Sandy--Where are we today? A Historical Look at Tropical Forecasting
The state of Sandy's world this morning...
Sandy brought snow, as forecast, to a good part of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and as far west as Ohio and up through Michigan. She swirls slowly across the map on her trek north into Canada where a snowstorm in October belongs.
Maybe Sandy was dressed up as a Hurricane for Halloween, because she's got everything but the mask and cape as she transforms back and forth from Hurricane to Extra tropical to Superstorm to Remnant Low.
She has a lot of costumes and names, but the end result is always the same with Sandy.. death, destruction and misery.
Fires are still smoldering and new fires pop up and need to be put out again. Gas leaking keeps starting fires as I understand it, though why it wasn't shut off I don't understand... I mean they shut off the electric in places.. but the point is... the same Sandy did this that did the destruction above as I predicted she would days ago.
There is a feeling where I grew up that no matter how much science is involved in the forecasting of these wonders.. hurricanes have a nature from day one. Some barely avoid land, never make landfall even when it's just a matter of miles and go out to sea; big wind machines, but not deadly wind machines. Others like Georges despite all logic and keep going west and hitting land even when forecast to turn away and curve away to the north.
Case in point...they said Hurricane Georges in 1999 would turn before the islands, in the islands, before Hispaniola and then before Cuba.. but it kept on going. As my daughter Dina said while watching TWC during a Tropical Update, "it's not turning don't they see that? It's going to keep going WNW" and she was right.. it did. Across more real estate in the Caribbean than the track the NHC forecast originally. I say originally, because in real time they change the track. We can look back and say "oh we know so much more" but I am sure ten years from now we will wax poetic on why Sandy hit NJ and didn't hit NY going into New England . . .
Here is a list of just a few disastrous Hurricanes, many that hit multiple countries, islands, cities and caused death where ever they went and in the end had their names retired. The list is recent and doesn't include the Great Hurricanes of the 1800s, 1700s, 1600s all the way back to the days of Columbus.
Some 'Canes have a "taste for blood" as they say in the Islands and Miami IS the Capital of the Caribbean and we are raised with the knowledge of the old great forecasters who studied hurricanes in Cuba. They used science merged with history with a respect for hurricanes beyond the logical giving them more personalization than we do as they are La Tormento and they rain mucho tormento down on the the land and the people. The word torment goes back the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada who invented new ways to torment people... much the same way that Hurricane Sandy keeps finding new ways to torment us with rain, floods, winds, snow and we can only wonder what else she has up her Hurricane Halloween costume sleeve.
Definition of torment:
I doubt anyone knew more about Hurricanes and their torment than Father Benito Vines. Well, let me preface that with "in his day" as today we have men like William Gray who have taught a generation of forecasters. But, in his day Father Benito established a way of obtaining information from observers that helped him piece together information and doing as close to a Vulcan Mind Meld with hurricanes than any other meteorologist has ever dreamed of doing. In the history of tropical meteorology, Vines was an explorer on the level of Christopher Columbus and Magellan.
The link above it for the Galveston hurricane, but the greater link tells more tales on Father Benito Vines.
Another great article on this amazingly, accurate forecaster.
Hurricanes are made up of wind, barometric pressure, upper air currents, updrafts and downdrafts, up moist, down dry and massive amounts of energy traveling vast distances bringing the power of nuclear bombs along in their path across the globe. The winds often do less damage than the storm surge. Hide from the wind, run from the water.
The most horrible damage from Sandy was the water...surging inland, knocking down fences, houses and lifting up cars, boats and trains and depositing them inland as the tormentous tide covered barrier islands where people lived, worked and played.
Sandy brought torment to the Jersey Shore which is no longer just a TV Show or a Musical, but now a Real Life Drama being played out on CNN, TWC and FOX non-stop everywhere as all eyes are on Sandy's aftermath.
And, the world is watching as this link from Australia shows:
There is much we don't understand still about hurricanes from a meteorological view and a combined geological view as several times in history earthquakes have coincided with landfalls. Not often, but enough to make one eye brow go up and go "Hmmmmmn" as was the case in Charleston in 1886 when they suffered a Category 3 Hurricane and then an epic Earthquake in the same year.
Was it just bad karma or was there a connection between a fault line about to go and the air pressure and the pressure of the water that helped create the second knock out punch of the Earthquake of 1886.
In 1737 in Calcutta there were reports of an earthquake and a hurricane, however many feel the damage was from the hurricane. Depending on which report you read you get a different answer.
In Jamaica there have been multiple reports of earthquakes associated with tropical weather nearby or over head. Old reports, but ones that created damage and drama akin to Hurricane Katrina in our day.
How do things stand today?
Well, geologically there was a quake in Arkansas and Upstate New York and there's a lot of minor shaking going on in California today.. probably loosely connected to the large quake in Alaska. A small quake on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.. note earlier in the week there was a small quake in North Carolina. Just posting this more as a trivia based concept than a real one. As a lover of Earth Sciences I love to watch the Earthquake feed as this beautiful blue and green planet we live on goes shake, rattle and roll every day.
She is gone as a tropical storm, though more a winter weather maker now as seen from this beautiful satellite imagery from the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
On the radar we can see her remnants moving across the country as she dips down and lifts north.. the same way she did that dip down in the Caribbean.
You might want to look through my archives back to August of 2011 and how compare and contrast the hype, the result and discussion on Hurricane Irene as she headed to NYC. I always felt she was more "wet" and big than windy. And, she was wet..and her floods brought death from floods far away from Coney Island Beach. Sandy was stronger and Sandy's storm surge was almost double that of Irene. And, Sandy did the damage that most feared Irene would do. So, my question is... after having a hurricane track all the way to NY as in the "worst case scenario" and "it will happen one day" fear mongers always say... were the people of the same area prepared for Hurricane Sandy just one year later? Or did they think "Fuhgedaboutdit" and went on with their lives thinking it was random and wouldn't happen again? Shouldn't Hurricane Irene have taught us that it will happen and that it could happen and to be better prepared than they were for Sandy in NY and New Jersey? I am impressed with the way Christie handled the aftermath of Sandy so far...however why wasn't he as aware that this could have happened when it almost happened last year and indeed.. New Jersey suffered massive losses from inland flooding from a hurricane just LAST year?
Well? I want an answer.. and I don't think any answers will be forthcoming as people want to believe it will never happen to them or in their lifetime.
Why does he sound surprised in this quote from an interview with CNN?
"Gov. Chris Christie told CNN, “I have never seen devastation like this in my life. Not here in New Jersey. You know, you see sights like the Seaside Heights boardwalk, where the program ‘The Jersey Shore’ is filmed, the boardwalk is gone. It is gone. Amusement rides, a roller coaster, a log flume, in the ocean. It's incredible. Homes destroyed. It's an awful thing.”
Why? Hurricane Irene should have been their wake up call?
A shame the ghost of Father Benito Vines could not have called him using a Ouija board the way his observers sent him warnings to warn Governor Christie as well as Mayor Bloomberg that Hurricane Sandy was indeed a Tormento way stronger than Hurricane Irene ever dreamed she could be.
Much to think on... much we should have thought on before and I wonder does anyone but me and my best friend Sharon watch TWC shows "it will happen one day" .....
I'll write more later on the ongoing drama in New Jersey, but I have lived in New York.. my kids live there and it is my second home town ... a part of my heart is always in Crown Heights at 770 Eastern Parkway.
Ps.. Sometimes you got to understand Spanglish to understand my English ;)
Two musical links...one very new, crisp and modern and a bit spooky and one old school.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDW_kZUHIJg <--- and="and" imagery="imagery" p="p" sounds="sounds" wild="wild">
Journey, After the Fall ---->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxdzVqEOdAY--->