The good news is that the storm that is forecast by the major global computer models for the week ahead is not likely to be nearly as intense, or as large, as Sandy was.
The obvious bad news is that people along the Northeast coast, beginning with North Carolina first, are going to have to deal with another coastal storm.
Right now, the two main models, the GFS and the ECMWF, which were talked about extensively during Sandy’s approach, both show a similar set up. Each model deepens or strengthens the low pressure area considerably while over the fairly warm waters of the western Atlantic. This will result in rain, wind and tidal flooding from the Carolinas to points north in to New England. The precise impacts are not known just yet as the storm system is still far enough away in time that forecasting definitive impacts is really tough to do.
The other issue here is cold air. People dealing with post-Sandy life will have quite a bit of cold air to add to their list of miserable conditions. Relief efforts for the region should concentrate on providing blankets and gloves for people, especially the very young and the very old in the population. There is a chance for snow all the way to the coast though I do not see any evidence of a major snow event except for the usual inland locations that normally see this during a Nor’easter.
For areas right along the coast, the risk of more damage from large waves and a possible tidal surge is there. How much so I cannot say for sure right now. The NWS will likely issue a coastal flood watch and then a warning if conditions warrant. During that time period, assuming it comes, we will get specific tidal flooding info which will include predicted departures from normal and timing. This will help with local planning efforts to make sure people are away from the immediate coast. I assure you, the water rescue personnel are quite happy NOT having a repeat of Sandy anytime soon. Stay away from the coast, it is quite vulnerable now due to the severe erosion and, in some cases, complete loss of the dune systems.
Strong winds, blowing out of the east and northeast at first, could cause more power outages, especially considering the weakened infrastructure. Be ready. If you can access batteries from relief agencies, do so now. Do NOT use candles. I would rather see it dark than have people use candles. I saw first hand in Belmar, NJ how candles can be so dangerous in the aftermath of a storm. Get batteries now if they are available.
It is likely to be an unpleasant week ahead for folks along the coast from North Carolina to New England. It’s part of living in an otherwise fantastic part of the country. Hang in there. Positive mental attitude can go a long way. It’s tough, I am sure, but millions of Americans and indeed people from around the world are thinking about you.
I’ll post another blog update here this evening.