Hurricane Sandy may become one of the worst storms in history for the New York/New Jersey area as the storm track runs just south of the region.
Current tracking information shows Sandy hitting somewhere between Delaware and northern New Jersey some time late on Monday with sustained winds up to 90 mph and guts of up to 115 mph. The center of the track is currently on New Jersey – a track that puts the northeastern side winds of the storm into the lower bay area near New York. This is expected to produce a record-setting storm surge in the New York Harbor.
Weather conditions are coming together that are likely to produce a monster storm with high wind, rain and possibly snow possibly causing a multi-billion dollar disaster for the city that never sleeps.
Sandy is likely to mix with a winter storm that is currently charging in from the west and a blast of cold air coming in from Canada. The combination will cause major problems for wherever it lands.
A major concern is the expectation of widespread power outages just as an arctic blast of cold air joins Sandy. Cold temperatures and no electricity could make things much more difficult on emergency preparations and personnel.
Marshall Moss, vice presient of forecasting at AccuWeather said that the storm will impact millions of people causing billions in damage. Moss estimated that outages could last several days or even weeks.
The “Right Hook”
As cyclones rotate counter-clockwise, their rotation moves massive amounts of water. That rotation will cause an offshore flow on the west and south sides of the storm and a huge storm surge towards land on the northern and eastern sides. The current track for Sandy is directly at New Jersey which puts the right side of the storm (the northern side) going right into the New York harbor and up the Hudson river. This is the dreaded “right hook” scenario for New York city.
The financial district and travel infrastructure in New York city could be threatened as the surge may push water straight up the Hudson river and into New York city causing subway, school and business closures on a large scale.
As the NOAA surge probability map to the right shows (click for larger image), there is a greater than 90% chance of significant storm surge for the New York/New Jersey area (purple shading). Current predictions are for the storm surge in New York Harbor to be up to 11ft – a surge that Gov. Cuomo says “is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.”
A weather service bulletin says that the storm surge in New York Harbor will be “life-threatening”:
HURRICANE SANDY INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 26A NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL182012 800 PM EDT SUN OCT 28 2012 ...SANDY EXPECTED TO BRING LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGE FLOODING TO THE MID-ATLANTIC COAST...INCLUDING LONG ISLAND SOUND AND NEW YORK HARBOR... ...WILL BRING COASTAL HURRICANE WINDS AND HEAVY APPALACHIAN SNOWS...
Hurricane Sandy Current Track Map (updated 5pm Monday)
New York City
New York is in full emergency mode as the mayor announced on Sunday that 370,000 residents in the low-lying areas of the city, known as “zone A“, were being ordered to evacuate. If you want to find out if you are in the evacuation zone, you can use New York City’s “zone finder” HERE.
New Jersey has ordered the evacuation of the barrier islands.
The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel is being evacuated.
Camden county library system to be closed on Monday.
Gloucester County offices closed Monday and Tuesday.
Delaware’s Governor Jack Markell ordered the evacuation of about 50,000 people in the state’s coastal region.
University of Delaware classes cancelled for Monday. Students and staff urged to leave.
DART fixed-route bus and paratransit services suspended until further notice.
SEPTA regional rail service will not operate in New Castle County.
Mass transit and regional rail service would shut down beginning at 7pm on Sunday and city bus service will stop at 9pm. PATH trains to be shut down at midnight. Closure are likely to last until Wednesday.
New York City public schools will be completely closed on Monday and likely Tuesday.
The New York Mercantile Exchange, NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange will close floor trading and electronic trading on Monday and possibly Tuesday. Previous reports had said that electronic trading would remain open.
All bridges and tunnels into or out of Manhattan Island are now closed.
Atlantic City casinos will be closing at 3pm on Sunday. New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie has ordered the closure of all state offices on Monday and that NJ transit will start shutting down at 4pm on Sunday. Public schools will be closed on Monday.
All state parks are now closed.
Federal and city offices will be closed on Monday. This includes the U.S. Capitol and visitor center.
New York and New Jersey residents are being urged to take precautions as high winds are expected to last anywhere from Sunday night to Tuesday afternoon. Sustained high winds are expected to knock down trees and power lines resulting in widespread power outages across the area.
FEMA recommends 3-4 days of supplies for a Hurricane, but local officials are asking residents to stock up to ten days worth of non-perishable food and water.
Ready.gov says that before a hurricane, residents that don’t evacuate should use the following as guidelines.
To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kitand make a family communications plan.
- Know your surroundings.
- Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
- Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
- Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
- Make plans to secure your property:
- Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
- Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Install a generator for emergencies.
- If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.
- Consider building a safe room.
Hurricanes cause heavy rains that can cause extensive flood damage in coastal and inland areas. Everyone is at risk and should consider flood insurance protection. Flood insurance is the only way to financially protect your property or business from flood damage. To learn more about your flooding risk and how to protect yourself and your business, visit the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (NFIP) Web site,www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419. For more detailed information on how you can protect your property, view NFIP’s printer-friendly handout Avoiding Hurricane Damage.
This image was captured by NASA’s GOES-13 satellite at 9:02am Sunday morning.