Over the last two days Hurricane Sandy has cut a swathe through the Caribbean bringing strong winds, heavy rain and storm surge to Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and the Bahamas. At least 20 people have been killed, properties damaged and flooded and at one point large parts of Jamaica were without power.
Hurricane Sandy is now moving away from the Bahamas, but is still very close to the south-east coast of the USA. The east coast of Florida is experiencing stormy conditions as Sandy moves northwards over the Atlantic Ocean.
Sandy looks likely to turn north-west early next week and impact parts of the mid-Atlantic and north-eastern USA as did last year’s ‘Halloween Nor’easter’ storm of 2011 and the ‘Perfect Storm’ of 1991. As Sandy approaches land the warm moist air circulating within the hurricane looks sets to meet cold air spreading south into the north-eastern USA from Canada. This provides the potential for the storm to develop further and produce severe winds, heavy rain, flooding and even snow on its north and west flanks as it hits land.
Uncertainties remain as to the precise location and timing of landfall. However, the area most likely to be affected stretches from the states of Maryland to Massachusetts, including the populous cities of Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are providing warnings and advice to those who are potentially at risk from the storm. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of hurricane tracks from its global forecast model to NHC which it uses along with guidance from other models in the production of its forecasts and guidance.