Sandy – a.k.a. Frankenstorm – is the wrong storm at the wrong time

    Sometime next week, we’re due for some bad weather courtesy of Hurricane Sandy.

    No matter where Sandy hits, she’s a different kind of storm happening at exactly the wrong time, which is what makes her such a threat to the Jersey Shore.

    “It’s not like a traditional hurricane where the worst of the worst is right at the eye,” said meteorologist Tom Thunstrom, founder of Phillyweather.net, of Sandy. “It’s like a hurricane that fused with a nor’easter.”

    While Sandy is coming up from the tropics as a hurricane, her size is more like a nor’easter, so instead of the impact being felt right where the storm hits land, it’ll be felt for hundreds of miles (which is why batteries and bottled water were flying off the shelves of the Cherry Hill Wegmans at 7 a.m. on Friday).

    Sandy’s also being met with a trough of high pressure and cool air coming down from Canada, which will force her to stick around much longer. 

    “Irene sped up as it was going up the coast. That’s how things traditionally move. Sandy can’t do that,” said Thunstrom.

    The worst of Irene hit the shore for about six hours. Right now, Thunstrom says that Sandy could batter the Jersey Shore for 12 to 18 hours — maybe even 24. 

    “I hate throwing this around, but in terms of slow movement and being around for a couple of days, this will be one that people remember,” said Thunstrom. 

    The length of the storm is where the “worst possible time” scenario comes in: it’s a full moon, which means that the tides will be the highest they can be all month. The possibility of having five high tides at full moon means the shore could see record coastal flooding. For the barrier island communities, that means flooding from both the ocean and the bay. 

    As forecasters are stressing, this could change. Sandy could take a hard right and head to Europe. She could shift north or south and focus her ire on Long Island or Ocean City, Maryland. But she could hit us dead on, too.

    Thunstrom also stresses that, while previous storms have fizzled out in our area (i.e. Irene), that’s no predictor any other storm will do the same. It didn’t fizzle out in the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962, which parked a nor’easter over the Jersey Shore for three days.  

    So track the storm and heed any of your county’s Office of Emergency Management warnings and evacuation notices. I’d rather our readers come back here on Wednesday and tell me I was a moron for hyping the storm than readers getting caught in its path.

    And come back on Monday when I’ll be posting a list of who is tweeting from where in the storm. If you want to be added to that list, leave your Twitter handle and location in the comments below. You can also follow me at my new twitter handle @byJenAMiller. I’ll be sharing as much information as I can during the storm.

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