Now, I’m no meteorologist, but as a sailor I pay attention to weather, and I’ve done atleast a little bit of studying on the matter. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as a perfect storm, or frankenstorm, or whatever you want to call it. Maybe if two or more storm systems collide it could happen, but the chances of that are probably less than the chances of a comet wiping out humanity.
Air masses and weather systems generally don’t collide and intermingle themselves into a new system. They go head to head and jockey for position. One will win out over the other. The colder air mass will always win out on ground level over whatever system it’s up against. It will either displace the warmer system at ground level, or the colder air will absorb the energy of the warmer storm system and eventually snuff it out. Either way, the two systems don’t join forces to create a larger, more violent, system. That’s just not how it works.
|Three Weather Systems
So we had this massive, continent wide, cold air mass marching across the country. And then a little bit of an arctic blast type of cold air mass stretching down from Canada BEHIND the cold front. There was also a cyclonic storm system in the North Atlantic that was moving eastwards out of Canada… The news media reported that these three things would collide with Hurricane Sandy and join forces together to create the now famous “frankenstorm”.
I have to wonder if they really believed that or if they just wanted to scare the pants off everyone so they would keep watching the news in horror.
So, what really happened was hurricane Sandy pushed up against this massive cold front. The front turned into a stationary front and held it’s ground while Sandy tried it’s best to push against it. The result was that Sandy moved farther north instead of pushing inland earlier. It simply couldn’t push through the cold front and because of the rotation and friction between the air masses, it ‘climbed’ the air mass northwards. It wasn’t until the long ‘trough’ of cold air coming down from the arctic displaced the cold front enough to give Sandy an “in” that she finally was able to make any westard movement. And that North Atlantic storm system? Well, it just kept going east and never even touched Sandy.
Not to take anything away from the damage Sandy caused in New England, but all that was not the result of a “frankenstorm” or any type of super storm. It was caused by a standard cat 1 hurricane, or more accurately, a tropical storm (because it immediately diminished and began to lose it’s cyclonic momentum as it went ashore).
The northern states simply aren’t as prepared for major storms like the southern states are, so they always feel the effects in a much greater way. The same storm landing between North Carolina and Virginia, would have been just another Cat 1 with minor flooding, a semi-major surge, and 70mph winds. Nothing we haven’t seen before…
So anyway… I didn’t take any more video yesterday because the storm had passed uneventfully and everything was back to normal, aside from some minor gusts, by morning.
I hope everybody stayed safe, although I have heard reports of atleast one marina being destroyed, and of course lots of flooding from the surge on the east coast North of the Chesapeake. I just hope everyone recovers well and learns how to be better prepared in the future, rather than living in fear of the monstrous frankenstorm.