Hurricane Sandy intensifies as it grows

By Phil Plait | October 28, 2012 10:51 am

The NASA/NOAA weather satellite GOES-13 is capturing images of Hurricane Sandy, and the animation below shows the growth of this massive storm over the time period of October 26 to today, Sunday the 28th, ending just after 16:00 UTC (10:00 a.m. Eastern US time):

[You may need to refresh this page to see the video.]

Wow. You can see it forming a clear eye again toward the end. If you live in the northeast US, you’ve probably already been hearing the news and been given advice on what to do to prepare. My take on it? Heed it. This sucker is a big one, and the current forecast looks like it will come ashore in the Delaware/New Jersey region, but will affect the coast for hundreds of kilometers north and south of there, as well as pretty far inland.

For updates and such, try the National Weather Service Hurricane Center. The sidebar on that page has lots more info, including advisories.

Image credit: NASA GOES Project. Tip o’ the poncho hood to NASAGoddard on Twitter.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Miscellaneous, Pretty pictures

Comments (18)

  1. AGW fan

    thanks for not calling it “cool”

  2. Chris

    Most are probably thinking about the wind as the problem, but the storm surge is going to be a huge issue. The NOAA hurricane folks are putting the storm surge destructive potential at a 5.7 on a scale of 0 to 6. That’s worse than anything between 1969-2005.

    Just wait till sea levels rise. Storm surge flooding will become even more common.

    Another view of Sandy (1 minute time steps)

  3. Wzrd1

    The storm surge is applicable only on large bodies of water, large lakes (not in the current path) and the shore. Inland, the big deal will be torrential rain over a LONG period, coupled with gale force or just below wind.
    That will flood low lying areas, roads and streams. It’ll also uproot trees, tear large branches from trees and drop power lines.
    NJ already started evacuations on Friday and is in a state of emergency. Pennsylvania declared a state of emergency on Friday as well.
    I’m in SE Pennsylvania, it’s looking like we’ll get the eye of a tropical storm when it gets here.
    I have my power inverter ready to hook up in case of power outage, which will power the freezer and refrigerator. We always have canned goods on the shelves and food in the fridge and freezer. We have chem sticks, battery LED worklights (3), two gas lanterns and even an emergency stove (though losing NG feed is highly unlikely, it’s just nice to have a 6th burner when entertaining).
    We have two weather radios and plenty of water as well, though we’re fed by a reservoir and the water treatment plants are on higher ground with backup power for the plants.
    Essential medication is in stock. First aid kit is always stocked (a side effect of being a retired SF medic).
    AND we’re tracking the storm AND the news for any new information from the authorities.
    I know the Red Cross emergency number, PEMA emergency numbers (actually worked with them before during another disaster here years ago). We also have the shelter maps for the region.

    In the military, I was paid to take risks. I’m retired from that, so I don’t take risks when I can mitigate them for maximum safety. :)
    Though our eldest daughter has to drive to work, as she’s an RN and on duty as essential personnel.

  4. David C.

    Does lake Ontario qualify as a large lake. Sandy will cross somewhere between a 1/3 and less towards the eastern end, here on the western end, we are told to expect high winds and rain. this is the potential track, out over Canada: over the lake then turn east over Ottawa, into Quebec and out through Labrador, north of Newfoundland, and south of Greenland. it will probably head near Iceland before curving down toward Europe; of course by the time it gets over Quebec it will be just a bad winter storm, with 40 km winds and potential snow/rain fall.
    I’m retired as well, not military, but went through Hazel in 54, and no one expect it to come through Toronto. Don’t gamble your life that this storm will be a push over even when it gets hundreds of miles/km inland. Heed the warnings, and the advice seriously.

  5. Lawrence

    In Maryland…..this is going to suck!

  6. Mejilan

    Jersey-boy o’er here.
    I’m buckled down, charging devices, checking flashlights, and… doing my laundry!

  7. Chris

    @4 David C
    Actually on Lake Ontario you’ll have to worry about seiches.
    In 1954, Hurricane Hazel piled up water along the northwestern Lake Ontario shoreline near Toronto, causing extensive flooding, and established a seiche that subsequently caused flooding along the south shore.

  8. Wzrd1

    @David C, Lake Ontario most certainly qualifies as a large body of water. As Chris mentioned, seiche action would be of concern.
    Estimates are for the storm reaching Lake Ontario as a dissipated tropical storm, with 30 MPH or lower winds and plenty of rain (2-3 inches).

  9. David C.

    Thanks 7. Chris and 8. Wzrd1. we are just east of The Greater Toronto Area, so while direct effect might not be felt, from the counter clockwise winds coming down the lake, we may be indirectly affected. I’m comfortably 15 – 20 ft above the lake level, but there are a lot of houses closer that aren’t.
    I’m watching on the Internet anything I can find on this. Don’t want my family to be caught unawares if things do go SNAFU!! I know the weather people have all these wonderful tech stuff now, but come on, this is Mother Nature we are dealing with. Not a lab experiment. and no, I am not panicking, just being cautious.

  10. shawmutt

    Ocean City is already flooding. It’s going to suck for coastal areas. I have family members on the MD coast that decided to stick it out, so far so good.

    I’ve lived in the northeast my whole life, and it’s hard to take these storms seriously with the yearly dire warnings (especially about snow). Even now they are changing the forecast for my area and saying it will be less severe.

  11. ERBarker

    This one looks bad. You Yanks take care and stay safe.

  12. Wzrd1

    Our son in law has informed us that Cigna in Philadelphia is open tomorrow, in spite of all mass transit being shut down and the statewide and city wide state of emergency.
    He was advised that all employees WILL be at work. Period.
    I guess that the management doesn’t consult with their actuaries regarding the conduct of business and employee safety during a state of emergency.

  13. Robert

    Does anyone have a link to the false color IR images or videos? Those monochrome IR or visible light images really don’t tell you much.
    It’s the same thing on TV weather: None of them will show the false color IR, which show cloud temperature, from which you can infer height, as a range of colors from dark blue through green and red to, finally, white. The instead show you visible or mono IR imagery that show the height as 2 or three shades of grey, and generally ignores low level cloud entirely. Guess what type of cloud generally gives us rain around here?
    I guess it’s because you need to have a modicum or education to understand a false-color IR. Which the presenter could give us if she drops the daily human interest palava section. And has a modicum of education herself.
    As for that video – yes pretty! – but switching between visible and mono IR constantly just makes no sense.
    Never mind. I’ll stop ranting now.

  14. Wzrd1
  15. Jason B.

    This morning NPR reported that since there is a full moon, the tide will be higher than usual, and this will make the storm surge worse.

    I thought that the phase of the moon and the tide were independent. I can’t seem to find a clear answer from a reliable source. Can somebody provide me a clue as to how this works (or doesn’t)?

  16. mikel

    At full moon and new moon the moon and sun are aligned with Earth. This means that lunar tide and the solar tide reinforce each other creating greater high and low tides. At half moon the moon is at a right angle from the Earth-Sun line which means the solar tide is out of phase with the lunar tide which partially dampens the lunar tide.

  17. Chris Winter

    The straight-line condition is known as syzygy (love that word) and the tides it produces are spring tides because they seem to be bursting or springing forth.

    When lunar and solar gravity vectors are 90° out of phase, the tides that occur are neap tides.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar