A view of the changed coastline in New Jersey. Photo: NASA Goddard
Instead of gathering a widespread assortment of the week's best articles, videos, and photos, I've included the most thought-provoking and eye-opening articles on Sandy and her aftermath. Some are snapshots of people and places, others take a look at the science of the storm, and some take a look at the political effects of a storm that has caused tens of billions of dollars in damage and more than 150 deaths internationally. The articles begin with a blog posted on October 24.
Please share the best articles you've read about Sandy in the comments section.
For the best longreads of the week, check out "Weekend Reading: Eyes Open."
"Sandy Strengthens to Hurricane on Approach to Jamaica; Odds of East Coast Impact Grow," Capital Weather Gang
The ominous forecast by last night’s ECMWF deterministic run places an incredibly strong cyclone off the New Jersey coast on Monday evening ... with tropical storm to hurricane force winds covering every state between Virginia and Maine (note that the wind speeds on this map are at 5,000’ altitude, not the surface). A scenario such as this would be devastating: a huge area with destructive winds, extensive inland flooding, possibly heavy snow on the west side, and severe coastal flooding and erosion.
"Perfect Storm" Set to Occur on 21st Anniversary of Historic Event, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Blog
While there is still inherent uncertainty in the forecast, especially considering we are at least five days away from the phase, the majority of the numerical guidance has now come into agreement that a phasing event will occur precisely on the 21st anniversary of the Perfect Storm somewhere between the mid-Atlantic states through Maine or potentially the Nova Scotia region. Most of the models now indicate even stronger jet dynamics will occur next week than occurred during for the Perfect Storm, and that today’s storm could potentially deepen to well below 960mb or even below 950mb. The fact that the Gulf Stream is anomalously warm for this time of year means that Sandy will weaken less as a tropical system than it otherwise would have prior to the phase. Also, a very strong blocking scenario (very negative NAO) has developed over the north Atlantic means that the cyclone will be very slow moving, and is likely to retrograde westward into the northeastern U.S. rather than continue out to sea like most recurving extratropical cyclones do. While it is too early to pin-down exact impacts from the system at this time, it is likely that portions of the coastal Northeast will experience a damaging storm surge, significant beach erosion, and a prolonged severe wind and heavy rain event. Meanwhile, interior regions of western Pennsylvania into Ohio may simultaneously be experiencing heavy snowfall. Stay tuned!
"Late Season Tropical Storms That Have Affected the U.S. North of Hatteras," Weather Underground
As it appears increasingly likely that a ‘Frankenstorm’ may hit the U.S. coast somewhere between Delaware and Maine between October 29 and November 1 I thought I would take a look back and see what other late season storms of this nature and magnitude have previously affected the region.
"David Attenborough: Force of Nature," The Guardian via Grist
“[It] does worry me that the most powerful nation in the world ... denies what the rest of us can see very clearly [on climate change]. I don’t know what you do about that. It’s easier to deny.”
Asked what was needed to wake people up, the veteran broadcaster famous for series such as Life and Planet Earth said: “Disaster. It’s a terrible thing to say, isn’t it? Even disaster doesn’t do it. There have been disasters in North America, with hurricanes and floods, yet still people deny and say ‘oh, it has nothing to do with climate change.’ It visibly has got [something] to do with climate change.”
"The Coast Empties Out as The Storm Moves In," The New York Times
The streets of this seaside town, filled on Saturday night with trick-or-treaters dressed as witches and pumpkins, emptied swiftly on Sunday as the storm drove water up to the beach dunes that protect the Boardwalk.
Halloween events were cancelled. Hotels were closed. Dolle’s, the town’s source of saltwater taffy for 85 years, stayed open longer than any other oceanfront shop. But the owner, Thomas Ibach, turned off the lights at 4 p.m., a few hours before the state evacuation deadline. “You just never know,” he said. He said a 1962 northeaster had wiped away Dolle’s previous building.
"Watching Sandy, Ignoring Climate Change," New Yorker
A couple of weeks ago, Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance firms, issued a study titled “Severe Weather in North America.” According to the press release that accompanied the report, “Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America.” The number of what Munich Re refers to as “weather-related loss events,” and what the rest of us would probably call weather-related disasters, has quintupled over the last three decades. While many factors have contributed to this trend, including an increase in the number of people living in flood-prone areas, the report identified global warming as one of the major culprits: “Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity.”