Although it may seem relatively harmless right now, an area of disturbed weather currently over the Caribbean Sea is likely to become a huge weather maker for much of the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. in about one week to 10 days.
The disturbance, dubbed "Tropical Invest 99" by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), is circled in yellow on the above visible satellite image. The system is likely to become a tropical storm early this week, and would be named "Sandy" unless another system forms in the Atlantic before then.
During the last 24-36 hours, computer forecast models have continued to come into better agreement that the system will have a dramatic affect on the Eastern U.S. late this week and early next week. While some question remains as to what tropical characteristics the system may or may not have at that time, there is little question that the system will produce widespread, heavy precipitation and strong winds across a wide swath along its path. Rough seas and strong rip currents can also be expected along the U.S. East Coast later this week and into the coming weekend.
The U.S. based GFS model is forecasting the center of would-be Sandy to be located just off the Southeast coast of Florida at 8pm EDT on Friday, as a strong tropical storm or low end hurricane:
The forecast becomes even more "interesting" into early next week, as the GFS model forecasts the system, then likely a hurricane, to be centered off the Carolina coasts by 2pm EDT on Sunday, October 28:
The same model then jogs the system back to the West and suggests it will deal a potentially devastating blow to the Northeast on Halloween Eve. The image below is valid 8pm EDT on Tuesday, October 30th:
The following video pulls the GFS computer model guidance into a loop for the period 8pm EDT Wednesday, October 24th, through 8am EDT Tuesday, November 6th:
It is important to note that we can't take the above model projections literally at this point, due to the fact that we're talking a time period of 130-230 hours into the future. None the less, the models have become very consistent over the last several runs, and regardless of the exact strength and timing, it appears likely that a significant storm will impact much of the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. late this week and early to mid next week.
There is even some possibility that a enough cold air could be drawn into the system to produce significant wintry precipitation across portions of the Northeast early to middle of next week, depending on how the exact timing works out.
If you live across the Southeast U.S., including Florida, you'll want to keep a close eye on the progression of this system for potential impacts by late this week or early this weekend. Further North, folks from the Carolinas through New England should keep an eye on this system for possible significant impacts next week.
We'll continue to keep a close eye on this system and bring you updates throughout the coming days...
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