For the latest on next week's storm, monitor my Facebook Page, our Hurricane Center for Sandy's track, and watch our news story and blogs, many of whom are talking about the storm. See also my blog from Monday talking about historical precedents to October "superstorms."
A morning forecast model image gave every meteorologist who saw it a sick feeling in their gut:
What it showed was a 932mb (Strong Category 4) Hurricane plowing into the mid-Atlantic coast, like nothing seen in modern history. If that were to hit at that strength, it would break low pressure records across the mid-Atlantic; major damage would be widespread.
But how likely is that as a solution? Historically speaking, not very. The map below shows the tracks of all storms (that once were hurricanes) in October, November and December since 1900. None of these storms made landfall in the Northeast. (Henry found an (Extra) Tropical Storm that followed a similar track in 1923).
Furthermore, no Oct/Nov/Dec storm that had ever reached Category 3 has made landfall north of North Carolina* since 1900 (source; shown below) - in fact no storm in any month after 1900 has maintained at least Cat 3 status anywhere close to the NE coast, except for Esther in 1961. *I had erroneously said "Florida" before; there was one storm, Hazel in 1954, which made landfall north of Florida - near the NC/SC border.
Fortunately, the GFDL model later changed its track to be off the coast, but there are still models showing landfall. Monitor the links at the top of this entry for future information.
As much as 27 inches of rainfall has closed I-95 in South Carolina, as well as nearly 400 other roads and 165 bridges!
Over 17 inches of rain fell near Columbia, South Carolina just last night!
The extreme rain continues today, with the Carolinas in the cross-hairs. This one could be a 1,000 year event.
Hurricane Joaquin rapidly strengthened into a monster storm overnight -- this changes everything.
Will Hurricane Joaquin be the next "Isabel" or "Sandy?" Does it even matter?
It's not a matter of "if" but "where" the flooding footage you'll see on the news later this week will be from.