October 22, 2012
Tropical Storm Sandy will soon form in the Caribbean, and scenarios for its final destination range from bypassing the East Coast to creating a nightmare for millions of people.
Tropical Depression 18 formed in the central Caribbean at midday Monday and should strengthen into Tropical Storm Sandy by Tuesday.
The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center is confident the future tropical storm will then head northward through Thursday, spreading life-threatening flooding rain across Jamaica, Hispaniola, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas.
It is not out of the question that Tropical Depression 18 will be nearing or at hurricane strengthen before it slams into Jamaica on Wednesday.
How Tropical Depression 18 tracks Friday and beyond is dependent on several weather factors, which at this time are very complex and creating solutions that range from a tropical nightmare to a miss for the East Coast.
The worst case scenario for the East Coast involves future Sandy paralleling the coast from Florida to the Carolinas this weekend before being drawn inland into the mid-Atlantic or New England early next week.
While the Southeast coast would face heavy rain, strong winds and rough surf, far more serious impacts await communities from Virginia to Maine if this solution pans out.
Not only would destructive winds and widespread flooding rain accompany Sandy onshore, but a significant storm surge would unfold near and northeast of its center.
For a larger version of this map, please visit the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center.
Reminiscent of the “Perfect Storm,” the weather setup could even lead to heavy, wet snow in the Appalachian Mountains on future Sandy’s western side.
However, the above solution is far from set in stone. There is equal possibility that the jet stream will sweep east fast enough to offer the East Coast protection from Sandy. Bermuda may then become the storm’s target.
Yet another solution would spare the East Coast of a direct hit but would still bring Sandy close enough to graze the coastline with adverse impacts.
The bottom line is that while uncertainty exists with Tropical Depression 18′s final destination, this is a storm that should be monitored closely by all residents from Florida to the Northeast.
This satellite image, courtesy of NOAA, of Tropical Depression 18 was taken right before it formed at midday Monday.