What started out partially as a joke about the fear-mongering over potential Snor'eastercane Sandy has turned out to be less humorous as the most recent official forecast from the National Hurricane Center now follows the European model guidance and shows it landfalling on the East Coast between North Carolina and Cape Cod.
Before everyone panics, let's just reiterate that the "cone of uncertainty" shows a wide area of possible impact and, depending on where it lands, you could get wildly divergent weather conditions. It could be The Perfect Storm… but worse. Or it could just be rainy and windy for much of the East Coast.
Let's start with the NHC's own guidance:
THE TRACK MODEL GUIDANCE CONTINUES TO TREND TOWARD A NORTHWESTWARD TURN AS SANDY INTERACTS WITH AN AMPLIFYING SHORTWAVE TROUGH OVER THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES. HOWEVER...THERE REMAIN SIGNIFICANT DETAIL DIFFERENCES IN REGARD TO THE TIMING OF THIS INTERACTION AND WHERE THE NORTHWEST TURN WILL OCCUR. THE ECMWF AND GFDL MODELS SHOW A QUICKER TURN...BRINGING THE CENTER INLAND BY DAY5. MUCH OF THE REST OF THE GUIDANCE SUGGESTS A MORE GRADUAL TURN
WITH THE CENTER STILL OFFSHORE AT 120 HOURS. THE NHC FORECAST HAS BEEN SHIFTED WESTWARD AT DAYS 4 AND 5 AND LIES ABOUT HALFWAY BETWEEN THE ECMWF AND THE GFS ENSEMBLE MEAN AND CLOSE TO THE ECMWF ENSEMBLE MEAN.
The ECMWF is the European model on the GFS is another, usually accurate, model.
Here's the WSJ's Eric Holthaus with some fun predictions:
Should the storm make landfall north of New York City, coastal flooding would be minimized but several inches of snowfall could drop on the region. With leaves still on the trees in New York City and Long Island, tree damage and power outages would be increased. If the storm makes landfall south of the five boroughs, that would mean the city is in line for Sandy's worst effects: storm surge, wind and heavy rains.
Since model averages prefer a landfall solution near the tri-state region, there's really nowhere for the storm to go anymore that would spare us at least some type of impact.
And, just for fun, a note from Hurricane HD:
And...if this forecast track to the north was to verify, the remains of Sandy would force warm air north, and cold air south, bringing an unusual story of warm rain to Boston, and potentially snow to the mid-atlantic. Well - snow in the mountains — let's not get too excited!
There is, of course, still a chance it goes out into the Atlantic thus quashing the snowpocalyptic slushy wet dreams of weather nerds everywhere.