A major nor’easter will impact the region devastated by Hurricane Sandy this coming week.
Based on the latest data and forecast model guidance, it is clear that a strong low pressure system will develop off the southeast US coast and head north, bringing wind-whipped precipitation to a region that definitely doesn’t need it. The forecast specifics still need to resolve over the next day or two, but it appears several hazards will present themselves to the region:
-Strong, potentially damaging winds are possible, especially for coastal New Jersey, the New York City metropolitan area, Long Island, and coastal southeastern New England. 30-50mph sustained winds are possible in this area with gusts of 40-70mph possible. Winds of this magnitude could stress an already weakened infrastructure that exists in this area, taking additional trees/wires down. More power outages are possible. Strong gusts may also occur inland, although not nearly on the same scale and strength as they did during Hurricane Sandy.
-Heavy precipitation is likely. While heavier precipitation fell over the Mid Atlantic area from Sandy in places like MD/DE/VA, it is likely the heavier precipitation from this storm will set-up over the NYC metro region and southern New England. Some local flooding could occur from heavy precipitation. Especially in Rockaway where all the sewage drains are blocked with sand.
-Coastal flooding: dunes and seawalls once protected shore communities from storm surges. Had it not been for Sandy, this new storm would cause just localized coastal flooding. But with the dunes and seawalls damaged or destroyed, it’ll be a lot easier to flood out low-lying coastal areas devastated by Sandy. Evacuation orders remain, and in some NJ towns, a mandatory forced evacuation order exists. Unlike Sandy, this new storm will be striking at a time of lower lunar-influenced tides. The windfield from this system will also be far smaller than Sandy and as such a storm surge should be minor, measured in a few feet rather than a few yards as was the case with Sandy.
-Precipitation type: Models disagree with the amount of cold air that could be tapped into this system. Some solutions do yield wintry conditions as close to the coast as Philadelphia and New York City while most call for rain along the I-95 corridor and the potential for heavy snow inland in the Poconos, the Catskills, and most of interior southern New England. This too could be an area of concern: heavy wet snow may bring down weakened limbs and/or wires, creating additional power outage problems.
Even the most ominous forecast solution for the upcoming week is no where near the intensity and severity of Hurricane Sandy. But because the area is so much more vulnerable to bad weather than ever before, it’s important for us to pay close attention to the forecast and prepare for the possibilities of additional storm damage. The added threat of wintry weather and colder temperatures is also something to factor in, especially in areas that lack electricity and/or heat.
As currently forecast, conditions would degrade across the Hurricane Sandy impact area on Wednesday with the storm arriving on Thursday. While some forecast models suggest the storm will slow or stall, the storm should exit the northeast by Friday.