‘Superstorm’ winds down, aftereffects could hinder recovery

October 30, 2012 — The storm that was Hurricane Sandy — now technically a post-tropical cyclone — is weakening and winding down. Still, meteorologists say, the damage and precipitation left behind by the storm will make it harder for utility crews to restore power.

WeatherBug/Earth Networks’ Chief Meteorologist Mark Hoekzema said that since the storm made an S-curve and came aground near Atlantic City, New Jersey, the storm has passed over Pennsylvania and will soon veer north into New York State.

“The storm still contains a lot of moisture, and will still be slow to move along. But so far the major effects of the storm will be winding down,” Hoekzema said.

There is still a large area of alerts across the East put out by the National Weather Service. For the most part these are scattered wind advisories and winter storm advisories, he said.

Some of the worst weather still going on is in the Appalachians, where blizzard conditions are still going strong.

“Wind chills are down to about 20 degrees out in the Appalachian Mountains — very unusual for a post-tropical storm to produce have such cold activity associated with it,” he said.

Utility restoration crews in that area will have to contend with iced-over roads as well as freezing rain and very wet, heavy snow that could bring down trees and power lines.

In West Virginia, some areas have already collected some 30 inches of snow, and WeatherBug predicts they could get at least another foot in the next 24 hours.

Along the East Coast, particularly Maryland, rain showers and wind chill will make restoration a challenge for work crews.

“Temperatures have dropped into the 30s and 40s. These chilly temps will make for some unpleasant conditions from Washington, D.C. to New York,” he said.

On the other hand, with barometric pressures rising, high winds will no longer be an issue for work crews in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Winds will stay around 25 mph or less, but the wind chill factor bring air temperatures down to below freezing.

Storm surges, which arguably caused some of the most significant damage in New Jersey and New York, will continue to happen along with tidal activity, but in much lower elevations than October 30.

“We are looking at one more significant storm surge, that is happening this afternoon, between five and seven feet in the New York area, with some more severe storm surges in and around Maine and as southerly winds push up into the Bay of Fundy,” he said.

Around Wilmington, Delaware, the Delaware Bay could see some additional tidal storm surge danger, with waters 10 feet higher than normal. Tidal flooding around Washington, D.C. could send waters in that area 5 feet higher than normal.

“Tides that happen tomorrow will be down even further — much, much less impact than the overnight tides,” he said.

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