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Frankenstorm Sandy Freak Weather Phenom
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 However, things are different now with no low pressure which in fact, has been replaced by a high pressure system so intense, the formula it only occurs approximately 0.2% of the time on average.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 August.


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Oct 26, 2012


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