Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Another Storm Targeting Battle Weary NJ/NY Coasts Next Week...

I don't like the trends that I'm seeing in both the European and U.S. based computer forecast models for next week across the region hit so very hard by Hurricane Sandy.

Before I go on, I should point out that it's not that I'm concerned because of precipitation potential, but what will continue to be a major problem across the region with almost every storm this winter (and even into the spring of 2013): winds, waves and storm surge.

As I've pointed out in recent posts, many (if not all) of the barrier islands, sand dunes and other natural barriers that protect the population along the coast were washed away by Hurricane Sandy.  Take this example (regular readers are probably tired of seeing the photo, but it illustrates the situation perfectly) along the Jersey coast to the East of Brick:  

On the left, you can see the barrier island as it was before Sandy struck.  On the right, you can see that a large chunk was literally washed away.  Similar situations are in place all along the coastline from New Jersey through Long Island, and this creates the perfect set up for continued problems from Easterly winds, high waves and storm surges for many months to come.

Now, on to the lowdown on next week.  Below are images from the European and U.S. GFS based computer forecast models, respectively.  Both are valid at 7am EST on Sunday morning,  November 18th:

As you can see, a developing area of low pressure is forecast by both models to be taking shape off of the Carolina coasts.  Easterly surface winds of 20-30 mph are already forecast to be battering the coastline from the Delmarva Peninsula through the Jersey shore and Long Island.  This is not good, as higher than normal tidal water levels impact the region along with the strong and gusty Easterly surface winds.

High wave action will be underway along the coast on Sunday as well, with the WW3 Wave Model forecasting 10-14 foot waves just offshore along the Delmarva peninsula at 7am EST on Sunday morning:

The strong Easterly winds will continue, and increase in speed, through Monday and Tuesday, continuing to batter the coastline in an area that certainly doesn't need it.  Here is what the wave model looks like at 7am EST on Monday:

...and at 7am EST on Tuesday:

The red shaded areas on each image represent 14-22 foot waves just offshore along the Delmarva, Jersey and New York coasts, and serve as a discouraging reminder of the amount of water that will continue to be pushed up along the coast in these already hard hit areas.

Surface wind gusts will likely increase out of the East into the 30-40 mph range during this time period as well, adding further insult to injury across the region.

By now you've probably put the pieces of the puzzle together:  36-48 hours of a nearly continuous pounding of the area by strong, gusty East surface winds, higher than normal tidal waters and high wave action.  A less than ideal scenario in any situation, much less across this already hard hit region.

Hopefully officials across the region are paying attention to this developing situation and will take whatever measures they can to mitigate the loss of natural water barriers before this storm arrives.  Unfortunately, the folks in this region will be dealing with similar situations with nearly every storm to come this winter, and quite possibly into the spring of next year as well.

We will continue to monitor this developing situation with additional updates forthcoming...

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