Mac and Duffy were right. Dogs have a great sense of danger and, there have been many cases of them warning their masters of impending peril. So, superstorm Sandy has come and gone and, compared to what some other places got, we made out OK here. No flooding or power outages in our area and, the rain held up nicely Wednesday evening, so our kids could enjoy their Halloween.
A number of unusual factors combined to make Sandy the disaster that it was. It was heading north, out in the Atlantic, till it got to about the 40th parallel, when it made a sharp turn to the west. Usually, hurricanes, at that latitude, follow the prevailing winds and go northeast and harmlessly die when they get to the cold waters. When Sandy got to the 40th parallel, a stationary high over Greenland blocked and prevented it from proceding north or east, giving it no choice but to go west, into New Jersey. Once inland, it encountered a storm front from the west and a cold air mass from the north, creating the hellacious mess of snow, heavy rain and surge.
Hurricane winds blow in counterclockwise circles around the eye. Therefore, the ocean surge, often the most damaging part of the hurricane, is worst on the right side of the eye. Last year, although Irene landed close to New York City, its landing was to the north and east of it. The strong winds were pushing the water away from the city and so, the surge prone city was spared. This year, the Big Apple’s luck ran out. Although the eye’s landing was much further away, due to its huge swath, strong winds pushed water into the harbor and, combined with the full moon phase, created the record damaging surge at high tide, flooding the numerous tunnels in the rivers on both sides of lower Manhattan.
So, lets count our blessings and enjoy our hike in Letchworth. We know winter’s coming when it’s totally dark at 5 PM. Time to get out the snowshoes.