Movie trailer: “These storms have collided. You’re going to run right into this thing. Are they okay? No one knows. Call it the perfect storm.”
That movie made a dozen years ago was the real tale of a boat crew caught in a huge storm that combined with Hurricane Grace in 1991. It caused $200 million dollars in damage and killed 13 people.
Chris Hebert is a hurricane expert with Houston-based Impact Weather and says Sandy looks very similar, a storm that’s losing its tropical characteristics as it heads north.
“A tropical storm, a tropical storm/hurricane, has a central core of very intense winds and has the potential to strengthen very, very quickly. A sub-tropical storm is what Sandy is transforming into right now. It loses those central core squalls and the wind field expands significantly. It’s actually not uncommon this time of year, but it’s certainly uncommon to have this kind of storm moving into the northeast U.S..”
Herbert says the biggest problem will be Sandy’s massive wind field, which could spread several hundred miles and cause big power problems in the nation’s most densely populated areas.
“I think that has the potential of producing greater power outages than we’ve ever seen with any storm across the United States, which was set by Irene last year and Ike in Houston a couple of years before that. It has the potential to cause major power outages, not necessarily structural damage to buildings. This is going to be the 40-50-60 mph winds that takes down tree limbs and trees.”
Herbert says Sandy’s formation doesn’t mean the Texas Gulf Coast is any danger of a late-season hurricane. He says the jet stream is digging down into the Gulf and keeping storms off the East Coast.
Sandy Approaches U.S. East Coast
An animation of satellite observations from Oct. 24-26, 2012, shows Hurricane Sandy crossing eastern Cuba and moving through and exiting the Bahamas. This visualization was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., using observations from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite.
Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project