Paul Pastelok (our lead long range forecaster at AccuWeather.com) and myself are currently out in Colorado for a long range/climate change conference being run by the Climate Prediction Center. Hopefully the weather will not cause any delays tomorrow on our way back home.
During down times between lectures, we have been closely following the overall pattern across North America and how it will eventually impact Sandy.
One camp of models allows Sandy to escape east into the Atlantic later this weekend with minimal impact along the U.S. East Coast and Atlantic Canada, while a second camp of models merges Sandy with a large trough coming in from the central U.S. to form a massive hybrid ocean storm this weekend and turns the storm toward the Middle Atlantic or Northeast coast with potentially devastating consequences for coastal communities and beaches (beach erosion/flooding/wind damage) and inland flooding.
Right now, I favor the worst of the storm staying south of Quebec/Atlantic Canada.
I am not too keen on the snow idea that some models show over the Appalachians as cold air will be lacking, though I guess it is possible in the highest elevations.
Based on known forecast model biases and strengths, I currently lean more toward the northwest turn toward the coast than the "out to sea" idea.
There is also a blocking pattern to the north and the initial trough will be exiting away from Sandy, which does not favor an escape out to sea to the east.
It is still early in the game and until the storm gets north of Cuba there will be high uncertainty with the track. Once it gets closer to the Bahamas, we should have a pretty good idea where this is going.
Regardless of the track, we know that there is going to be tremendous waves/swells up and down the Eastern Seaboard from this weekend into early next week with dangerous rip currents. Certainly not a time to take a cruise to Bermuda or the Bahamas (Dramamine anyone?)
I will be monitoring the situation and you can follow my tweets on twitter @BrettAWX
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My latest thoughts on the weather pattern into next week
When will the cold leave the East? More storms for the West?