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.
The reason for this is a growing and then stalling storm aloft. This map shows the predicted circulation around the storm on Wednesday evening, showing how the moisture could keep going round and round until the storm leaves.
This mornng, showers were moving across the lower Great Lakes region. A band of thunderstorms developed near Chicago before 6:30 a.m. CT and reached the southwest Michigan shoreline an hour later (8:30 a.m. ET). The following maps show the shower zone and Chicago area lightning.
The tropics have been more active recently. This map shows various entities that area being tracked and analyzed. Hurricane Gonzalo stands out clearly.
A couple of days ago, the storm entering the East had a stronger circulation than it does now. Here is the pressure analysis from earlier this morning. Several minor disturbance can be seen, and trough lines representing those have been sketched on the map. Note that there is little difference in temperature from western Pennsylvania to Wisconsin.
The rain band is only 100-200 miles wide, but it is moving slowly. This map shows its location at 10 a.m. today. Once the main rain band passes, it won't be quite as warm as it was when the rain started. However, by mid-October standard, it will still be mild.
On some days, there are so many "little things" that it is difficult to identify the players. Today, we see two systems dominating: the low pressure area on the left (west) and the high pressure area to the right (east). The cold front associated with the low pressure area is helping to support bands of rain.