Tuesday 11:15 a.m.
This video shows how the weather should behave in the aftermath of Sandy:
Stories, accounts, memories and nightmares associated with Sandy will be told for a long time. It has been an epic storm. The utter devastation in the New York City area looks like it came out of a movie, except the set is real, as is the suffering.
The storm will continue to weaken slowly during the next few days as it drifts to the northeast along with the upper-air storm that "captured" it. It was in some ways a repeat of the October 1991 Perfect Storm, except Sandy came ashore; the Perfect Storm did not.
I just got off the phone with one of our key radio group in West Virginia (Metro Radio News), and we were talking about the heavy snow in their mountains. In parts of Tucker, Pocahontas and Randolf counties, higher elevations have been buried by 3 feet of heavy, wet snow. They had interviewed a couple from D.C. who had decided to "drive west to get out of the way of Sandy" and wound up stuck in the West Virginia snowstorm.
At Chicago, the National Weather Service office said their "south buoy" in Lake Michigan had recorded a tie for second place for the highest wave ever recorded there... just over 20 feet.
With the disaster declarations, President Obama has again joined with his predecessors dating back to the 1920s in federal disaster assistance. The first widespread deployment of such assistance began at the insistence of Herbert Hoover (in advising President Coolidge) in the wake of the great Mississippi River Flood of 1927. Hoover's work and leadership during that flood was said to help his bid for the presidency the following year.
As of 11 a.m., Sandy was centered southwest of the middle of Pennsylvania, as shown on this pressure map.
This map shows the split flow that is predicted to be in place on New Year's Day. Note how the flow reaching northern Pennsylvania originates far north in Canada, whereas to flow aimed at Virginia comes from Mexico.
The maps I searched for were from December 1960. I was 13 and was thoroughly overjoyed when Philadelphia got 14.6 inches on Dec. 11 and 12. Schools were closed for three days, something that did not happen again until the Blizzard of January '96.
At midnight, the temperature will be in the 50s to low 60s from Virginia to Southern New England... more like late spring than Christmas time. Meanwhile, cold air will be advancing into western parts of Pennsylvania and New York, driven by strong winds. Earlier, this "cold" air mass looked like it would be more potent than it has turned out to be. This map shows the pressure pattern and some temperatures at 9 a.m.
Temperatures are likely to be in the 50s from Boston to Washington, D.C., during the nighttime hours of Christmas Eve. Dry chillier weather will arrive during Christmas Day, with dry weather lasting until at least Saturday.
This picture, which may or may not have been taken very recently, has a red dot near the North Pole. I cannot confirm that a red dot is there on the ground or that it means anything. We will monitor the area for any signs of activity and advise everyone to maintain the spirit of being nice and not naughty.
Rain with areas of fog should spread from Virginia to New Jersey Monday or Monday night then spread into New England for Tuesday. From the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania into the interior of New England this could at least start as snow or ice. The GFS for 1 AM New Year's Day looks interesting. See the map below. Whether or not this storm develops and where it will snow or rain cannot be precisely predicted two weeks in advance using these models.