Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Arne Duncan May Get His Wish Somewhere Else

Secretary of Education Privatization Arne Duncan once said the best thing to happen to the New Orleans school system was Hurricane Katrina - the destruction wreaked by the storm allowed the privatizers to come in and charterize the whole school system in that city.

With Hurricane Sandy forecast to hit somewhere on the East Coast next week as perhaps a Category 1 or Category 2 storm/Nor'Easter, he may get a similar outcome somewhere else.

Here is the current forecast:

The jet-stream dip over Florida is expected to push Sandy north of the Bahamas on Friday and perhaps nudge it a bit to the west... as the high winds spread out from the center. The highest winds will likely be at or just below hurricane strength, but over a larger and larger area. It looks like Sandy will ride the Gulf Stream a long way north, so it should be able to maintain its strength as it passes the Carolinas with similar effects to Florida, but a longer duration of wind.

The most logical forecast is looking more and more like a direct hit on some part of the coast between the Delmarva and Maine. The American GFS computer model wants to turn the storm out to sea and then loop it back to Canada, but it seems to be heading directly into a strong, blocking high pressure system, which doesn't look likely. Most of the rest of the credible models, including the multi-run ensembles, bring the system directly to the coast.

The effects of the storm are likely to be widespread - many hundreds of miles - but there are still a lot of variables. How strong will it be? Maybe the upper-level winds over the Bahamas wound it so it can't recover. Does the southern jet-stream dip push it farther east, which changes the track father north? Where does the center make landfall, if it does? The biggest coastal threat, by far, will be north of that point. If landfall misses your location to the north, coastal impacts for you would be dramatically reduced, though you could still have a long duration of strong winds.

The key take-away is the same as it has been. The consensus of the best computer forecasts we have is an extremely strong storm on an unprecedented track into the Northeast or New England on Monday or Tuesday, depending on how far north it tracks before turning inland. We'll know more by Friday when we see how the interaction with the jet stream comes out and where it is at that time. But, for now, everybody along the East Coast needs to stay informed and be ready to get prepared for an extended period without power and all of the other problems cause by a hurricane-like storm.
So an uncertain forecast - we don't know if, when or where it will hit.

Maybe it goes out to sea and all we get is a little rain (although that seems less likely now than it did a few days ago.)

Maybe it misses the American East Coast and hits Canada (in which case the Canadians get it bad but Duncan can't actually privatize their schools no matter what happens!)

Or maybe it hits somewhere between Delmarva and Long Island and creates a lot of destruction.

Here's hoping the thing goes out to sea.

You can track the storm models and analysis from professional and amateur meteorologists, if you're so inclined, on this weather forum here.

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