We've mentioned it for days, now we're already feeling the initial effects from Hurricane Sandy.
West Michigan will likely see rain (and perhaps some snow showers mixing in at times) on Tuesday and Wednesday. The bigger issue will be the strong, sustained winds that will really ramp up on Tuesday. Winds are expected to reach sustained speeds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts of 40 to 50 possible on Tuesday. Winds will still be strong on Wednesday, and slowly diminish on Thursday as the actual center of low pressure pulls away into Canada. Gale and storm warnings have been issued for Lake Michigan.
The National Weather Service in Chicago and North Webster, Indiana have posted Lakeshore Flood Warnings for the southern coast of Lake Michigan. We don't see these very often, but they are expecting winds from this system to generate waves as high as 20 feet or more in extreme northern Indiana along the shoreline. That could certainly result in significant beach erosion and lakeshore flooding along the south end of the lake. The high waves are the result of the long fetch and strong north winds that will push water down the entire length of the lake before slamming the south shore.
Sandy has brought life-threatening storm surge flooding to the Mid-Atlantic coast, including Long Island Sound and New York harbor. Forecast models have this storm tracking inland somewhere along the New Jersey shore, then retrograding (moving east to west) into Pennsylvania. Sandy will eventually lose its tropical characteristics and get absorbed into a large upper level trough. The system will become a strong mid-latitude cyclone and continue to produce a fair amount of precipitation and wind. The official word from the National Hurricane Center is "this storm will transition into a frontal or wintertime low pressure system prior to landfall, but some strengthening is still possible". Speaking of a winter type system, this storm will generate two to three feet of snow in the mountains of West Virginia.
You can get the latest on Sandy from the National Hurricane Center. You can see the clouds and rain associated with Sandy over the Mid-Atlantic/East Coast of the United States by clicking here. View all of the watches, warnings, and advisories that have been posted across the entire country from the Storm Prediction Center.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of flights have been disrupted from Hurricane Sandy up and down the East Coast and even into Grand Rapids. United and Delta, two of the bigger carriers locally, have already canceled a handful of flights and may axe more as this massive system moves further westward into the eastern Great Lakes.
Wall Street and the stock market was closed today, as was public transportation across New York and New Jersey affecting millions of residents on their daily commute. Transportation interruptions will likely continue through at least mid-week in states up and down the East Coast and elsewhere.
For the complete West Michigan forecast, click over to www.fox17online.com/weather. Don't forget to continue to email your Fall photos to us (firstname.lastname@example.org), or post them on the FOX 17 Facebook page. Have a pleasant week!