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Tropical Depression 18L has formed in the Caribbean, a few hundred miles south of Jamaica. Intensity is 25kts currently, and 18L should strengthen quickly over the next few days as shear is low and waters very warm. 18L could approach hurricane strength as it moves towards Jamaica, so this cyclone needs to be watched closely. 18L is currently in a weak steering environment but models are consistant in bringing 18L across Jamaica and Eastern Cuba over the next few days, then possibly on to the Bahamas.

Edited by Somerset Squall

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18L has become Tropical Storm Sandy with sustained winds now at 35kts according to recon which have just investigated the system. NHC continue to forecast Sandy to peak just below hurricane strength but there is every possibility of Sandy reaching hurricane strength before making landfall on Jamaica. Sandy is currently moving little but a trough north of Cuba should pull the storm north-northeastwards soon.

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Sandy is strengthening. Winds are up to 45kts currently. As SB has mentioned, the convection is very deep at present and this is not surprising given the toasty waters and abundant moisture availability in the region. Sandy still has the potential to go through a rapid intensification phase. Not good news at all for Jamaica, Eastern Cuba or Hispaniola.

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One to watch. Not only for Jamaica/Cuba but also once it clears Cuba. ECM has this turning towards and smashing into the eastern seaboard as a sub 940mb LP. GFDL/GFS take it out to sea fortunately but forecasters shall be watching this very closely indeed.

NHC are saying:

THE INTENSITY FORECAST BECOMES MUCH MORE COMPLEX AFTER THE CYCLONE EMERGES NORTH OF CUBA. WHILE ALL OF THE DYNAMICAL GUIDANCE SHOW STRONG SHEAR OVER SANDY...THEY ALL ALSO SHOW A SIGNIFICANT FALL IN THE CENTRAL PRESSURE AND AN INCREASE IN THE SIZE OF THE WIND FIELD. THIS APPEARS TO BE DUE TO BARCLINIC ENERGY FROM INTERACTION WITH THE MID/UPPER-LEVEL TROUGHS...AND IT IS LIKELY THAT SANDY WILL LOSE SOME OF ITS TROPICAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE PROCESS. THAT BEING SAID...NONE OF THE GUIDANCE SHOWS THE CYCLONE ACTUALLY BECOMING EXTRATROPICAL DURING THE FORECAST PERIOD.

Edited by samkeep

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Looks like parts of the NE USA are possibly in for one hell of a storm next week.

http://t.co/jMHy7wOi

If the ECMWF is to be believed there would be some mega blizzard conditions inland with high wind speeds and intense PPN. Snowfall us in the UK would rarely if ever experience.

http://t.co/6MO1BUAf

That is a very very intense storm.

GFS has it further west but still a very strong storm with damaging winds and severe snowfalls inland.

http://t.co/Nql9SmYv

Places like New York look in the firing line currently. Something to keep an eye on, especially if you have family & friends in the area.

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Oh dear, this isn't good. Sustained winds are currently 70kts but I feel Sandy is getting much stronger, I expect a rise in winds next update. Jamaica's getting battered.

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Sandy made landfall a few hours ago and the eye is now moving across eastern Jamaica. Pressure has fallen to 970mb, but the winds have not responded and are still at 70kts. The eye will emerge off the north coast of Jamaica soon and Sandy will then make a second landfall, this time in eastern Cuba. The landmass of Jamaica has done little to the structure of Sandy, so Sandy will at least maintain strength or even intensify slightly prior to the second landfall.

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Sandy is making landfall in Eastern Cuba. The hurricane has intensified over the short passage between Jamaica and Cuba and is now a 95kt category 2 hurricane. Sandy's small eye is clear to see crossing the Cuban coast. Damage and flooding rains are pounding Cuba currently, but are easing in Jamaica.

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Hybrid of Sandy, Winter Storm Threatens East Coast

Much of the U.S. East Coast has a good chance of getting blasted by gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and maybe even snow early next week by an unusual hybrid of hurricane and winter storm, federal and private forecasters say.

Though still projecting several days ahead of Halloween week, the computer models are spooking meteorologists. Government scientists said Wednesday the storm has a 70 percent chance of smacking the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean, an early winter storm in the West, and a blast of arctic air from the North are predicted to collide, sloshing and parking over the country's most populous coastal corridor starting Sunday. The worst of it should peak early Tuesday, but it will stretch into midweek, forecasters say.

"It'll be a rough couple days from Hatteras up to Cape Cod," said forecaster Jim Cisco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prediction center in College Park, Md. "We don't have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting." It is likely to hit during a full moon when tides are near their highest, increasing coastal flooding potential, NOAA forecasts warn. And with some trees still leafy and the potential for snow, power outages could last to Election Day, some meteorologists fear. They say it has all the earmarks of a billion-dollar storm.

Some have compared it to the so-called Perfect Storm that struck off the coast of New England in 1991, but Cisco said that one didn't hit as populated an area and is not comparable to what the East Coast may be facing. Nor is it like last year's Halloween storm, which was merely an early snowstorm in the Northeast. This has much more mess potential because it is a combination of different storm types that could produce a real whopper of weather problems, meteorologists say. "The Perfect Storm only did $200 million of damage and I'm thinking a billion," said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private service Weather Underground. "Yeah, it will be worse."

But this is several days in advance, when weather forecasts are far less accurate. The National Hurricane Center only predicts five days in advance, and on Wednesday their forecasts had what's left of Sandy off the North Carolina coast on Monday. But the hurricane center's chief hurricane specialist, James Franklin, said the threat keeps increasing for "a major impact in the Northeast, New York area. In fact it would be such a big storm that it would affect all of the Northeast."

The forecasts keep getting gloomier and more convincing with every day, several experts said.

Cisco said the chance of the storm smacking the East jumped from 60 percent to 70 percent on Wednesday. Masters was somewhat skeptical on Tuesday, giving the storm scenario just a 40 percent likelihood, but on Wednesday he also upped that to 70 percent. The remaining computer models that previously hadn't shown the merger and mega-storm formation now predict a similar scenario. The biggest question mark is snow, and that depends on where the remnants of Sandy turn inland. The computer model that has been leading the pack in predicting the hybrid storm has it hitting around Delaware. But another model has the storm hitting closer to Maine. If it hits Delaware, the chances of snow increase in that region. If it hits farther north, chances for snow in the mid-Atlantic and even up to New York are lessened, Masters said.

NOAA's Cisco said he could see the equivalent of several inches of snow or rain in the mid-Atlantic, depending on where the storm ends up. In the mountains, snow may be measured in feet instead of inches

http://abcnews.go.co...43#.UIjryrJlREM

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Edited by Coast

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Hurricane Sandy, strengthening rapidly after crossing the warm Caribbean Sea, slammed into southeastern Cuba early on Thursday with winds of 177 kilometres an hour that cut power and blew over trees across the city of Santiago de Cuba.

A Cuban television reporter, reporting by telephone from the communist island’s second largest city, held the phone up to a window so viewers could hear Sandy’s roaring winds that he said had left the city “completely dark†and created a “very tense†situation. He said the Category 2 storm had toppled many trees across the city of 500,000 people situated some 750 kilometres southeast of the capital Havana.

The National Hurricane Center said in Miami at 5 a.m. EDT, Sandy was preparing to move off Cuba’s northeastern coast. The eye of the storm came ashore just west of the city with waves up to nine metres and a two-metre storm surge that caused extensive coastal flooding, Jose Rubiera of the Cuban weather service said in a television report. Heavy rains were falling throughout the storm-stricken region, with forecasters predicting 15 to 30 centimetres for most areas and as much as 50 centimetres in isolated places.

Mr. Rubiera said Sandy had intensified rapidly as it neared land fueled by 31 Celsius waters on its way from Jamaica, struck earlier in the day by the storm when it was still at Category 1 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale. A Category 2 storm has winds between 154 and 177 km/h, leaving Sandy within a whisker of becoming a Category 3 hurricane. The National Hurricane Center in Miami reported gusts up to 183 km/h, but Rubiera said a weather station on the Gran Piedra, a mountainous outcropping near Santiago de Cuba, had a gusts up to 245 km/h. At least 55,000 people had been evacuated ahead of Sandy, Cuban officials said, principally because of expected flooding.

Forecasters said the storm, moving north at 30 km/h, would cross the island within a few hours, heading toward the Bahamas, where hurricane warnings have been posted for the southeastern Ragged Islands. A tropical storm warning along the Florida east coast has been extended northward to Flagler Beach and a tropical storm watch has been issued for the northeastern Florida coast from Fernandina beach southward to north of Flagler Beach. The storm would maintain much of its intensity as it marches across Cuba, the hurricane centre said.

“After a slight jog to the north-northeast very early this morning ... Sandy appears to have resumed a northward motion ... and this general motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours or so,†it said. Sandy was not expected to enter the Gulf of Mexico, where the United States has extensive oil and gas installations. The Cuban government suspended flights to and from eastern Cuba, along with bus and train services in the area. Nearly 1,000 tourists were taking shelter in their hotels, officials said.

Officials put agricultural products including sugar and coffee into warehouses out of harm’s way. Almost 3,000 Cubans working on the coffee harvest in Santiago de Cuba were sent home. In Holguin province, processing plants for Cuba’s main export nickel continued operations, Cuban television said. Cubans battened down the hatches as the storm approached.

“The weather is getting very ugly,†said 45-year-old self-employed worker Esteban O’Reilly in Santiago de Cuba. “I’ve lit a candle to the Virgin of Charity, the patron saint of Cuba, to ask that Sandy not do much damage.†Student Elizabeth Cusido, 23, said the storm was more than she could bear. “The only thing I can do is close my eyes and hope that nothing happens,†she told Reuters. “I have tremendous fear of the winds and floods.â€

At the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, electricity was out and all but emergency workers were confined to quarters, said a Reuters reporter at the base to cover war crimes tribunals. In Jamaica, Sandy earlier caused widespread power outages, flooded streets, damaged homes and led to at least one death. A police official said a man died under a crush of stones that fell from a hillside as he tried to get into his house in a rural village near Kingston, Jamaica’s capital. Computer models generally forecast that Sandy would steer clear of the U.S. East Coast, but some showed it could pose a risk to the U.S. Northeast early next week.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/strengthening-hurricane-sandy-slams-into-cuba/article4650719/

http://youtu.be/-QXBIwifQUg

http://youtu.be/n2-WN3O0WZM

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The Bahamas are getting battered now, and Sandy is still a cat 2 with sustained winds of 90kts. Eastern Cuba has reported a fair amount of damage and flooding from Sandy. Of concern now is an intense feeder band moving over vunerable Haiti at present, the rain from this will likely cause some severe flooding here. Next concern is the eastern seaboard of the USA; as Sandy interacts with a trough it will start to lose tropical characteristics but is forecast to deepen considerably as there is a lot of baroclinic energy to tap into.

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My brother's stuck in Nassau in the Bahamas at the moment! Will try and relay anything I hear from him on the ground there at the moment as Sandy passes through.

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Holy onions!

to possible outcomes

The Northeast U.S. scenario

If Sandy makes landfall farther to the north near Maine and Nova Scotia, heavy rains will be the main threat, since the cold waters will weaken the storm significantly before landfall. The trees have fewer leaves farther to the north, which will reduce the amount of tree damage and power failures compared to a more southerly track. However, given that ocean temperatures along the Northeast U.S. coast are about 5°F above average, there will be an unusually large amount of water vapor available to make heavy rain. If the trough of low pressure approaching the East Coast taps into the large reservoir of cold air over Canada and pulls down a significant amount of Arctic air, the potential exists for the unusually moist air from Sandy to collide with this cold air from Canada and unleash the heaviest October rains ever recorded in the Northeast U.S., Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. This Northeast U.S. scenario would probably cause damages near $100 million dollars.

The mid-Atlantic U.S. scenario

Landfall Monday along the mid-Atlantic coast on Monday, as predicted by the ECMWF and NOGAPS models, would likely be a billion-dollar disaster. In this scenario, Sandy would be able to bring sustained winds near hurricane force over a wide stretch of heavily populated coast, causing massive power outages, as trees still in leaf fall and take out power lines. Sandy is expected to have tropical storm-force winds that extend out more than 300 miles from the center, which will drive a much larger storm surge than its winds would ordinarily suggest. The full moon is on Monday, which means astronomical tides will be at their peak for the month, increasing potential storm surge flooding. Fresh water flooding from heavy rains would also be a huge concern. Given the ECMWF's consistent handling of Sandy, I believe this mid-Atlantic scenario has a higher probability of occurring than the Northeast U.S. scenario. However, it is likely that the models are overdoing the strength of Sandy at landfall. The models have trouble handling the transition from tropical storm to extratropical storm in these type of situations, and I expect that the 940 mb central pressure of Sandy predicted at landfall Monday in Delaware by the ECMWF model is substantially overdone.

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2273

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The Bahamas are getting battered now

http://youtu.be/YZgnypGTPAM

Hurricane Sandy drenches the Bahamas, leaves 21 dead in Caribbean

Hurricane Sandy pounded the Bahamas with battering winds and rain on Friday, sweeping over the island chain after killing 21 people across the Caribbean and posing a menacing threat to the U.S. East Coast.

Forecasters warned the late-season storm is expected to combine with a polar air mass near the United States next week, potentially producing a highly unusual and potent storm that could wreak havoc along the U.S. East Coast. Late Thursday, Sandy weakened to a Category 1 storm as it tore though sparsely populated low-lying southeastern islands in the Bahamas, knocking out power and blowing off rooftops of some homes.

Sandy's torrential rains and heavy winds were blamed for the deaths of 21 people. The Cuban government said on Thursday night that 11 people died when the storm barreled across the island, most killed by falling trees or in building collapses in Santiago de Cuba province and neighboring Guantanamo province. Haiti's civil protection office said nine people died even though the country did not suffer a direct hit from Sandy, and one person was killed by falling rocks in Jamaica when the storm struck there on Wednesday. The Cuban deaths were an unusually high number for the communist island which prides itself on protecting its people from storms by ordering mass evacuations. Winds and rains generated by Sandy were also being felt in south Florida.

Early Friday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sandy was about 55 miles southeast of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas and packing maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour (140 km per hour). Sandy is forecast to remain a Category 1 hurricane as it continues to move over the Bahamas on Friday, sending swirling rains and winds across several hundred miles. In the Bahamas, government officials warned residents to stay indoors until the storm passed. There were no immediate reports of casualties or serious injuries. On Long Island, in the southeast corner of the Bahamas island chain, Joel Friese, general manager of the Stella Maris Resort, said Sandy was fierce as it cut across the island on Thursday.

"It was way stronger than we expected," he said by telephone. "There are lots of downed trees and partial to heavy roof damage on some of the buildings." The Bahamas Electricity Corporation, which supplies power to most of the Bahamas, said Sandy had caused power outages on several islands. Sandy was expected to move past the Bahamas by Friday evening and head north off the U.S. coast.

Forecasters say Sandy is expected to be pulled in by another storm system moving from the west, making it come ashore in the northeastern United States late Monday or early Tuesday and unleashing heavy rains, storm surges and possibly near hurricane-force winds. Weather trackers say the hardest-hit areas could span anywhere from the coastal Carolinas up to Maine, with New York City and the Boston area potentially in harm's way. "There are many questions surrounding this hurricane and its forecast, but I find it important to convey that Sandy's impacts will be widespread, no matter the location of landfall," Jeff Masters, a hurricane expert at private forecaster Weather Underground (www.wundergournd.com), wrote in a blog. He said a landfall by Sandy along the Mid-Atlantic coast could trigger "a billion-dollar disaster."

Amid final preparations for the crucial November 6 presidential election, the storm could hit an area of New England where Hurricane Irene caused severe damage last year. Unlike Irene, which caused billions of dollars in damage as it battered the Northeast in August last year, Sandy is forecast to be a weaker storm but will be moving slower than Irene, likely bringing more rain and increasing its potential for damage, weather forecasters said. At $4.3 billion in losses, Irene ranks as one of the 10 costliest hurricanes, adjusted for inflation and excluding federally insured damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group.

Sandy is expected to hit the United States during a full moon, increasing the flood potential since tides will be at or near their highest.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/10/26/us-storm-sandy-hurricane-idUKBRE89N16J20121026

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Bryan Norcross on just how unusual this storm is.

Isn't it strange that a hurricane in the Bahamas would somehow turn into a monster mega-storm and slam into the Northeast at the end of October? Aren't hurricanes supposed to weaken as they move north over cold water? What the hell is going on?

The answers are... yes, yes, and we're not completely sure. This is a beyond-strange situation. It's unprecedented and bizarre. Hurricanes almost always bend out to sea in October, although there have been some exceptions when storms went due north, but rarely. No October tropical systems in the record book have turned left into the northeast coast.

The strong evidence we have that a significant, maybe historic, storm is going to hit the east coast is that EVERY reliable computer forecast model now says it's going to happen. The only way we can forecast the weather four or five days days from now is with the aid of these super-complex computer programs run on supercomputers. The two best, the European and the U.S. GFS (Global Forecast System) run by NOAA, are now in reasonable agreement that there IS going to be an extraordinarily unusual confluence of events that results in a massive storm.

The upper-air steering pattern that is part of the puzzle is not all that unheard of. It happens when the atmosphere gets blocked over the Atlantic and the flow over the U.S. doubles back on itself. Sometimes big winter storms are involved.

The freak part is that a hurricane happens to be in the right place in the world to get sucked into this doubled-back channel of air and pulled inland from the coast.

And the double-freak part is that the upper level wind, instead of weakening the storm and simply absorbing the moisture - which would be annoying enough - is merging with the tropical system to create a monstrous hybrid vortex. A combination of a hurricane and a nor'easter.

At least that's what the models are saying. And since all of the independent models are saying something similar, we have to believe them and be ready.

For most people being ready means getting to the store and getting stuff before everybody else gets wise and gets the stuff first. The forecast is for an incredibly widespread and long-duration windstorm, meaning power will likely be out for an extended period of time in a lot of locations.

A transistor radio is your best friend in a situation like this. Get one and enough batteries to keep it going. Your cell phone may or may not be your friend after a big storm.

For people near the coast, it's critical that you pay attention to local evacuation orders and emergency information. This storm, as forecast, will create dangerous and potentially life-threatening storm surge along hundreds of miles of coastline north of where the center comes ashore. Big storms move a lot of water, and this one is about as big as they come.

Right now, it looks like the storm center will land between the Delmarva and New Jersey, which would put the entire Tri-State area of NJ, NY, and Connecticut on the bad side of the storm. The Jersey Shore, Long Island, and New York City itself would be exposed to the brunt of the storm surge due to the "L" in the coastline at NYC. The angle and duration of the wind will keep the water high for an extended period of time, if this comes together as forecast. This means transportation disruptions and widespread coastal damage.

If the storm comes in farther south, the Delmarva, Delaware Bay and maybe the Chesapeake will be at risk. A storm the size that's forecast would cause problems throughout New England as well, even if the center is south of New York. And then there is the threat from flooding rain and the extremely heavy snow well inland.

To make all this worse along the coast, the moon is full on Monday, meaning the high tides will be higher yet.

The hope we have is that the computer models are not handling this unusual situation well, and are predicting a stronger storm than we get. But, we can't bet of it. Even a weaker version will likely mean a nightmare for millions.

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/bnorcross/show.html?entrynum=18

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