TRACKING SANDY: Monday morning update

Posted at 8:24 AM, Oct 29, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-29 13:04:59-04

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As of early Monday morning, Hurricane Sandy is a little stronger than last night, with maximum sustained winds now up to 85 mph. Sandy is starting to turn northwest this morning, preparing for landfall this evening northeast of Virginia.

As a negatively tilted upper-level trough influences Sandy, the storm is beginning to respond by turning from the north to the northwest this morning. This will lure Sandy toward a Monday night landfall in southern New Jersey.

However, the Tropical Storm force wind field extends outward from the middle of the storm radially by about 500 miles! Sandy is the perfect example of a storm where the eye's landfall hundreds of miles away from central Virginia doesn't mean we will be spared significant impacts. Instead,Sandy's outstretched arms will whip from Maine to the Mid-Atlantic, pulling in colder air from the Midwest and Great Lakes regions, producing wind gusts as high as 60 to 70 mph in parts of the Commonwealth, and leading to heavy rainfall and even heavy snow.

The strongest winds will likely occur from sunset Monday through sunrise Tuesday.

Between the combined forces of the pressure gradient associated with Sandy, the Full Moon and several High Tide cycles, and the onshore surge, there will be significant coastal flooding along the Bay, the Eastern Shore, and all of Virginia's beaches and near-Bay waterways. Many locations are already 3 to 4 feet higher than average.

By the time Sandy-related precipitation moves north of the Commonwealth, we could have accumulated enough rain to close our year-to-date rainfall deficit for Richmond.

I mentioned earlier colder air wrapping into the system from the northwest. This colder air will allow for snowfall to reach the ground in central Virginia, including in Richmond, between Midnight at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Heavy snowfall accumulations are likely in the mountains of western Virginia and in much of West Virginia. But any snow that falls east of the Blue Ridge will likely melt minutes after landing.

Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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