tagged w/ billion dollar storms
How's this for some election-year timing: The East Coast faces the real possibility of taking a battering next week from a “perfect storm” roaring in from the Atlantic — right at the tail end of a campaign in which President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and their debate moderators have all drawn criticism for avoiding discussion of climate change.
The brewing, blustery mess could affect the same region that was already knocked around by this summer's derecho and soaked in 2011 by Hurricane Irene. And it could come just two months after Hurricane Isaac forced the GOP to cancel the first day of its convention in Tampa.
This time, the meteorological mayhem would be courtesy of Hurricane Sandy, which is forecast to barrel northward across Jamaica and Cuba during the next 24 hours before slicing toward the Bahamas.
While much of Florida's east coast and the Upper Florida Keys are already under a tropical storm watch, some forecasting models — particularly one from the European weather agency — have hinted that the real trouble could come early next week, after Sandy ceases to be a tropical cyclone. It then could merge with other atmospheric patterns over the Atlantic and possibly get whipsawed back to the U.S. coast, somewhere from Virginia to Maine.
Other models suggest the storm will curve out to sea. But the more dramatic possibility is getting some attention in weather-watching circles.
“What seemed like a fluke of an idea — a hurricane-like system hitting the northeastern U.S. — is gaining credibility,” wrote Weather Channel hurricane forecaster Bryan Norcross in a blog post Wednesday morning. “Originally the European model was on its own with the spectacular but somewhat bizarre idea that Sandy would be injected with jet stream energy and curve back toward New England as a stunningly strong storm. Now one model after the other, including the ensembles, are favoring a swing back toward the East Coast after the storm goes by Cape Hatteras.”
Meteorologists at NOAA's National Hurricane Center near Miami were more cautious, saying it's too early to know whether the scary scenario will play out.
“There are some models that are showing that, and there are also some models that show it will go out east toward the ocean. It’s really too early to tell,” said NHC hurricane specialist Robbie Berg.
“If this storm hits, it would probably be a billion-dollar storm,” Masters said.
The timing of a major storm hitting right before Election Day is not lost on the environmental community, which has taken both presidential candidates to task for not adequately communicating the threat of climate change on the campaign trail.
“Sandy is yet another reminder that the candidates should stop competing over who can poison the weather faster with increased oil, gas and coal production,” said Brad Johnson, campaign manager at ClimateSilence.org, a website aimed at getting the candidates to make climate change a major part of the election-year debate. “If they fear that honesty about global warming could cost them votes, they should instead be more concerned that climate silence costs lives.”
Many scientists warn that climate change will cause hurricanes and other storms to become more intense, although they are usually hesitant to connect any one weather event to global warming.
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, a climate-change advocacy group that has criticized both Romney and Obama, said he sees little hope that a storm like this would turn climate change into a major issue in Washington.
“These guys will never notice. They've been treated with some kind of special weatherproofing,” he said in an email. “They didn't notice the hottest month in U.S. history [July 2012], nor the drought of their lifetimes — they've got some kind of special coating. A hurricane would roll right off their backs.”
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82813_Page2.html#ixzz2AKNvmTQAHow's this for some election-year timing: The East Coast faces the real... more