Sandy, and landfall

Just before 6 on this date last year, posted an item stating that what we thought was Hurricane Sandy had made landfall near Atlantic City.

That made sense. Intrepid Inquirer Shore reporter Amy Rosenberg had observed from Ventnor that the winds had died down, and this must be the eye landing ashore.

We were to learn, however, that not only had the hurricane not made landfall at the hour … it wasn’t even a a “hurricane” -- according to the National Hurricane Center.

It would be two more hours before the hurricane center declared landfall, issuing a statement that Sandy had washed ashore as a “post-tropical” cyclone.

The hurricane center, you might recall, stopped issuing “tropical storm” and “hurricane” advisories once the storm reached the Mid-Atlantic region.

The reasoning: The storm was certain to lose its tropical characteristics and mutate into something else, that something else being a post-tropical cyclone.

Thus began a long debate over just what Sandy was and why the National Hurricane Center didn’t just keep it simple and call Sandy a “hurricane.”

Eventually, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the hurricane center,  agreed that, yes, simplicity would have been a better course.

If the same storm were to take the same track and assume the same characteristics today, the hurricane center would issue standard tropical-storm-type advisories, said the center’s Dennis Feltgen.

Louis Uccellini, now the head of the National Weather Service, put this policy into writing back in April. Here is his directive.