Jesse Ferrell

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Sandy the Superstorm? History Says No

October 24, 2012; 12:29 PM ET

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.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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About This Blog

Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.