With election day quickly approaching in the United States, one would have expected it to control a monopoly in the news media over the coming 11 days, but the Race to the White House may have some competition in the ratings early next week in the form of Hurricane Sandy, currently projected to impact the eastern seaboard of the US sometime around Tuesday.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Sandy is currently a Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds of around 80 mph. Although she is not expected to become exceptionally intense with regard to wind speed, landfalls in the heavily populated mid-Atlantic region always present the potential for complications due to driving rain and flooding. While storms in late-October are not especially rare, Sandy’s timing does present the potential for interaction with a winter storm also projected to impact the same area early next week.
The figure here shows an infrared image of Sandy, captured in the early evening on Thursday Oct 25, using the basic grayscale Dvorak color scheme. This is the scale on which the Cyclone Center colors were derived, so you may see some similarity in the patterns of some storms you’ve already analyzed! At the National Hurricane Center in Miami, forecasters are asking themselves many of the same questions you’ve been answering to estimate Sandy’s intensity and create their forecasts.
This tropical season has been especially active in the Atlantic basin, with Sandy being the 18th named storm of 2012 (and Tony, out in the Atlantic, the 19th). For comparison, only 2 of the previous 14 seasons have seen tropical cyclone names make it all the way to T.
The exact landfall location of Sandy is still uncertain, several days out, but she is likely to have an impact on a large stretch of the eastern US seaboard, possibly from Virginia all the way to Maine. If you live in those areas, stay informed, and be prepared! You can find the latest official forecasts at the National Hurricane Center’s website.
In the meantime, happy classifying!