Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hurricane Sandy slams Jamaica - what next?

Flooding in Jamaica on Wednesday from Hurricane Sandy. (Jamaican Observer)
Hurricane Sandy blossomed rapidly into a strong Category 2 hurricane last night after sweeping Jamaica with rain and strong winds during the daylight hours. The storm then took aim at eastern Cuba with 110mph winds. This morning the center of  Sandy is located about 40 miles east of Holguin, Cuba moving north at 18mph and a little weaker with 105mph winds and a pressure of 960mb. Hurricane warnings remain posted for Cuba and the Bahamas with a tropical storm warning for Florida. The storm will move across Cuba today and into the Bahamas for Friday.

After that everybody along the east coast from North Carolina to Nova Scotia needs to pay attention to where this storm is heading. There are still a million scenarios that involve everything from a complete miss to landfall between New York City and Delaware. It may be Sandy or a "perfect storm" hybrid combination of systems producing a massive ocean storm. The possibility exists for extremely dangerous surf and coastal flooding especially along the Outer Banks and into Long Island and New England. Heavy rain may create flooding issues inland and there is even the potential on the table for snow on the western edge of the system across portions of the Appalachians. One thing is certain it will be much colder, windy and wet for Halloween week, one way or another. As with most coastal systems the worst of the weather should remain south of the border. We will have to continue to tweak the forecast as the days tick away into the weekend. If your travel take you along the east coast you need to carefully listen to updated forecasts.

**Of note in the short term, a warm front will cross the region today setting the stage for near record highs on Friday across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec. Temperatures may hit the 21C (70F) mark in a few locations with plenty of sunshine on Friday.

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