October 23, 2012
Sandy will likely have an impact on the Outer Banks
By IRENE NOLAN
tropical depression in the southwest Caribbean Sea became Tropical
Storm Sandy late yesterday and will likely be a hurricane in the next
day or so.
The National Hurricane Center forecast track takes
the storm over Jamaica and eastern Cuba and into the northern Bahamas
The official track then curves the storm more north
and northeast out into the Atlantic, but that track is far from certain
at this point, according to forecasters. The storm could move in a more
northerly direction right along the coast.
Either way, the Outer Banks will likely see some effects from Sandy.
think we will get some impacts,” John Cole, warning coordination
meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in Newport, N.C.,
said this afternoon.
“There is a lot of uncertainty,” Cole said. “It will depend on how close it gets.”
storm, he said, is also projected to be a large one and may become
extratropical as it moves up the coast. Extratropical storms have
cold cores rather than warm ones, and the result can be a much larger
The possible impacts, Cole said, could
be coastal flooding, gusty winds in excess of 40 mph across
the waters and along the coastal sections, building waves with the
possibility of high surf conditions from Cape Hatteras north, and an
increased rip current threat. There could also be moderate rainfall.
expects the Weather Service in Newport will begin issuing local hazard
weather briefings tomorrow. They are available on the website, http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/mhx/.
an e-mail to Hatteras friends today, Frank Rosenstein, who recently
retired as a meteorologist at the Hydrometerological Prediction Center
in Maryland, compared the possible path of the storm to Hurricane Noel
in November 2007.
Noel passed well offshore of Hatteras but whipped up huge waves and brought winds that gusted over 50 mph. on Nov. 2, 2007
was coastal flooding at the S-curves north of Rodanthe and on Pea
Island. Five feet of sand and water kept Highway 12 closed for 24
hours from Friday, Nov. 2, into Saturday, Nov. 3.
is a turnover days for most rental cottages, there were huge traffic
jams as visitors tried to leave the island and get here for their
reservations for the next week.
Cole said he thinks the Outer Banks will see the greatest impact from Sandy on Sunday into Monday.
Weather Channel’s website says that the pressure gradient between Sandy
and high pressure in the northeast U.S. will lead to increasingly
strong winds over the Florida Peninsula, spreading northward to the
Outer Banks of North Carolina and Virginia Beach through at least
“Rip currents, high surf, and, eventually, some
coastal flooding are possible in areas of the most persistent onshore
flow,” the Weather Channel site said this afternoon. “Bands of showers
on the outer periphery of the circulation may occasionally wrap into
the coast, as well.”
The Weather Channel then presents two scenarios for Sandy.
Scenario Number 1:
potential track takes Sandy or the so-called “post tropical remnant
low” of Sandy on and an east-northeastward bend soon after leaving the
This would essentially keep this cyclone separate
from an approaching upper-level trough in the polar jet stream and its
associated surface cold front.
In this scenario, the cyclone
would head toward Bermuda, or the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean,
with relatively little impact along the remainder of the Eastern
Scenario Number 2:
this scenario, a new area of low pressure could form off the New
England coast early next week, bringing at least some rain to that
area. This would be separate from the wrapped-up "post-Sandy"
Another track scenario is much more ominous for the East Coast.
this case, a so-called "blocking pattern" in the upper levels of the
atmosphere over the Atlantic is so strong that it would not allow the
storm to turn east into the open Atlantic, but, rather, drive northward
just off the East Coast.
Furthermore, the upper-level trough in
the polar jet stream we referred to above would provide an additional
turbo-charged boost to this low, producing an intense East Coast storm!
winds, heavy rain, coastal flooding and beach erosion would ride up the
Northeast seaboard early next week, in this scenario. Of course,
the high winds would extend inland, with the potential for downed trees
and power lines.
This scenario could even wrap in just
enough cold air on its western edge to produce wet snow, possibly
heavy, in some areas of the eastern Great Lakes and Appalachians!
Eerily, this would take place around the one-year anniversary of
the "Snowtober" snowstorm.
In any case, residents and visitors should keep up with local weather statements and be prepared for wind and wave impacts.
any luck, Sandy will be more like Noel – without the coastal flooding
but with great wind and waves for surfers, windsurfers, and
To see a slide show of the effect of Noel at the S-curves:
Windsurfing in Hurricane Noel: http://islandfreepress.org/Archives/2007.11.05-SailingHurricaneNoelDoc.html
Surfing in Hurricane Noel: http://islandfreepress.org/Archives/2007.11.07-SurfingHurricaneNoel.html