Hurricane Sandy’s Wind Field across Coastal North Carolina

Hurricane Sandy continues to move up the eastern U.S. seaboard. On Sunday evening, at 00 UTC 29 October, Sandy was located about 280 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras North Carolina. The western semicircle of Sandy has been brushing along the North Carolina coast during the past 24 hours or so. Wind gusts across eastern North Carolina during the past 24 hours have ranged between 40 and 60 MPH with some gusts exceeding 60 MPH and even a report of a 72 MPH gust in Nags Head North Carolina. See the table below for some selected reports. In addition to the wind gusts, sustained (1-minute average winds) have been strong across eastern North Carolina, especially along the Outer Banks and near the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. Sustained winds in these locations have ranged between 25 and 40 MPH.  Additional wind and rainfall reports are available from the NWS in Newport NC and Wilmington NC.

The images below are intended to provide a snapshot of the conditions on Sunday evening and provide some examples of a few of the data sets used in the CSTAR project examining tropical cyclone wind forecasts.

The image below shows the land-based surface observations across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast at 0043 UTC on 29 October 2012. The large circulation around Sandy is visible. Note the winds across far eastern North Carolina which range between 15 and 25 kts.

The image below shows the four quadrant wind field associated with Hurricane Sandy based on the 18 UTC 28 October NHC advisory valid at 00 UTC 29 October. At 00 UTC, the wind field associated with Sandy was expected to be very anomalous with the strongest winds in the southwest quadrant. In the northwest quadrant, closest to the North Carolina coast, the wind 34 kt winds were expected to extend out to 270 miles and the 50 kt winds out to 150 miles.

The experimental H*Wind analysis for Sandy showed a complex wind structure in its 2230 UTC product. The strongest winds in the H*Wind analysis were in the shown in the southwest quadrant with the 34kt winds remaining off the North Carolina coast.

Finally, the NDFD forecast of sustained winds valid at 0000 UTC 29 October across far eastern North Carolina shows sustained winds of 25 to 35 kts. These values appears to closely match the METARs plotted in the surface map valid and 0043 UTC and the slightly exceed the H*Wind analysis valid at 2230 UTC.

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