m glad that I didn’t get to experience tree smashing, power outage causing, food rotting winds… But if this is an example of Climate Chaos, bring it on!
P.S. How many days since a hurricane has made landfall in the USA?

The flooding is bad now in and around NYC (high tide). Here’s a link to a site with lots of photos, breaking news tidbits, and wild/fringe commenters:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-10-29/postcards-underwater-new-york

Theo Goodwin says October 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm
The MSM downgraded it immediately after landfall. Just check CBS or any of the others.
I cannot find a photo or video that looks like a major storm surge. In New York City, all I see are events of water sloshing over seawalls.

Weather Channel calling ‘record storm surge’; beating 1892 (I think it is) … water to Wall street … 3′ of water on floor of exchange …
Watch live? http://www.weather.com/tv/tvshows/live-stream
(Note to mods: trim link out if it is undesired)
.

Physics Major

I’m in central Ohio and we’re getting 5o mph gusts. We’re about 400 miles from NYC.

ggm

This will turn out to be another MSM over-reaction. The worst case was going be a Cat 1 huuricane. There was never any chance of it making land fall as anything stronger than that.

Robert A. Taylor

Thanks Theo Goodwin October 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm. I should have rechecked. I was too cynical there, and too optimistic about the storm surge it seems.
Don’t you wish everyone would admit it when they make mistakes?

DJ

Frankenstorm downgraded to Frankenfart?

Catcracking

Willis,
Thanks, I found a lot of confusion from the media re the landfall location and time for Hurricane Sandy. Based on what I saw it looked like Cape may but the media is all over the place. even up to central NJ 70 miles north.

bob droege

I dont care if it is still a hurricane or an ex tropical storm, what I really want to know is if the west side highway is under water or not?

Article on the effects of subway flooding. Note the picture of Hoboken station and the lame attempt at flood control (a few sandbags). The station is now flooded. Questions should be asked, as to why no proper flood barrier.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204840504578087113950736132.html

We’re in eastern MA (Framingham). A tall 30-y/o spruce at the corner of the house was uprooted by fierce wind gusts (maybe 60 mph?) this afternoon, and now rests at about a 20º angle on the power and other cables running to the pole. Surprisingly, we have not (yet) lost power, and the wind and rain have diminished considerably (c. 10 PM), but I’m mighty nervous about this tree resting on the power line.
In Dedham, SE of here, No. Two Son had an old oak tree in front of his house come down and take out power for the whole street. There are reportedly a lot of trees and branches down in the region, so the power companies (mainly NStar and National Grid) are plenty busy. We’re in the queue, but as we have power, I don’t expect we’re high up.
Hurricane or no, it’s pretty impressive to have a cyclonic storm hitting New Jersey blow down trees here in Massachusetts at the same time. I’m impressed.
/Mr Lynn

pokerguy

Don’t see the purpose of this post except for self-aggrandizement. Whatever it’s precise nature on impact, it was and still remains, a terribly destructive storm. And not just flooding. Wind a major factor as well.

Hurricane/T.S. Irene related posts on WUWT concerning sub-Hurricane damage.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/01/tropical-storm-irene/
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/29/even-the-tv-news-community-is-asking-if-irene-was-overhyped/

Now we fast forward to Irene where the models are in great agreement that Irene will approach NYC Sunday morning during a high spring tide. The stakes were quite high. As I told a friend on Friday, “If they keep the water out of the NY underground, it will be all over inside of 48 hours. But, if salt water gets into the subways and high rise basements, it won’t be over in 48 days. – Rasey 8/29/2011 at 6:24 pm

It is now quite clear that saltwater is in the NYC underground. At least part of it. How much won’t be known until about 10 am after the next high tide passes. The storm surge may still be rolling up Long Island Sound as I right this. The precautions MTA took with Irene were the same (or less) than they took with Sandy. It will be interesting to see how the MTA and ConEd (and the City Government of NY) prepared for this storm surge after the Irene dry-run.
If it takes 2 days to get the subway running and power on to lower Manhatten, the civil engineers and electricians will deserve a year’s pay and a key to the city.
If it takes 2 weeks to get everything back running, they will have done a HEROIC job. NYC might be under a foot of wet snow in 48 hours, the public will be coming unglued with impatience, but the guys doing the dirty jobs will be outright heros in my view.
If it takes 2 months to get everything back running… well, it wouldn’t surprise me. There are only so many spare parts, spare transformers, and spare man-hours on hand. System failures have very non-linear dynamics.
At least the MTA got the subway cars out of harms way. New Orleans ruined 800 buses by parking them in a place to flood.

HaroldW

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCUAT3+shtml/300101.shtml claims 80 mph sustained winds at 9 pm EDT = 0100 GMT. So, there still are hurricane-force winds despite Sandy’s current designation as a post-tropical cyclone. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/news/20121027_pa_sandyTransition.pdf has a discussion of post-tropical cyclones.

Note that the NHC had no hurricane warnings up at the coast, only offshore. They were forecasting it would be an extratropical low at the time of landfall (personally, I though I saw an eye was still mostly intact at landfall.) I think I saw a NHC reference to substantial temperature differences near the center, an extratropical trait.

Not one of the actual observations is showing sustained winds over 50 knots, and that’s a long ways from the 72 knots that marks a hurricane.

A hurricane is a tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 64 kt (74 mph) or more, but point taken.
The central pressure at landfall was 28.02″ Hg from some random source I read. That’s 949 mb, which is more typical of a strong Cat 3 storm ( http://geography.about.com/od/lists/a/hurrcategories.htm ). I think the huge breadth of the wind field is what kept the central wind speeds down – it’s blowing like crazy up here in central New Hampshire. Heck, my pressure is now 29.27″ (991 mb).
To have a strong wind, you need closely packed isobars. Like Camille, not like Sandy.

David A. Evans

Got a friend up new Green Bay. I’m assuming by the time it gets that way it’ll be spent. Right?
DaveE.

David A. Evans

Oops, that’s near Green Bay.
DaveE.

Mike Bromley the Canucklehead

There’s a story in SciAm about Sandy being the biggest storm ever.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=sandy-vs-katrina-and-irene
What is their criteria? Seems a bit suspect to talk about storm diameter when the storm seems to have ingested the Frankenbaby. The seaward expression of Sandy seems, well, meh…just a mundane deteriorating storm. They talk about the lowest barometric pressure EVER, whereas other sources say it ties the New England Clipper of 1938. Again, the largest diameter storm [since imagery could determine that].
http://mashable.com/2012/10/29/hurricanes-irene-vssandy-compared/
Compares Sandy & Irene….and you can see the great big chunk of storm being absorbed.

Michael Jankowski

Ugh on that WSJ article.
“…The potential for a once-in-a-century subway flood has been a growing cause for concern as sea levels have risen.
‘We never had a weather condition as adverse as this, but we always knew that as the water warmed, there’s a great deal more energy to these storms,” said former Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch, who led the MTA in the 1980s…'”
Yeah, that’s it. It’s an unprecedented storm due to warmer water and rising sea levels, all because of climate change.

Theo Goodwin

_Jim says:
October 29, 2012 at 6:51 pm
Maybe my standards are too high. I thought that storm surge meant tidal surge; that is, the whole darn ocean comes up on land and stays a while. When it retreats there are ocean going vessels on the beach. That is what happened in the big ones on the Gulf coast. My best memories are of Camille. What we are seeing in NJ and NYC I would call storm slosh. For the most part, the flooding does not reach the top of wheels on vehicles. Those vehicles are undamaged and can be driven as soon as the water recedes just a tad.
I see no wind damage at all. That screams “not a hurricane.”
Was anyone killed by wind or storm surge? I believe not and I hope not. Stepping on a live wire does not count.
After hyping this storm as if it were Katrina, everyone associated with weather in the MSM should resign. The MSM needs to get a life.

Tom in Texas

A comment I read from Seeking Alpha:
“Bob – my gma called. she’s 95. she was worried the flooding would get her on the 6th floor of her condo. thanks TWC for scaring her.”

Water level in Battery Park has come down a couple feet from its peak and is still receding … high tide occurs at 12:10 AM EDT … on-site report per CH 4 reporter in NYC …
Old record in 1821 beat by a couple feet, new record now 13.8 ft …
.

Steve from Rockwood

Never post an I told you so when people are suffering.

Over time as oceans warm and air temperatures rise these kinds of major weather events will be more common. Its all about the shape of the curves on the Psychrometric chart, as air gets warmer, it’s ability to absorb water increases at an increasing rate.

TomRude

The weather channel reports are pathetic: the reporter from Newburyport had his feet barely covered by water around a wharf surge of debris. It was as if he reported a tsunami…
In Battery Park water receeds and the reporter estimates the wind at 70mph… just holding her baseball cap…
The comment are contradictory: one reporter says water level receeding quickly… meanwhile the main anchor talks about slow recess of water…
Let’s not forget that The Weather Channel is a Rothschild property
http://zen-haven.com/rothschilds-weather-channel-buys-weather-underground/
And is serving their global warming alarmism…
Meanwhile on Yahoo:
http://news.yahoo.com/sandy-unlikely-damage-us-economy-analysts-164120917–finance.html
Yes the storm surge and tides contributed to strong flooding, winds were strong but Frankenstorm is yet another staging of meteo for political purpose.

Theo Goodwin says October 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I see no wind damage at all. That screams “not a hurricane.”
Was anyone killed by wind or storm surge?

Let’s wait and see how Atlantic City and area did tomorrow morning … getting people OUT of harm’s way is part of planning and preparation in events like this, so lives DO NOT require police and fire responders when water levels climb (where do you seek shelter when your house floods and the ‘dry’ spot is the roof BUT the storm is still raging? One must avoid the physical conditions that might cause one to perish from ‘exposure’ or hypothermia) …
As with Katrina, the big problem is the destruction the storm reeks on infrastructure in ‘slow motion’ (i.e. storm surge/flooding and continued hours of wind damage) which works to erode formerly functioning (1) potable water (purification and pumping) systems, (2) electric switching yards, (3) distribution systems in the neighborhoods and (4) and up and down the main drags (streets), and (5) operating/operating of waster-water (sewage) systems for quite literally ***MILLIONS**** of people … at the moment, in five of the states affected 4 *million* customers show to be without power; note: 1 ‘customer’ may represent an entire family or a single person, I don’t know if that includes businesses or not.
.

Frank K.

Ric Werme says:
October 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm
“it’s blowing like crazy up here in central New Hampshire. Heck, my pressure is now 29.27″ (991 mb).”
Ric – where are you?? I’m in the upper valley and the wind is indeed blowing but NOT like crazy! Maximum gusts at the local airport haven’t exceeded 32 mph:
http://www.intellicast.com/Local/Observation.aspx?location=USNH0123
Irene was worse!

TomRude

JM Sute, may I suggest this link:
http://www.ems.psu.edu/~fraser/BadMeteorology.html
Keep playing the guitar and enjoy the read.

Thanks, Willis. A voice for sanity!

Simon

Theo Goodwin … I don’t know what inspires your need to downplay this whole thing, but this is a serious piece of weather and the MSM rightly (this time) have told it how it is. It was always going to downgrade once it hit landfall. That’s how hurricanes work.
So far 10 dead and rising. 3 million people without power and a record 4 metre storm surge is battering NY….and this is just the start.
Perhaps it would be prudent for you to consider resigning your comments until the full scale of the damage is known.

[snip – nothing to do with hurricane Sandy – way off topic -mod]

TomRude

“Old record in 1821 beat by a couple feet, new record now 13.8 ft …”
Almost 200 years to beat that record… and NYC now is no NYC 1821…

Theo Goodwin

_Jim says:
October 29, 2012 at 7:42 pm
“Old record in 1821 beat by a couple feet, new record now 13.8 ft …”
There are pictures of water flowing into Ground Zero, the 9/11 memorial. Isn’t that rain water? It seems to be that the path from the harbor to the memorial is up quite a slope, one that I recall is considerably more than 13 feet. (After topping the slope, the water runs down into the memorial.)
The same for Wall Street. The flooding in the streets must be from rain water. Wall Street is way farther up the hill beyond the memorial.

Theo Goodwin

Psychometric chart? OK, an MSM hurricane forecaster.

Gerald Machnee

They are calling it Superstorm instead of hurricane.

Theo Goodwin says:
October 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Maybe my standards are too high. I thought that storm surge meant tidal surge; that is, the whole darn ocean comes up on land and stays a while. When it retreats there are ocean going vessels on the beach.

I think people have gotten better at getting boats out of the way. (The Bounty replica excepted.) Comes from better satellite imagery and track forecasts so that pilots can figure out a safe heading.

That is what happened in the big ones on the Gulf coast. My best memories are of Camille. What we are seeing in NJ and NYC I would call storm slosh. For the most part, the flooding does not reach the top of wheels on vehicles. Those vehicles are undamaged and can be driven as soon as the water recedes just a tad.

Despite the better communications we have now, I suspect any areas damaged like that may not have good coverage until the storm passes. For example, http://www.shipbottomfireco.com/ hasn’t updated their page in at least 8 hours, I was hoping they would have pre-sunset photos.

I see no wind damage at all. That screams “not a hurricane.”

Don’t forget Camille was Cat 5….

Theo Goodwin

Mr Lynn says:
October 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm
You tell a lovely store and paint a vivid picture. I have been in your situation but in central Florida. Do not notify the authorities. They will turn the power off. Maybe try to hide the tree until the repair crews show up.

pokerguy says: Don’t see the purpose of this post except for self-aggrandizement. Whatever it’s precise nature on impact, it was and still remains, a terribly destructive storm. And not just flooding. Wind a major factor as well.
You know, its the global warming alarmism that fosters posts like this. Everything everything is blamed on global warming and for rational people, it gets tedious. Claims of “unprecedented storm due to warmer water and rising sea levels, all because of climate change.” If you poke around in the history here at WUWT and look at some recent (within the last 3 months) topics, you can find many references to weather being LESS, not more severe at this time. Everytime the weather sneezes is not a reason to exaggerate in order to support a failing alarmism agenda. So posts like this help me maintain perspective when the media doesn’t. Not saying the flooding won’t be a real problem, but weather has caused problems for humans since the beginning. So why is a great big honking storm nothing but normal?
Pokerguy, I like hearing that this is a “normal” big honking storm that will cause normal and predicatble damage as has been the case forever and certainly nothing new. I enjoy these types of posts for my sanity.

My only experience of this storm was when it was 200 miles from the NE coast of Florida. It was annoying as I was forced to spend my time searching for shells rather than playing in the water. There were some impressive waves even at low tide and the beach was basically inaccessible at high tide unless one was prepared to dodge large logs which came up with the extreme waves and storm surge.
What I’ve noticed about weather reporting now is that it has become far too driven by ideology. Rather than just report facts, it seems necessary to report worst case scenarios. I have to admit that the Florida TV reporting, while alarmist, didn’t mention anything about CAGW. Given that Sandy was 200 miles away from me at its closes approach, it made me wonder why so much was made of the mere 40 mph winds experienced locally? There was a local weather underground weather station and the very low barometric pressume recorded as Sandy passed made me regret that I’d chosen not to pack along a barometer with a USB interface for this trip.
Unless it affects my ability to book a flight back to Kamloops, I’d have to consider this hurricane to be an enhancement of my vacation rather than a negative effect. Noticed some very interesting wind effects on sorting of sand grains by size and weight and the shells dredged up by the high seas were definitely of greater variety than what I’m used to. Also, got into studying seeds carried by ocean currents given the large number of washed up tropical seeds that were present on the beach over the last few days.
However, had the storm headed west instead of north, I probably wouldn’t be posting this.

Theo Goodwin

Ric Werme says:
October 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm
My argument is with the MSM. They hyped it as if it were Camille. CBS and others published that it had tropical storm force wind 465 miles from the center. Preposterous. The totality of their hype was Preposterous. They should have told the truth that it would become a tropical storm at landfall or soon after. Tropical storms push around some water and they are excellent at knocking down lots of trees that are more than seventy years old. That causes power outages. But none of that takes place at the level of a hurricane. Tropical storms are tree killers. Hurricanes kill trees, buildings, streets, and everything.

Four NY hospitals being evacuated because their backup power failed/is failing, including NICU units. 5′ water in lower Manhattan. Alert issued for Oyster Bay Nuclear Facility. I don’t think it matters what the heck you call this storm, it is the damage that is the problem not the official designation.

Four NY hospitals being evacuated as their backup generators are failing or have failed, including NICU units and one hospital on fire that cannot be reached due to flooding. Does it really matter what the heck you call this storm?

wayne

The remnants of Sandy seem to be left spinning just a bit east of D.C.
This link live… it won’t last long…
http://radar.weather.gov/radar.php?rid=DOX&product=NCR&overlay=11101111&loop=yes

Dale

I’m starting to agree with the “MSM beat-up” claims.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/linkableblob/4341760/data/infographic-how-hurricane-sandy-compares-irene-katrina-yasi-data.png
Yes it’s a bad storm, but it’s not really a BAD storm.

A. Scott

[snip – flame bait – mod]

Theo Goodwin

Mitsouko says:
October 29, 2012 at 9:06 pm
Of course bad things happened because of the storm. But they are the kinds of bad things that happen in a tropical storm. At no time did the MSM say (or admit) that Sandy would be something like a tropical storm at landfall. They talked constantly about storm surge that could be expected from hurricane Sandy. As I said above, a dangerous storm surge is a tidal surge and the ocean comes on land for a while. That simply did not happen.
My argument is with the MSM. I am not calling New Yorkers cry babies. Having trees knocked down by a tropical storm and losing power for a week or two is immensely painful but it is not the kind of pain that the MSM led us to expect. They led us to expect a hurricane pushing a true tidal surge.