Tropical Storm Sandy continues to move slowly northward through the central Caribbean in a favorable environment for strengthening. I expect Sandy to become a hurricane in the next 48 hours, moving through Jamaica, Cuba, and the Bahamas. Sandy will then emerge into the open waters of the southeastern Atlantic, likely maintaining hurricane or strong tropical storm strength. This storm looks like it will be larger than the average hurricane, and will have a better chance to affect the Mid-Atlantic coast, despite the eye remaining well offshore. The series of graphics below shows the most aggressive model solution for what could happen in our area as Sandy moves past.
The graphic above shows cloud cover, rain, and wind gusts at 5 PM Saturday. Winds at this time are gusting in the range of 20 to 25 mph, with high cloud cover from the cirrus outflow from Sandy.
The system is now closer to the area by 5 PM Sunday, and wind gusts have increased into the range of 25 to 30 mph. Scattered showers from the outer bands of Sandy are impacting the OBX and eastern VA.
Winds at 4 PM Monday are gusting in the range of 40 to 45 mph, with rain continuing along and east of I-95.
The system makes landfall in New England, with windy conditions continuing in VA.
This is the most aggressive and worst-case scenario for Virginia, and while it is certainly possible, should not be relied upon this far out. Keep your weekend plans going, but check back often for updates on Sandy’s progress. You can click here for updates on my facebook page. -Zach