Frankenstorm Sandy Freak Weather Phenom|
Computer models from the National Hurricane Center are showing the wrath of
Hurricane Sandy may be so intense, it could break 100-plus year weather records
for the most intense pressure readings ever recorded throughout nearly all of
the Mid-Atlantic region - northward into New York City and Long Island. The
National Hurricane Center on Friday said a tropical storm watch is in effect for
parts of Florida and North Carolina as Hurricane Sandy churned through the
Bahamas on a path for the U.S. East Coast early next week. Sandy, now a Category
1 hurricane with sustained wind speeds near 80 miles per hour. Sandy is expected
to bring 1 to 3 inches of rain across the Florida Keys into east-central
Florida, with isolated maximum rain of up to 6 inches. Rainfall totals of up to
4 to 8 inches are forecast for North Carolina. Hurricane Sandy, a Category 1
hurricane referred to as 'Frankenstorm' since it is expected to have the
heaviest impact over Halloween, is roaring up the East Coast of the U.S.,
heading directly for New England. According to the NHC on Friday, Sandy is
expected to potentially wreak havoc on the financial centers as well as travel
infrastructure in New York, with heavy winds and rain expected on the U.S. East
Coast early next week. As history has it, every hurricane that has ever hit the
New York area, from last year’s Hurricane Irene, the Long Island Express of 1938
and to the “Perfect Storm” of 1991 - would all rank below this storm in
intensity and damage, should current models of the atmosphere pan out. Right now
there is no clear evidence from weather records and the best available
number-crunching simulations of the atmosphere simply were not designed for this
scenario. Normally, when a hurricane approaches the East Coast from Sandy’s
angle, they are pulled safely out to sea by a semi-permanent low-pressure center
near Iceland. However, things are different now with no low pressure which in
fact, has been replaced by a high pressure system so intense, the formula it
only occurs approximately 0.2% of the time on average. The coincidence of that
strong of a high pressure 'block' being in place just when a hurricane is
passing by in and of itself, is a very rare weather phenomenon. This phenom is
the kind of stuff that is important enough to rewrite meteorological textbooks.
So, instead of Sandy heading out to sea, the full force will be turned back
against the grain and directed squarely at striking the East Coast. To top it
off, an intense early-season snowstorm moving eastward out of the Great Lakes
will provide an additional boost of energy to Sandy as it approaches the East
Coast shore, broadening its wind field, strengthening its rainfall and waves and
increasing its destruction potential. This weather phenom is truly a
Frankenstein scenario of a hybrid of weather badness that will potentially come
alive, early next week. The Hydro-meteorological Prediction Center, the same
folks at the National Weather Service that gave Sandy its 'Frankenstorm' name,
have had to manually adjust their official forecasts to tone down the
exceptional scenarios that the weather models are currently showing - that is
extremely frightening. A positive note to this entire Frankenstein scenario is
that weather models can change. While there remains few days away before Sandy
reaches New England, new model paths provided from future Hurricane Hunter
flights before the National Weather Service goes in full bore with an
unprecedented forecast. For the time being, it is imperative that residents from
D.C. to Boston remain especially vigilant and begin to take preparations to make
sure they and their families are safe. Because 'Frankenstorm' is expected to be
so huge, the only reason its exact landfall location matters relates to the
direction of the winds. Everyone from D.C. to New England will feel some type of
effects, but because hurricanes rotate counter-clockwise, those north of the
center will have massive amounts of seawater directly deposited on their shores.
For residents south of the center of storm impact, the storm’s circulation will
actually be pushing flooding seas away from shore, lessening potential impacts.
Should the storm continue on its current path with the NHC most likely landfall
is now centered in southern New Jersey, as the phrase goes, all bets are off for
the five boroughs. The latter scenario, which is the one that now appears most
likely to occur, would have many feet of ocean water funneled into New York
Harbor over a period of up to 36 hours. Sandy may actually be in the process of
strengthening when it makes landfall which could result in incredible amounts of
damage for coastal residents as well as, critical infrastructure. Keep in mind
that Irene was only inches away from flooding subway tunnels in Lower Manhattan.
Storm-surge forecasts for this scenario haven’t been officially released yet,
but in a worst-case scenario, six to 10 feet of storm surge in the city, is not
out of the question. According to a Climate Central interactive analysis, that
result would put the homes of nearly 700,000 people, underwater. Add to that
waves of 10 to 20 feet on ocean-facing shores, and an additional foot or so of
tidal influence from the full moon, we could be dealing with catastrophe
damages. Should the center of the storm make a direct strike on New York City,
the city may actually be spared some of the more serious coastal impacts from
the storm. Should Sandy veer further north of its current track and make
landfall right over the city, storm surge could be dramatically lessened, though
the city could receive about double the amount of rainfall, up to a foot or
more. “There’s still some uncertainty on the track of it, but it’s certain that
whatever’s going to happen it’s going to be a strong storm that will impact
millions of people,” Henry Margusity, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather,
said on Thursday. “The big potential with this storm is widespread power
outages,” he said. “We’ll have trees coming down, and coastal flooding. The
storm has the potential to really mess things up.” Travelers between Monday and
Wednesday may encounter delays at airports and other transportation problems, he
said. Wall Street and a huge cluster of some of the largest cities in the U.S.
currently lie in the path of Sandy. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the
Big Apple has activated its Office of Emergency Management situation room.
U.S. Commerce department reported preliminary government estimate on Friday that
the U.S. economy grew 2.0% during Q3, fueled by higher consumer and government
spending plus, more home building. Consumer spending, which has the biggest
impact on GDP, rose 2.0% in the July-to-September period, compared to 1.5%
during Q2. Real final sales of U.S. made goods and services advanced 2.1%,
compared to 1.7% in the previous three-month period. Government spending jumped
3.7% for the biggest increase since mid-2009 mainly because of higher defense
outlays. Investment in housing surged 14.4%; net imports, which subtract from
GDP, fell 0.2%; exports dropped 1.6% and business investment outside the
residential sector fell 1.3% striking the biggest drop since late 2009. As
measured by the consumer PCE index, inflation rose 1.8% or 1.3% excluding food
and energy. Real disposable income climbed higher by 2.6%, but that was down
from a 3.8% increase during Q2 and personal savings rate fell to 3.7% from 4.0%.
The University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters final reading for consumer sentiment
moved lower to 82.6 from an initially reported 83.1. The reading is the highest
level seen since September 2007, up from 78.3 in September and from 74.3 in
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Oct 26, 2012