Hurricane "Sandy" In the Bahamas; Last Advisory on "Tony" Issued Late Thu......
FOR THE FIRST COAST.....it would appear direct effects from "Sandy" will be relegated to a stiff east/northeast wind through Fri. night that becomes offshore -- from the N/NW -- Sat.-Sun.
* very rough seas & surf
* a very high & dangerous rip current risk
* beach erosion & some coastal flooding, especially at times of high tide
-- the degree, of course, dependent on the exact location & intensity of "Sandy". Conditions at area beaches will become downright dangerous into the weekend - stay out of the water!
Hurricane WARNING for Parts of the NW Bahamas...; Tropical Storm WARNING for the Central Fl. East Coast & Central Bahamas... Tropical Storm WATCH for NE Fl. Coast, Parts of Upper Keys & Far SE Fl.....
** The tropical storm WATCH & WARNING for the First Coast & Fl. coast & upper Keys is primarily a result of the wide wind field -- that's expected to expand even more -- to the northwest of the center & NOT because of a change in the forecast path which is a center well to the east of Fl** ......
"Sandy" is marching north through the Bahamas taking a bit of a northwest jog, as expected & slowing some too. The N/NW move will continue through Fri. before a solid turn to the northeast Fri. night-Sat. far to the east of Jacksonville. Strong upper level troughing looks like it'll become reinforced over the Northern & Eastern U.S. which should protect the Southeast U.S. from the brunt of the storm. "Sandy" has steadily weakened since entering the Bahamas but convection near the center actually intensified some overnight. Forecast models have come into better agreement regarding an intense hybrid storm turning northwest into or near New England. This could turn out to be a historical storm from the Mid Atlantic to the Northeast. Either way...impacts on the First Coast will be virtually the same as I anticipate a center well to the east of Jacksonville Fri. night-Saturday.
Torrential rain, rough seas & surf & damaging winds will diminish for Jamaica & Cuba but heavy rain & flooding will continue into early Fri. for Hispaniola. Conditions will remain stormy through Fri. across especially the Central & NW Bahamas. "Sandy" will undergo increasing shear by the weekend as it moves into the W. Atlantic east of Fl. The combination of the shear + interaction with an upper level trough & possible frontal system could give the tropical cyclone a more subtropical structure this weekend/early next week with an expanding wind field. Cruises to the Bahamas &/or Caribbean might have to be rerouted but will still get out of port, just a matter of where the cruise will exactly be able to go.
As "Sandy" takes on some subtropical characteristics, some heavier rain may begin to expand to the northwest. How far will determine how much rain the First Coast gets or does not get. At the moment, I'm inclined to believe much of the heavy rain stays east offshore, but it'll be very close right along the coast & at the beaches. Tropical storm force wind gusts will be possible right at the coast into Sat. morning but less wind inland. I have few concerns about much damage for the First Coast though the beaches will take a pretty decent beating due to persistent strong onshore winds that become offshore over the weekend. This storm will be much like the late Oct. hurricane -- "Wilma" -- in 2005 that crossed S. Fl. On it's backside there was quite the dump of chilly air which will occur for the First Coast next week as what should be subtropical "Sandy" moves into the NE U.S.
Wave heights courtesy NOAA: