Baroclinic energy is the force that occurs when warm and cold air collide and one mass is injected with the energy of the other. If you consider the word "collide" then you might understand what can happen when two very large bodies of air masses - one of them a hurricane - collide. In the collision one of the bodies of air - the larger, more powerful one, can be injected with super energy. Basically, it sucks up the other mass and makes it one with it. (Image: NASA)
This is what is going to happen on Monday, October 29, 2012 right off the entire east coast of the United States. There are actually three storms involved - two winter storms and hurricane Sandy, so a combination of the three is what has caused weather forecasters to use terms such as Frankenstorm, Superstorm and Perfect Storm to describe this event. People are being urged to forget about the term hurricane for this event, and to focus on safety and protection of property.
Parts of New York City are now under mandatory evacuation, and according to blogs and news reports coming in today, damage is in progress along the shores of North and South Carolina as Sandy passes closely by.
Sandy may be the most massive hurricane in size, in history - over 1,000 miles in diameter, with hurricane force winds extending out over 500 miles in some directions.
According to weather experts such as Dr. Jeff Maters at WeatherUnderground, the storm surge for Sandy will be higher than any hurricane since 1969, including Katrina. However, Sandy is not expected to result in the same type of devastation as Katrina except damage could be in the billions if the storm makes landfall Monday night at high tide. No matter when Sandy makes landfall, damage will be very extensive.
Arrival of the storm at high tide could cause New York City subways to flood.
Sandy is expected to speed up at landfall but over land will continue to be a historic menace.
The type of fatalities that can be expected include those from flooding. Some people will choose to drive over flooded roads, not aware parts of the road under the water - that they can't see - has washed away. This will cause vehicles to plunge into swollen rivers, lakes, stream.
Trees heavily laden with leaves this time of year will lose large limbs and branches and fall onto cars, homes and people outside surveying the damage after the storm. In some parts of the East Coast the trees will be heavy with snow.
Some people may not be aware there are live electrical wires down on or near their property or business, and this is sometimes a cause of death or injury following a powerful storm.
Past events along the Gulf Coast of the U.S. have shown that after a storm has passed some people do not heed warnings to wait for utility companies and emergency personnel to survey an area before coming outside. Many deaths occur several says after a storm has ended.
Some people who have never used gasoline generators place them inside a structure or home, unaware the fumes will kill those inside - usually as they sleep.
Unfortunately, in this type of event there are always some people who refuse to heed evacuations and leave their homes. These people will become trapped in their homes and as the water level rises some will have to seek safety on their roofs and await rescue. For many it could be a long wait since even emergency personnel do not have immediate access to heavily flooded areas. Cold temperatures will add to the injuries.
For some the rescue may never come. People anywhere near the ocean along the U.S. East Coast should either have already left or be in the last stages of leaving the shoreline. People inland of the East Coast near large bodies of water should also evacuate. Others not so close but in the danger zone of flooding should move valuable personal belongings from basements and lower floors to higher levels of the home or business.
While wind will definitely be a real danger in this storm, water and flooding are the main concern. -Preston Brady III, MobileTribune.com