Meteorologists are now saying that many models are showing Tropical Storm Sandy will head off to sea after becoming a hurricane before reaching New England early next week, but there are still some models that show it could turn toward the east coast.
It’s still too early to know for sure.
The National Hurricane Center is predicting Sandy will become a category 1 hurricane on Wednesday when it hits Jamaica.
On his weather blog on the 7News website, Chris Lambert said the storm will likely head for open waters of the Atlantic after hitting the Bahamas later this week, but it’s still early and there is a shot it may head toward New England and hit this area on Monday or Tuesday of next week.
These models are relying on a very usual set-up that, in part, rarely verifies a week down the line. That set-up would be the northern branch of the jet stream coming down and collapsing across the eastern 1/2 of the country with a rush of much colder than normal air all the way into the Deep South. In this case, the steering winds that is the jet stream, would capture Sandy and draw it back toward the coastline. As Sandy phases with the jet stream, it transitions into a power ocean storm that takes on more non-tropical characteristics with an expanding wind and rain field. It's the phasing part, and bringing the storm back that would be the most usual part that rarely verifies.
Lambert added it is still too early at this point to accurately gauge Sandy’s impact on the area, but it is something to watch.
“I don't want to be dismissive on it as there are some plausible arguments for this solution given the overall pattern,” he added.
The following is from a press release from the National Weather Service in Taunton:
Tropical Storm Sandy will slowly move northward across the Caribbean, making its way into the Atlantic off the Southeast U.S. Coast by the weekend, potentially impacting Southern New England by early next week.
A significant impact to Southern New England remains uncertain since its potential effects are nearly a week away. If Sandy becomes an issue the main concerns will be for heavy rain, strong winds, and coastal flooding early next week.
Regardless of the track, this will likely be a major storm for offshore mariners with strong winds and high seas. At this point, there are three main possibilities for Southern New England outlined below:
Scenario 1: Sandy passes well southeast of the Benchmark (40N and 70W) with little fanfare across Southern New England. The only significant impact would be high seas over the open ocean. This scenario still would have a major impact to the offshore marine community with strong winds and high seas.
Scenario 2: Sandy takes a track closer to the Southern New England coast, but we avoid a direct hit. This scenario would result in a period of heavy rain and gusty winds. This would be similar to a strong Nor’easter that affects our region a few times a year during a typical winter. There could be some minor fresh water flooding from heavy rain. In addition, minor coastal flooding and beach erosion would also be possible during the time of high tide. Finally, a period of strong winds could result in some downed tree limbs and isolated power outages given that many trees are still fully leaved. This may be a greater concern in Southeast New England, where trees still have most of their leaves.
Scenario 3: Sandy would make landfall somewhere across Southern New England early next week. This would be a very significant storm across southern New England. That may include heavy rain/fresh water flooding, strong damaging winds, along with significant coastal flooding. This would result in potentially widespread power outages and tree damage. The potential for winds to gust to hurricane force would be a possibility. Heavy rain could result in moderate to major urban and river flooding. Moderate coastal flooding may occur along with severe beach erosion. The potential for this system to impact our region remains at least 6 days away. Therefore, we must keep all options on the table from a track out to sea or a potential direct hit with a very significant impact. No matter where the storm tracks, this will be a dangerous storm for offshore mariners with high seas and strong winds.