I just posted the following comment over at TitusOneNine, trying to give a summary of why Hurricane Sandy is so unusual and EXTREMELY dangerous. I hope it helps people to prepare and to pray. I will try to post more prayers later…
One of the things I think people fail to appreciate with this storm is its EXTREME LOW PRESSURE.
The latest recon flight (14:00 GMT Oct 29) has just found pressure of approx 940mb.
The record low pressure for the area was previous 946mb in the “Long Island Express” hurricane of 1938. Other areas like Baltimore or Richmond, the previous record low pressures are around 960 – 970. Don’t know yet for Boston or further north, still need to research.
So basically this is like a “Category 3” or worse storm, even though it “only” has “Category 1” winds. It has the potential to do severe damage.
The other very unique thing about this storm is its massive size. Last night the hurricane was producing tropical force winds in Bermuda and North Carolina (830 miles apart) SIMULTANEOUSLY!!! Unheard of.
I *think* Sandy is now the largest storm on record in the Atlantic. (I need to verify that, but she is certainly in the top 3.)
What that means is twofold.
1) Sandy is pushing a HUGE HUGE HUGE amount of water forward. Her storm surge potential is currently estimated by the NHC / NOAA to be at a level of 5.8 on a 0 – 6 scale. WORSE THAN KATRINA.
2) There will be SUSTAINED tropical force winds over most of the area (all of NJ, NYC, Long Island, Philly, CT, etc.) for probably 24 hours or more.
Finally, it is the ANGLE OF SANDY’s LANDFALL with the coast that makes her exceptionally dangerous to NYC. She is expected to come in with a hard left turn into central NJ, thus basically coming in perpendicular and continuing W – NW. That is nearly unheard of, and what it will mean is that she will push a massive wall of water NORTH into NY Harbor & Long Island sound.
This is quite a combination of “worst-case scenarios” I’m afraid. ANYONE IN A FLOOD ZONE needs to take extreme precautions and heed any evacuation orders!!
I’m not an expert, but I’ve been a hurricane geek for nearly 40 years, and I’ve been monitoring this storm nearly non-stop since Friday afternoon.
Please pay attention to NHC and NWC and local officials. But please believe me that this is a storm that must be taken extremely seriously!