October 23, 2012
Sandy will cruise the Caribbean the next few days. The exact track of the storm next week will determine the impact in the Norfolk and Virginia Tidewater.
Indeed, it will seem like the weather in southeastern Virginia, is on a tropical vacation this week with warmth and spotty thunderstorms.
The period of consternation and concern for potential damaging weather and disruptive impacts on the East Coast of the United States spans Friday of this week to Wednesday of next week.
A hurricane or hybrid storm remaining well offshore would have minimal direct impact on the Norfolk, area. Most likely, cool air, stiff breezes and rough seas would sweep in with spotty showers in this scenario.
However, there is a danger of the storm being captured and pulled westward by another system approaching from the Midwest next week. Sandy would undergo a transition from a hurricane to a hybrid or non-tropical system, but the storm would retain every bit of a hurricane’s intensity.
Such a westward curve could potentially bring far worse wind and coastal flooding problems, when compared to Irene in 2011 in terms of New England. Hurricane-force gusts would sweep inland downing scores trees and causing widespread power outages. The combination of heavy rain and fallen leaves would lead to significant flash and urban flooding. There would be travel disruptions matching that of a giant nor’easter.
The storm would have to turn inland sharply over Virginia and North Carolina for the worse-case scenario effect, or another Isabel over the Chesapeake Bay region. Essentially the area would have to get on the storm’s eastern and northeastern flank to have the worst of the wind, rain and tidal effects. Such a path seems unlikely at this time.
However, a northward track close to the coast into next week is higher on the realm of possibilities and would have nasty effects in terms of wind, rain surf and coastal flooding on the Eastern Shore and in the Norfolk area.
Another scenario allows Sandy to escape out to sea but forms a new storm near the coast with more typical nor’easter conditions later in the period next week. Such a storm would have far less impact on the Tidewater.
Don’t expect another Isabel, but it could get rough for a time Sunday into Tuesday, if the storm hugs the coast.