Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Sandy: Days of Fright

"Frankenstorm" still days away, so why are we worried now?

Sandy: Days of Fright

The National Weather Service isn't into the "made you look" business, so you're not apt to find storm-mongering on weather service sites to generate hits.

So we found it at least unusual that the weather service began talking two days ago about the potential for a storm that wouldn't hit until at least Sunday.

Not only that, it was a potential heralded far more by the European forecast models than the U.S. computer guidance.

We couldn't recall the weather service getting involved in storm alerts so far in advance, and neither could Glenn Schwartz over at NBC-10, one of the first to latch on to the Sandy threat.

In part, as Schwartz notes, this could be a reaction to an in-house report released last month that criticized the weather service for failing to capture Irene's inland flooding threat.

But a large part of what we are seeing are the harvests, and perhaps perils, of scientific progress.

Serious discussion about a storm threat so far away would have been almost un-thinkable a generation ago, perhaps even a decade ago.

With so many computer models, a threat is always out there somewhere, and in this case, the respected European gave the threat all the more credence.

The upside is that everyone has times to go out to stock up on candles and batteries.

The downside, of course, is that this could still be a giant bust and undermine the credibility of future forecasts.

We would argue that the drumbeat is warranted because clearly the computer models are on to something, and that becomes more evident by the model run.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the Bahamas, and a tropical storm warning for parts of the Florida East Coast.

The National Hurricane Center official track now has Sandy right near Long Beach Island at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

In its morning discussion, the government's Hyrdrometeorological Prediction Center suggested that this thing might merit the name "Frankenstorm."

Yes, the "cry wolf" danger is there, but we'll take over-warned over surprise.

 

 

 

 

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
About this blog

Everyone talks about the weather, and here we write about it.

When we’re around and conditions warrant, we’ll keep you updated about what’s coming, but we will do our best always to discuss weather and climate developments in context and remind you that nothing in the atmosphere happens in a vacuum.

Tony Wood has been writing about the atmosphere for The Inquirer for 26 years.

Reach Tony at twood@phillynews.com.

Tony Wood Inquirer Weather Columnist
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