Friday 9 AM
Sandy continues to threaten the Northeast, and in the area where is comes ashore, there will be damaging winds knocking down trees and cutting power, flooding rain and, at the coast, a dangerous storm surge. Time of that is crucial, because we will be close to the time of the full moon, and range between high tide and low tide is greatest then. This map shows the track forecasts of a wide variety of computer models. Why the differences? Each one has its own way of ingesting data and handling the intricate math associated with second order nonlinear differential equations. A big problem is we simply do not have data for every place in the atmosphere.
This video discusses where the storm is heading now, what should happen next, and what some of the effects will be. Unfortunately, this kind of storm can affect millions and cost billions.
We always look back at our previous forecasts to try to learn from episodes in which we believe we could have done better. The following satellite picture shows dry weather today in just the area that originally looked like it would have more rain.
In other words, while late summers in Phoenix have gotten wetter during the last few years, Boston has become drier. Is there anything more momentous or general that we can say about this?
This enhanced infrared satellite picture shows the cold front in the Northeast and the moisture wrapping around Odille on the southwest part of the map.
Across the Central and Northern states, thunderstorms are less common at this time of year than in late spring and summer. One area that has had more thunderstorms than usual recently is across the Desert Southwest.
Last week, I mentioned that longer range computer models were suggesting a major warmup by next weekend. More recent runs have backed off on the that idea. However, there is extreme uncertainty beyond the next 7-10 days. This can be seen by looking at the following map.
n the forecast office, we often track cold fronts with pressure maps like these. The examples are from 4AM and 10 AM today. You can see that the northern part of the front is moving more quickly than the southern end. The arrival of the front signals the start of the cooling trend that is spreading east.