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Freak Storm Forced To Move West By A Blocking Pattern

Good morning bloggers,

A FREAK STORM is caught in a blocking pattern forcing it to blast the east coast! What is going on? Many eastern locations will be setting their all time lowest surface pressures ever recorded.  A major blocking upper level high has developed north of Hurricane Sandy and this blocking weather pattern is forcing Sandy to move west today and Sandy will become a major hybrid storm with a strong winter component to this land falling hurricane. Take a look at the precipitation type forecast valid tonight:

Many United States cities will likely be setting their all time lowest surface pressure ever recorded.  Take a look at this surface forecast valid at 8 PM eastern time this evening (7 PM central):

The storm will likely be making landfall this evening with a pressure of 949 mb.  949 mb is equivalent to an extremely low pressure of 28.77″ (X mb times 29.92″/1013.25 mb to make the conversion).  This storm is being forced to move inland by a blocking pattern aloft:

You can click on these next two maps for a larger view.  While Kansas City is experiencing a very long drought and another dry fall, the eastern part of the nation is going to get tremendous amounts of rain over the next 48 hours.  The flow aloft has blocked up over the northern Atlantic Ocean as you can see on this map. A strong 584 dm upper high has developed as you can see on the map to the left. This is helping force Hurricane Sandy make the hard turn, that happened overnight, to the west and she is now blasting into the coast.  A strong upper level trough and a series of waves aloft dug into the eastern United States over the weekend. This would usually have kicked the hurricane harmlessly out to sea, but instead, because of the blocking upper high that formed over the northern Atlantic, this strong wave combined with the hurricane to create this hybrid freak storm.  The air mass in place on the coast is a cool one and this is not going to be a typical hurricane coming in. The storm is becoming a hybrid storm, a very unusual combination of strength and size.

Here on the right is the satellite picture taken from 7 AM this morning.  You can see the smaller scale hurricane feature over the water and heading right into the eastern seaboard in a few hours. Hurricane Sandy will be moving over water warm enough to actually help Sandy intensify as she approaches the coast, the tropical part of this storm. The western edge of the clouds from this hybrid storm are approaching Chicago from the east.  There will likely be major power outages, wind damage, flooding, and snow.  The air is so cool near the surface as you can see on this next surface map from 7 AM this morning:

Hurricane Sandy will likely make landfall near Atlantic City, NJ. It baffles my weather mind that we are talking about a land falling hurricane with snow forming on the southwestern quadrant of this huge storm system.  Snow has already started falling on the southwestern quadrant of this freak storm system.  Cold air is developing/wrapping in from the southwest and 2 to 3 feet of snowfall accumulations are expected in the mountains of West Virginia, with locally higher totals likely.  1 to 2 feet of snow is expected across the mountains of southwestern Virginia to near the Kentucky border with up to 18 inches of snow expected in the mountains near the North Carolina/Tennessee border and in the mountains of western Maryland.  Usually a tropical air mass would be in place ahead of a tropical storm, but it is almost November and this system has no warm air near the surface as you can see that even along the coast temperatures are in the 50s everywhere.

Kansas City continues to be in a very boring pattern while this massive storm affects so many places across the northeastern United States.  We have a band of clouds streaming overhead today, but we are about to complete another dry month with way below average rainfall and nothing in sight.  Let’s see what happens to this weather pattern after the blocking pattern that has now formed breaks down. Right now, I just would like to see something exciting show up for our area.

Have a great start to the week and thank you for spending a few minutes reading the Action Weather Blog.  Our winter forecast is three weeks from tonight.  Is this weather pattern capable of anything exciting for us?

Gary

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13 comments to Freak Storm Forced To Move West By A Blocking Pattern

  • greek

    “Is this weather pattern capable of anything exciting for us?”
    Not a chance in hell.

  • f00dl3

    We won’t have any snow this year due to global warming. Last year was the last year we had snow.

    Seriously though, it’s not looking too bright for snow lovers! If we can’t get rain, how are we going to get snow?

  • Jerry

    I can’t wait to see how this FRANKENSTORM looks in the next cycle of the LRC!! #unreal. Can you imagine the snow when this thing returns in December or January! #MorePerfectStorm

    • sedsinkc

      Jerry, one thing for sure is there will not be a hurricane involved. There may be a strong nor’easter on the coast, but it won’t have a hurricane embedded in it.

  • sedsinkc

    As somewhat expected, Sandy in a strengthening phase just before landfall. Pressure down to 943 millibars, which is 27.85 inches of mercury on a home barometer. Today is a full moon and astronomically high tide this evening at 8:43 eastern time in New York very shortly before Sandy makes its NJ landfall.

  • mowermike

    For those of you that think the model data is always wrong..think again. The “models” have been rather consistent with this hurricane and now it’s coming true.

    If we didn’t have these so called “inaccurate models”, well, I guess nobody would have known that this was coming, likely causing far more destruction and loss of life.

    So, models are very important and save lives..

    • sedsinkc

      Current central pressure of Sandy at 940 millibars, 27.76 inches of mercury on a home barometer. I think both the Euro and Canadian models predicted the central pressure of Sandy around 935 to 940 millibars at landfall 4-5 days ago. Yes, the models esp. the Euro has done a great job on this storm.

  • mukustink

    Mike where are you when the models are wrong? Which are frequently.
    The timing was off by hours as it picked up speed. There is hardly any rain on the northern side of the storm which is why NY is not getting much rain. Looks like the models did ok with parts of the storm. Lets see how the next few days play out. Do you make moneu off the models? You sure do love to come on here and shout how great they are when they actually hit. :)

  • mowermike

    The storm is massive….awesome stuff….

    John, any reports from your area?? Any snow?? Snowshoe WV. could get 3′ or more. WOW!!

    Where’s that accurate winter forecast for KC?

  • blueskies

    So we are experiencing the most significant weather event in years, and the greatest hurricane forecaster to ever walk the earth, Weatherman Brad, is AWOL. It’s like Brady sitting out the Super Bowl, or Jeter going to Europe instead of the World Series.

  • Theo

    Never cared to live out East and never will. No family there either. Ho hum.

  • OlatheMatt

    When is KC ever going to get something interesting! This is awful!