Sandy: Worst of Storm is Over, Impact Continues
STATE COLLEGE - AccuWeather.com reportsthe worst of the wind and storm surge flooding from Sandy has passed, but ongoing problems with travel disruptions, power outages and the mess to clean up continues.
Residents of coastal New Jersey and Long Island are dealing with the shock, and officials continue to assess the damage. Houses have been knocked off the foundation in Seaside Heights, N.J. Piers and boardwalks have been torn up along the mid-Atlantic coast. The sea wall in Narragansett, R.I., was damaged. Some areas were still under water Tuesday midday in the coastal Northeast.
NYC subway lines remained closed as well as the Path Train from New Jersey to NYC Tuesday. Storm surge entered tunnels during the height of Sandy Monday evening. Some below ground transit services could be out for days.
Normal flight operation is still “up in the air.” More than 5,800 flights were cancelled Tuesday. LaGuardia, JFK, Newark and Teterboro airports remained closed to start the day.
With many aircraft originating from or going to these airports, flight impacts will continue to be felt not only in the U.S., but overseas for days.
Downed trees and blown transformers in New York state and New Jersey contributed to over 4 million homes and businesses being without power during the storm. Hundreds of thousands of people were without power in New England with outages reaching into Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
While the power will continue to be restored slowly as armies of crews continue the task, some additional power outages are possible with weakened trees and limbs succumbing to ongoing, locally gusty wind.
Local gusts to between 35 and 45 mph are possible into Tuesday night. The strongest winds can occur in thunderstorms over New England.
Showers will continue to rotate through the Northeast through the middle of the week.
For those without power, the weather will continue to trend chilly. Colder air will filter eastward through the end of the week, erasing the wedge of warmth in portions of New England.
Fortunately, as large and powerful as Sandy was, it continues to move inland and unwind.
As of the midday hours, Sandy had moved west of the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pa. The strongest winds associated with the storm were west of the center, over the Great Lakes and well northeast of the center, over northern New England.
With the center so far inland, tides will slowly return to normal levels through the day. With so much of the Atlantic Ocean brought to the coast, high tide cycles during the day Tuesday can still lead to minor coastal flooding problems, but not to the extent of Monday andMonday night.
A lack of strong west to northwest wind, which usually occurs following a big storm in the Northeast, will contribute to the slow progression of tides, rather than a blow-out tide cycle.
Sandy has pulled warm, unstable air into New England. The warmth combined with strong winds in the upper atmosphere can translate to locally gusty thunderstorms. A couple of these can bring brief, spin-up funnels.
Folks in northern New England should be thankful Sandy pushed westward as projected, rather than northward, like Irene did. Folks over the interior of the mid-Atlantic should be thankful cold air held on near the surface, forcing most of Sandy’s damaging winds far over the heads of where most people live. Otherwise, the situation, as bad as it was on the coast, could have been much worse for inland areas.
Despite the cold air to the west, damaging wind gusts have been felt as far west as Great Lakes.
Runoff from torrential rainfall over portions of Maryland and southern Pennsylvania will lead to major flooding along the Potomac River later in the week.
Meanwhile, the storm is far from over in the Midwest and southern Appalachians, where, cold wind and even snow continue.
Here are some of the statistics on Sandy…
A record high water level of 13.88 feet occurred at Battery Park, N.Y., Monday evening.
Peak wind gusts: 96 mph at Eatons Neck, N.Y.; 85 mph at Madison, Conn.; 78 mph at Newark, N.J.; 69 mph at Westerly State, R.I.; 74 mph at East Milton, Mass.; 70 mph at Allentown, Pa.; 68 mph at Wallops Island, Va.; 64 mph at St. Inigoes, Md.; 63 mph at Portland, Maine; 58 mph at Wilmington, Del.; 55 mph at Morrisville, Vt.; 55 mph at Concord, N.H.; and 54 mph at Washington-Dulles, D.C.
Rainfall: 9.57 inches at Virginia Beach, Va.; 8.27 inches at Patuxent River, Md.; 6.22 inches at Glencoe, Pa.; 5.76 inches at Millville, N.J.; 3.03 inches at East Milton, Mass.; 4.69 inches at Wilmington, Del.; 2.96 inches at Niagara Falls, N.Y.; and 1.32 inches at Willimantic, Conn.
A near-record low barometric pressure occurred with Sandy offshore Monday afternoon. The pressure bottomed at 27.76 inches. For a storm north of Cape Hatteras, N.C., Hurricane Gladys of 1977 holds the record at 27.73 inches. Gladys was a Category 4 hurricane which remained off the coast of the U.S.
By Alex Sosnowski, Expert SeniorMeteorologist for AccuWeather.com
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