Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Hurricane Earl Forecast: Storm Increasingly Likely for New York"

We have the five-day track projections after the jump. Note that the headline use of "Storm" does not mean a dirrect hit on NYC, a topic we've looked at a couple times over the last few years.
From the Wall Street Journal's Metropolis blog:
Meteorologists around the tri-state — along with anyone planning weddings and other events this weekend — likely have another sleepless night ahead as Hurricane Earl continues churning toward the east coast. While the storm’s final path is still far from certain, the tri-state could possibly see a major storm make landfall this week — something that hasn’t happened in a decade.

As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Hurricane Earl was spinning furiously near the Turks and Caicos Islands with sustained winds of 135 mph after rapidly intensifying yesterday from a Category 1 to a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Hurricane watches have also been posted for coastal North Carolina. Over the next 48 hours, the hurricane will traverse the warm waters of the Gulf stream before a likely landfall on North Carolina’s Outer Banks sometime Thursday as a Category 3. That said, any westward deviation could spell trouble down the line for Greater New York, which hasn’t experienced a direct storm hit since Hurricane Gloria struck the region in 1985.

Here’s a not-unlikely scenario:
Wednesday afternoon: Tropical storm watches are posted from the Northern Jersey Shore to Islip, Long Island, with hurricane watches posted for the South and Central Jersey Shore and Eastern Long Island.
Thursday afternoon: Officials close local beaches as six to 10-foot waves begin to batter the coast. (This is also the time when surfers, and the TV crews that ogle them, turn out in force.)
Friday morning: Tropical storm-force winds begin to affect the southern Jersey shore.
Friday afternoon: Conditions rapidly deteriorate in South Jersey while heavy winds and rain enter the New York metro area. (Those who hold tickets to Friday’s U.S. Open matches, consider yourself warned.)...MORE
From the National Hurricane Center:

Coastal Watches/Warnings and 5-Day Forecast Cone for Storm Center

Click image to zoom out – Download GIS data
Other images: 5-Day track off3-Day track off3-Day track on [Image of 5-day forecast of predicted track, and coastal areas under a warning or a watch]

Sedimentary evidence of hurricane strikes in western Long Island, New York
More on the Possibility of a Hurricane Striking New York City
And referenced in the Metropolis post:
Experts say it's only a matter of time before a major hurricane
Imagine the following: It's a beautiful Labor Day weekend. Sunny, cloudless, 80 degrees. Backyard barbecues are fired up all over the metropolitan area, and the beaches of New York City, New Jersey and southern Long Island are jam-packed with bathers. The only sign that something unusual is happening is the relatively big waves rolling up on Coney Island. It's a surfer's paradise. Mike Lee isn't enjoying the long weekend. For the last two weeks, Lee, the Director of Watch Command at New York City's Office of Emergency Management, has been observing a series of weather systems form off the western coast of Africa, organize themselves into the familiar swirling pattern of tropical storms, and line up like airplanes coming in for a landing on the Caribbean. One of those storms, a category-4 monster hurricane with sustained winds of 140 m.p.h., is violently churning the ocean 350 nautical miles off the coast of Georgia.

A hurricane like this one can usually be counted on to curve eastward and die a harmless death over the Atlantic. But with a large area of high pressure hovering just off the east coast, the computer models at the National Hurricane Center in Miami are largely in agreement: This one is heading north, tracking a direct hit on New Jersey somewhere north of Atlantic City. Like the legendary "Long Island Express" of 1938, the fastest-moving hurricane ever recorded, it's moving quickly....MORE