Saturday Update: What to Expect from Sandy

We are now only three days away from Sandy’s northeast United States landfall, and the impacts to New England are finally becoming more clear.

As I’ve said for days, the coast will take a battering from this storm. Aside from that, the biggest risk I see is from the wind. We won’t be breaking wind records, but the gusty conditions will be so widespread that power outages are quite likely.

Overview– Sandy is a very large storm. Tropical Storm force winds extend up to 450 miles from its center, which means no matter where the storm hits in the northeast, millions will be impacted by it. As of now Sandy is most likely to make landfall in New Jersey Monday evening or in the wee hours of Tuesday.

Our Weather, Sunday– Clouds will be in place Sunday, and northeast winds will pick up as the day goes on. This will be especially true along the coast, where winds will be in the 20-30 MPH range by day’s end. Inland, winds will be in the 10-20 MPH range.

Our Weather, Monday– Periods of downpours will begin Monday morning. Winds will continue to increase during the day. By afternoon winds will be out of the northeast in the 35-45 MPH range along the coast, and 25-35 MPH inland. Keep in mind that there will be higher gusts, likely in the 50-75 MPH range along the coast and 35-50 MPH gusts inland.

Our Weather, Monday Overnight– Winds will likely peak late Monday before the storm makes landfall. Overnight expect winds to flip to the southeast and gradually weaken to 30-40 MPH along the coast and 20-30 MPH inland. Again, there will be higher gusts. Rounds of tropical downpours will continue.

Our Weather, Tuesday– South to southeast winds will remain busy, but not as strong as Monday. Speeds will be down to 20-30 MPH along the coast and 10-20 MPH inland. Occasional downpours will persist, but should lighten by afternoon.

Our Weather, Halloween– Occasional showers will continue, but I’m hopeful they will become less numerous by Trick or Treat time. I am concerned, however, that there will be numerous downed trees and potentially power lines as well.

Coastal Flooding– Sandy will kick up 25 foot seas offshore, and onshore winds will push some of that water towards the coast early next week. That will result in the potential for coastal flooding.

Sunday Night: High tide on the South Shore is around 11:30 PM. With increasing winds, expect a 0.5-1′ storm surge on top of the normal 9-10′ tide. That will result in minor coastal flooding for typically vulnerable areas.

Monday Morning: High tide occurs around 11:35 AM. Winds will continue to increase, and surge values will likely increase to 1-2′ along the east facing coast. Add that to the nearly 10′ tide and there will be widespread minor to moderate coastal flooding.

Monday Night: The high tide will occur just after midnight Monday into Tuesday. With the largest surge of the storm, on the order of 2-3′, this is the tide cycle I’m most worried about. I would expect widespread areas of at least moderate coastal flooding.

Tuesday Midday: The midday high tide will likely feature less of a surge, but with continued rough seas another round of minor to moderate coastal flooding is expected.

Rainfall– We will be on the windy side of this storm, so the rainfall won’t be as big of an issue. A widespread 1-2″ will fall around the area. Where storm drains are blocked by leaves, be alerted for flooding on roadways.

Final Preparations–

> Boats and loose objects outdoors, especially on the coast, need to be secured by Sunday.

> All residents should have batteries, generators, non-perishable food, and water for at leats three days. Widespread, extended power outages are likely.

> Clear storm drains of leaves and pine needles to avoid street flooding.