The Right Opinion

This Storm Is Long Overdue!

Joe Bastardi · Oct. 25, 2012

Since the weekend I have been loudly warning Weatherbell clients that an historic storm is in the making. For years I have wondered why a storm like what I have forecasted – a hurricane hit on the mid or north Atlantic Coast from the southeast – has not occurred. In this case a tropical cyclone is entrained into a massive early season cold air mass and is forced to turn northwest into the Mid-Atlantic States. In fact, in talks I give about hurricanes, I show the example of this kind of storm, which I call the “Philadelphia Story” – a hurricane hits the mid Atlantic states from the southeast near or south of the mouth of the Delaware Bay. It sends its storm surge up Delaware Bay which is funnel shaped, much like the 1938 hurricane did in Providence, and that rising storm surge is met by flooding coming down the Delaware River. The flooding is worse than it would have been, because the lakes that were not dammed up years ago are, so they must release their water downstream into the river. In addition such a storm would devastate the Jersey shore worse than 1944.

But here is the key point: It is a product of past events that we have seen, that have never happened to combine in one place. Instead of asking why something like this is happening, I have always wondered why it has not! has been saying since the start of the hurricane season that the end of the season this year would feature a tropical cyclone coming out of the Caribbean that would threaten the East Coast. Just like the season started with in-close storms, we felt it would end with it, too. 3 weeks ago we told clients again the pattern was setting up for this.

On Sunday we put out a chart hitting NYC from the SSE with this storm, even before it was named, with a 75kt hurricane early next week. My forecast today has been adjusted a bit south but calls for this to go into New Jersey with a major snowstorm on the western side from western PA into WVA. Clients have been told this is a multi billion dollar storm in the making where it hits, and that this could be the worse ever in some places along the Mid-Atlantic Coast. While there is still room for me to be wrong, the window is closing on the chance of this escaping. And what I always wondered about, looks like will happen.

It will not be because of Global warming, but because of the combination of natural events that will cause it. In fact, my father, a degreed meteorologist, would show me tracks from hurricanes when I was a kid and then say, “all one needs to do was move that track a couple of hundred miles and what appears to be ready to happen now, would happen.” The point there is that this was seen as something that could happen years ago, even by people in the field before me. If it does occur, it will be because of nature, not man.

Please join us on to track this event. If you wish, take a trial run on our site to see the intricate details (you can even go back to the archives to see how long we have been setting this up.) The weather is a majestic display of creation, and something as a man I am in awe of. We can’t control it, but we can watch and try to understand it!

Joe Bastardi is chief forecaster at WeatherBELL Analytics, a meteorological consulting firm.

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