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Though Models Differ, Storm Likely to Impact Coast

European weather model depicting Hurricane Sandy’s landfall somewhere off Delaware’s Atlantic coast. (Photo: Cliff Mass Weather Blog)

What would George Clooney say about the approaching Hurricane Sandy?

The actor played the lead role in 1997’s book turned movie “A Perfect Storm” which told the story of a band of fishermen swept up in a hurricane that collided with a strong low pressure center that created a monster storm – much like what forecasters fear will happen Monday into Tuesday of next week.

Dubbed the “Halloween Storm” in 1991, this time around forecasters say this late-hurricane season blast is a “Frankenstorm.”

Sandy is a powerful category one hurricane moving  north through the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida at ever-slowing speeds. A National Weather Service forecast takes the storm to the northeast (out to sea) where it is expected to grow in size and strength.

Depending upon which computer weather modeling service you favor, the American model or the sometimes more accurate European, it will tell the story of where the Sandy will combine with a winter storm now moving over the U.S. with lots of cold air behind it and merge with Sandy creating the Frakenstorm.

The storm is expected to impact the U.S. on Monday and Tuesday.

The Cliff Mass Weather Blog is on top of it:


My community is all aflutter about this storm, particularly since our forecast models are not in agreement–some suggest the storm will intensify and head straight in to the Middle Atlantic coastline, some take it out to sea, and others move it out to sea before swinging it westward to hit New England or the Canadian maritimes.

Such uncertainty is not unusual under the present circumstances: we have a storm that will undergo what we call extratropical transition as it moves northward (changing energy sources in the process) and interacts with the stronger flow and temperature gradients of the midlatitudes. Very complex interactions that greatly reduce predictability.


According to the blog, the Eruopean model has the combined storm making landfall somewhere along the Delaware coast, bringing massive beach erosion, heavy rains, high winds, and truly messy conditions for the Mid-Atlantic and the Potomac Communities.

The American model differs and keeps the storm out to sea for a longer period of time. The storm is more likely to impact the Northeast and the New York Tri-State Area, according to that model.

 As of 8 a.m. Friday, Hurricane Sandy was located in the Bahamas moving north at 10 mph and slowing. Maximum sustained winds from the storm were clocked at 80 mph with higher gusts that extend outward 35 miles  from the center of the storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm has been blamed for at least 30 deaths in the Caribbean and Cuba.

First reponders across the region are preparing for this storm and are expected to release more information later today on how to prepare. Officials in Prince William County sent these tips last night:


Stay Informed & Get Alerts. Getting reliable information during an emergency situation is vital. The National Weather Service broadcasts warnings and post-event information 24 hours a day for all types of hazards – including natural (severe weather), environmental (chemical release or oil spill) and public safety (amber alert or 911 outage). Make sure you do the following:

• Have a NOAA Weather Radio at home and at your worksite. Like a fire alarm, NOAA Weather Radios sound when there is an emergency in your area.

• Register on the County’s emergency notification system – PWCAN – to receive emergency information. It’s easy and free. Go to


Make a family emergency plan. When a disaster occurs, your family may not be at home or together. Make sure everyone knows how to get in touch and where to go.

• Designate a safe-room in the house where everyone can gather. The best choice is an inside room above ground with few windows and doors.

• Choose an out-of-town emergency contact. Families may not be together when an emergency happens, and often it’s easier to make a long distance call than a local call during emergencies. The out-of-town contact can relay messages to other family members that you’re ok.

• Select a safe gathering place outside of town where everyone can meet if evacuation is necessary.

• Familiarize yourself with emergency plans for places where you and your family may be located such as schools, day care providers, and businesses.

• You can design your family emergency plan at or get a family emergency plan worksheet at

 Make an Emergency Supply Kit! Below is a list of essential items for your emergency supply kit:

 • At least three days of supplies for each family member:

o Food that won’t spoil, such as canned goods and packaged foods

o Water, at least one gallon per person per day

o Essential medications

• Other items useful in an emergency supply kit:

o A NOAA Weather radio

o A hand-crank or battery-powered AM/FM radio and extra batteries

o A family emergency plan

o Flashlights with extra batteries

o First aid kit

o List of prescriptions and doctors

o Special items for young children and disabled or older family members

o Food and water for your pets

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