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High Winds, Biggest Threat from Sandy in Western Mass.

** A High Wind Warning is in effect for all of western Massachusetts from 6 AM Monday until 6 AM Tuesday.  **

** A Flood Watch has been issued for all of western Massachusetts from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon.  **

Sunday:  Thickening overcast with a few passing sprinkles or showers possible (mainly dry).  Becoming breezy.  Highs: 54-60.  Winds: NE 6-18 mph.

Sunday Night:  Overcast with showers possible, breezy and mild.  Becoming windy towards dawn.  Lows: 48-54.  Winds: E/NE 10-20 mph and gusty late

Monday:  Overcast with occasional rain, some heavy with some street and stream flooding.  Becoming very windy with numerous power outages during the day.  Highs: 58-64.  Winds: E/SE 20-45 mph, with gusts of 45-60 mph!

Monday Night:  Occasional rain, very windy and mild.  Additional power outages and flooding possible.  Lows: 56-62.  Winds:  SE 20-40 mph, with higher gusts.

Tuesday:  AM rain and wind then rain tapers to showers as winds gradually diminish during the day.

 

Good day,

The latest from the National Hurricane Center  has “Sandy” at hurricane strength moving Northeast at 10 mph with 75 mph winds.   The most recent run of the hurricane track computer models continue to cluster the forecast track into a tighter zone now – over New Jersey making landfall somewhere along the coast late tomorrow.

Around here, our weather will be relatively tranquil until tomorrow when the significant rain and increasing winds move in.  So enjoy the quiet weather today though.  Also enjoy what should be the last day of the foliage season as it will come to a rather abrupt halt tomorrow with the rain and strong winds!

“Sandy” Impacts for western Massachusetts:  We’re more and more confident that with a track to our south and then southwest Sandy will have a larger impact away from our area but impacts in our area will still be significant.  As the storm makes a transition from a tropical hurricane to more of a large non-tropical gale, its wind field will expand even more, so focusing on the exact path of the storm and where it makes landfall will become much less important.  That being said, here are some of the impacts from the storm:

Timing:  The “height” of the storm has been pushed forward a bit and is now expected sooner.. It looks as though the worst of it for us will be from tomorrow, late morning into late tomorrow evening.  This is when we have our best chance of seeing damaging winds.

Wind:  Top sustained winds of 20-45 mph are likely during the time-frame mentioned above.  With leaves still on many trees, any wind speeds over 40 mph will start to bring down tree limbs and trees as well as power lines.  Wind gusts between 40-60 mph are possible as well – with the high end of that range mainly in east-facing higher terrain locations of the Berkshires and hill-towns where the most widespread power loss is expected.  The lowest locations (urban areas) of the Pioneer Valley can often get “sheltered” from the heaviest rain and strongest winds from a powerful storm that brings strong winds from the east – so it’s possible the immediate Pioneer Valley’s outages, damage and flooding will be less severe than in the higher terrain.

Rain:  Rain amounts are currently coming in between 1-4″ in western Massachusetts on Monday and Tuesday with less significant showers or rain possible each day Wednesday into Friday.  That amount of rain shouldn’t cause any significant river flooding but certainly could cause some minor street and stream flooding.  This rainfall forecast is subject to change but the heaviest rainfall typically occurs to the west and south of the tropical (or hybrid) systems track and the computer forecast data supports that this time as well.  If the track were to shift farther north then we’d see more rain and a higher threat of basement and significant river flooding – more in line with what “Irene” brought to western New England last year.  But at this point, that is not in the cards.  Catastrophic/historic flooding could very well be realized though along east-facing slopes of the Appalachians from northern Virgina into the Poconos and Catskills off to our southwest!

Storm Surge:  Because tides will already be astronomically high over the next few days with the full moon, at times of high tide (around mid-day Monday and again Monday night) with this storm could bring moderate to major coastal flooding to south and east-facing beaches of southern New England.  The tides, combined with the storm surge topped by large, battering waves means that at times of high tide, significant tidal flooding, beach erosion and even storm surge damage to homes and structures will occur.  The closer the core of “Sandy” tracks to us and the farther north along the Mid-Atlantic coast she makes landfall tomorrow night means the more storm surge flooding will occur along the beaches of southern and eastern New England.  Damage could certainly rival some of the worst storms seen in New England  – including the Blizzard of ’78 and Hurricane “Bob”.  Wind speeds and associated wind damage (power loss) should be more significant along coastal areas of Connecticut, Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts (particularly the Cape and Islands!) than inland locations too.

Power Outage Reports:  Click the links below for updates on National Grid and Western Mass. Electric outages in our area.

Latest WMECO outage report (click on the “Outage Details” tab on the right for actual numbers)

Latest National Grid outage report (click on the “outages by Area” link on the left for actual numbers)

Stay tuned for the latest on-air and here on-line as we continue to fine-tune this forecast and track this storm!

Rick Sluben

 

 

 


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