There are many factors involved with what will ultimately shape the intensity and track of Sandy as it affects the Eastern Seaboard over the next few days. One of these factors is the location and strength of the Gulf Stream.
Take a look at the graphic. You can clearly see the outline of the current position and temperature of the Gulf Stream. Sandy’s forecast track has been added to the graphic but this is just the center location forecast. Sandy is obviously a huge hurricane and will have its circulation over a great deal of warm water for the next several days.
Then, the track will actually cross a portion of the Gulf Stream before Sandy heads for the coastline. All of this heat energy, water temps in the low 80s, will add fuel to aid in the deep convection of Sandy that, combined with upper level energy being injected from the massive trough digging in, should lead to a period of intensification before landfall.
The main thing to consider is to not focus on “what” Sandy is structurally. Sure it’s fascinating from a meteorological perspective but the result is practically the same: there will be wind, rain and surge that will affect millions of people. That’s the bottom line no matter what Sandy is called in the end.
The warm waters of the Caribbean gave rise to this enormous storm and now the western Atlantic and its Gulf Stream could provide the last piece of energy needed to energize Sandy once more before it makes a run for the coast.
I’ll have more here throughout the day.