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Winds Increasing as Conditions go Down Hill

Springfield, Mass (WGGB) 

We will continue to see bands of rain this afternoon some of which will be heavy with strong, gusty winds. Damaging winds will bring down branches, small trees and even some power lines as gusts could reach 60 mph, especiall across the higher terrain.

Sandy is picking up speed as she races towards the New Jersey shore. Sandy is a category one hurricane with winds of 90 mph moving to west/northwest at 28 mph. She will likely make landfall this evening.  S. National Hurricane Center 

“Sandy” Impacts for western Massachusetts:   We can expect rain and wind with the main concern being wind damage. There could be some minor flooding of rivers & streams along with some street flooding. Wind will be sustained this afternoon between 20-40 mph with gusts between 50-60 which will lead to numerous power outages.

Timing: The “height” of the storm will be now through this evening peak, in terms of the winds from now-9 pm.

Wind:  Top sustained winds of 20-40 mph are likely during the time-frame mentioned above.  With leaves still on many trees, any wind speeds over 40 mph  tree limbs and trees as well as power lines could get knocked dow.  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: Bands off rain will continue that afternoon along with some embedded downpours.  1-3″ of inches of rain seems likely with a few higher amounts along east-facing slopes that could approach 3-4 by the time the rain complete moves out sometime tomorrow.  That amount of rain shouldn’t cause any significant river flooding but certainly could cause some minor street and stream flash 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. 

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 northern end of Narraganset Bay in Rhode Island near Providence could have a storm surge that exceeds 6 feet!

  Damage along south and southeast facing beaches in eastern Massachusetts and southern Rhode Island 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!

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