4 Reasons Why Sandy Could Be ‘The Perfect Storm’ For New England

Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy (NASA)

Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy (NASA)

The National Weather Service in Taunton released a statement Thursday morning saying that it is confident the New England region could see a close pass or direct hit from Hurricane Sandy by late Monday. By then, Sandy is supposed to be a tropical or post-tropical storm.

According to NWS, the increase in confidence is due to the narrowing down of three computer models of Sandy’s trajectory to two models, which both place the impact of the storm on New England, but to varying degrees. The worst-case scenario, however, could create terribly destructive conditions. Here are four reasons why meteorologists are saying Sandy could become “the perfect storm” for New England.

1) A Low-Pressure Trough Coming From The West Could Energize Sandy

As Hurricane Sandy exits Cuba and moves toward us, a low-pressure trough from the West is headed our direction as well. The energy from the east-moving trough is likely to interact with Sandy, in the process energizing the storm as it approaches.

This would create an environment that Sandy would thrive in, increasing its strength as it moves up the coast.

2) A Dip In The Jet Stream Would Allow Sandy To Piggy-Back North

As a dip in the jet stream from the aforementioned trough brings down dry air that will increase Sandy’s strength, the dip will also carry Sandy north, maintaining its strength all the way up the East Coast. Weather Underground had this to say:

The highest winds will likely be at or just below hurricane strength, but over a larger and larger area. It looks like Sandy will ride the Gulf Stream a long way north, so it should be able to maintain its strength as it passes the Carolinas with similar effects to Florida, but a longer duration of wind.

3) A  Pressure-Blocking System West Of Greenland Will Prevent Sandy From Continuing North

Normally, a storm like Sandy would continue heading north as it moves to the mid-Atlantic region, says NWS meteorologist Charlie Foley. Instead, the effects of the blocking high-pressure system west of Greenland mean that Sandy will be forced to move either left or right.

“We don’t think it’s going to make a right turn out to sea,” Foley said. “We think a left turn on the coast or near the coast is a bigger possibility.”

4) The Full Moon Will Create Astronomical High-Tides

Sandy is already expected to create destructive storm surges. Combine that with the above-normal astronomical tides, and the chances of coastal flooding increase. But, while the full moon does have an impact, according to Foley, it likely won’t be the major contributor to damage done in the region.

“Fortunately at this time the astronomical tides are above normal, but they are not as high as they could be,” he said. “That could be a contributor but they won’t be a major contributor.”

The storm is expected to reach the mid-east Atlantic and/or the Northeast U.S. between Sunday and Wednesday, and while some computer models estimate minimal damage to the East Coast, Foley urges that this could potentially be a storm for the record books.

“If, in fact, all these things phase together,” Foley said, “if Hurricane Sandy is in a position when the jet stream is actually moving over and going to capture it, and this storm moving east to west also gets involved with that energy and combines, then all these factors would make for a perfect recipe for probably a historical storm.”

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  • Kathyprogen

    honest to goodness they get everyone all wound up for days     usually nothing happens or when they nothing will happen we get a huge dumping of something        See even with all their weather  equipment  how can you really predict what mother nature has in store for us????

  • HP

    Absolutely Lovely.

  • Midspnsr18

    Remember the Blizzard of ’78: 6-12 inches, then they told us 12-18; we were in Marblehead and had 4 ft. of snow and were rescued by the National Guard; they had to load the snow in trucks and take it to the beach – no one moved for a week…The good news: we never lost power, could walk to a store and it was actually fun! 

    • jaykanz

      Wow ’78?? Damn, you really sound OLD.. No offense ;)

      • Midspnsr18

        I was in high school…thanks a lot!

      • Sparkle12

        If you’re VERY lucky one day you too will be old.  Then the young will taut you, rather than respecting your wisdom and all you’ve learned.  You’ll love it.  By the way, you don’t understand the meaning of the word, “offense.”

      • Kowgirl

        Guess what, you’ll be old some day too, if you are lucky.  I am 65 and I don’t feel old, and I don’t look old either.  The blizzard of ’78 was truly amazing, I was stuck in NY trying to get back to Boston with a whole lot of other stranded people in Penn Station, all sharing whatever they had, since food was running out. We finally got on a train, where the conductors, engineers, and other train employees had been stuck on the train for over 2-3 days, just going back and forth between Boston and Philly, with a huge plow on the front of the train.  Everyone had a story to share; it was amazing that people were tired and inconvenienced, but not grumpy.  I guess we knew we were all in it together, best to be kind to one another.  As we traveled North, we saw hundreds of abandoned cars on the roads between NY, CT, and MA.  Once we arrived in Boston, it was another adventure trying to get back to Cambridge.  The Red line subways were running, so I made it to Harvard Sq where a friend came with a sled to drag the luggage (did I mention my right arm was in a sling – another part of the story…).  The snow was so deep all the cars were covered totally.  No one could drive, people were walking and cross country skiing all over town. We took the subway to Southie and walked back to Cambridge.  It was an incredible way to discover the city. It truly was an amazing experience.

      • Dink

        wow jay, you sound really, really stupid!

    • jm1

      I was in 10th grade; I tried to walk home from a friends house and had to turn back to their house- my mother was a nurse and she was stuck at work for days- no one could get in or out of the hospital.  They had a special SUV to pick up people to bring them into work.

  • Mncurrie

    Finally a exact title for this much abused phrase. I am so title of the overuse of this word.



  • Suturner9124

    an older lady told me in 1959, there was such a bad snow storm that year,the army tanks came and picked up the nurses that worked at St.Alexis hospital in Cleveland,to get them to work.

  • guest


    “… Weather systems are progressing more slowly, raising the chances for
    long-duration extreme events, like droughts, floods, and heat waves. 

    “[The] tendency for weather to hang around longer is going to favor
    extreme weather conditions that are related to persistent weather
    patterns,” said Francis, the study’s lead author.

    One does not have to look hard to find an example of an extreme event
    that resulted from a huge, slow-moving swing in the jet stream. It was a
    stuck or “blocking weather pattern” – with a massive dome of high pressure ….”

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