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Hurricane Sandy Makes Landfall

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What a historic day for the United States, and not in a good way.  Hurricane Sandy made its way on shore around 7PM EDT near Ocean City, New Jersey as the strongest storm to ever make landfall in the U.S. north of North Carolina.  Records are dropping left and right with new record low central pressures recorded for the state of New Jersey and for the city of Philadelphia. Record breaking storm surge with New York City’s Battery Park recording a water level over the 13 feet, some 2 feet over the previous record level that was set back in 1821.  90mph wind gusts reported on Long Island, parts of New York City, and much of New Jersey with windows getting blown out of 30 Rock, the home of NBC.  Wave heights topping 45 feet were hanging just off the coast.  More then 4 million customers are now said to be without power and the number is climbing. Initial projections show more then 10 million people could be without power by Tuesday afternoon.  These statistics don’t even cover the damage or disruption, which I’m sure, will be talked about for weeks, months, and possibly even years to come.  Here is a look at some of the images from the ground and air that set this storm apart from all of the others.
Lets start with NYC where a unbelievable site is taking place in front of millions.  Record flooding has occurred with JFK closed until further notice, runways at LA Guardia underwater, Tunnels, streets, and buildings flooded, and thats just the initial assessment as day light will likely lead to more destruction.  Here are just a few of the images coming out of NYC.

Flooding at a Hoboken, NJ train station Courtesy of MTAInsider

Flooding on Avenue C Courtesy of Adam Schefter

Flooding into the Battery Tunnel courtesy of Adam Schefter

Flood waters flowing into the construction site at the World Trade Center Courtesy of the AP

Top left picture courtesy of Brian Monahan. Picture above courtesy of Joe Bastardi.

Unfortunately the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey may never be the same as storm surge has pretty much torn it apart.  Both of the images above were taken before dark Monday and before the brunt of the storm hit.  The full extent of the damage may not be known for a while until the water recedes completely.

So far more then 15,000 flights have been cancelled nationwide with the number still climbing leaving millions stranded around the world.  Below is a picture of storm surge creeping up to the runways at JFK International Airport.  May not look like much, but there's typically a couple hundred yards of land in between.  Not to mention, this picture was taken pretty early in the day, so its quite likely that at least part of this runway was underwater at some point.

Courtesy of @nygovcuomo on instagram

Just two of what I'm sure will be thousands of flooding pictures that will surface from the Northeast over the next few days.  These really say a lot though about how bad it really is in some areas.  The first picture is from Greenport, NY and the second from Ventnor Heights, NJ.

Courtesy of Leslie Henderson

Courtesy of Kim MacDonald

As Sandy was coming on shore, I saved this image of the current Mean Sea Level Pressure across the eastern part of the country.  Those thick black lines are lines of equal pressure.  The closer they are together, the stronger the winds at that location.

Notice the central pressure at this point is roughly 940mb.  To give you perspective, the lowest pressure ever recorded in the Atlantic was 882mb with Hurricane Wilma.  Average sea level pressure is 1015mb.  So that 940mb is really strong!!

Those strong winds spread out across the Atlantic like nothing ever before recorded.  The average tropical system, or hurricane, has a wind field (how far tropical storm force winds stretch from end to end) of about 300 or 400 miles... roughly the length of South Dakota.  Large enough right? I would say so, but Sandy blows everyones mind and stretches tropical storm force winds from the Carolinas to Canada, some 1200 miles across!!

If that doesn't impress you then I have a couple other things that might.  Even though Sandy's hurricane force winds only stretched out for 150 miles or so on the surface, doesn't mean that they were that contained all the way through the atmosphere.  Mount Washington, which is located some 500 miles away from landfall in northern New Hampshire, might just blow your mind.  This mountain is arguably the windiest place on earth commonly clocking 50, 60, and even 70 mph winds during the winter months.  But even Sandy had a surprise up its sleeve.  The station located at the top of Mount Washington clocked a 124mph wind gust Monday afternoon, and I have the official National Weather Service observation to prove it!  What's even scarier, is upper level winds increase overnight, so wind future wind gusts could be even higher!

And finally.... like I stated earlier, its not necessarily the intensity of this storm thats all that impressive.  I mean, lets face it, we get 90mph hurricanes in the Atlantic just about every year.  In many years, we get several if not a dozen.  But its the placement and the size of this particular hurricane that really is nothing like we have ever seen before.  There is more then one coastline that is getting brutally battered by this storm and I'm not talking about Canada.  This storm is so large that the coastlines of the Great Lakes are getting hammered just as bad as the Eastern Seaboard.  Thats right, wicked winds, rain, waves, and surge are threatening areas along Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.  Conditions are so bad in Cleveland that the airport closed and there is no set time for reopening, which just adds to the already decimated flight schedule.  Some of the worst conditions seen in years, maybe even decades are showing up along the coasts of the lakes.  Check out the expected wave heights through Monday night along the coast of Ohio.  Waves of 25+ feet!!

More is likely to come on what will be the remnants of Sandy as it becomes available in the days ahead so stay tuned.
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