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Author Topic: Risk of Historic Northeastern Storm Early Next Week  (Read 5974 times)
Nate Cohn
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Posts: 13


« on: October 25, 2012, 04:03:23 PM »

I didn't think I would need to write this post, since the situation is so unusual and I've never seen anything like it. But the computer models have reached a consensus that Hurricane Sandy and an unusually strong extratropical low will combine to produce a hybrid storm of unprecedented size and intensity, exceeding the strength of 1991's Halloween storm, better known as the "Perfect Storm." I'd bore you with the details, but let it suffice to say that the combination of the storm's size and strength create the real possibility of winds exceeding 60 mph lashing the northeast... for days.
If you want an illustration: here's a nice picture of one computer model:
http://a.yfrog.com/img560/5113/nxc.png
Unlike the Perfect Storm, which mainly disrupted poor fishing boats as it meandered across the northwest Atlantic, many (although not all) computer models forecast a landfall in the northeast. There are disagreements about the exact location of landfall (which could range from the Delmarva peninsula to Maine, with a chance of heading out to sea), but the sheer size of the storm makes the exact location of landfall far less relevant than it is for a traditional hurricane.
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at3+shtml/203625.shtml?5-daynl?large#contents
The timing of the storm's landfall is difficult to gauge, since it depends, at least in part, on the storm's path. If the storm goes further south, Boston could miss the worst and avoid anything too disruptive until Tuesday. But if the storm takes a more northerly route, the storm's size could lead to deteriorating conditions as early as Sunday night or Monday morning.
I know much more about Hurricanes than airline cancelation policy, so I don't know when or if flights would begin to be canceled. But if success dooms you to a Tuesday departure, prepare for the possibility that your flight could be delayed, perhaps even for days. Those that have the opportunity to reschedule their flights for earlier on Monday (or switch from Tuesday to Monday) or even Sunday should probably do so. As mentioned earlier, the storm's size ensures that the outer-rain bands and gale force winds will reach the coast long before the actual center of circulation.  
Please do your own research before making any decisions. New models come out all the time and if you have time to wait before making any decisions, you may as well wait for more information. If the storm goes further south, everyone could make it out. As you know, weather forecasting is imprecise and plagued with uncertainty. But the risk of a historic hybrid-cyclone is now high enough to justify preventative measures to avoid being grounded in Boston, if any are at your disposal.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 04:08:21 PM by Nate Cohn » Logged
BrianDeLong
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Posts: 152


« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2012, 10:58:23 AM »

Can we have weather man Joe Koehle read this aloud in front of a green screen?

I would also like a live video update from the front lines if possible. None of that video + voice over. If he's not standing in the storm, it's not worth taping.

Thx
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 11:00:53 AM by BrianDeLong » Logged
hardyat
Jr. Member
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Posts: 69


« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2012, 11:13:08 AM »

For those of you lacking some context...

Nate is quite possibly even nerdier on the subject of hurricanes than he is on the election. I spent many years listening to his private competition with the National Weather Service on all sorts of hurricane prediction metrics. Score: Nate infinity, NWS 0.

You should not disregard this post as a friendly "weather.com recommends a jacket" FYI. When Nate Cohn says you should try to get out of Boston, you get the hell out of Boston...

hardy
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Nate Cohn
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Posts: 13


« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2012, 01:23:33 PM »

FWIW: the models have come into better agreement on a more southerly path into the lower mid-Atlantic, but there are still a few outlying models to the north. As a result, Boston is less likely to receive the worst than it was at this time yesterday, but I'd still reschedule earlier if you have the option.
http://derecho.math.uwm.edu/models/al182012.png
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dylanquigley
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Posts: 28


« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 10:44:40 AM »

Though the effects of Sandy seem likely to be far worse south of Boston, it does seem possible that power outages will be widespread due to high winds (http://www.boston.com/news/weather/weather_wisdom/2012/10/hurricane_sandy_and_noreaster.html). If you expect to be here though Tuesday with the possibility of being delayed further, it might be smart to make a trip to the grocery store. It seems likely that the few dining option near the hotel will be closed due to the storm anyway but an extended blackout in a foodless hotel room would stink.
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