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Frankenstorm: A Meteorologist Student's Perspective

After a lifelong fixation on forecasts, clouds and all things weather-related, in September 2012 I finally became a meteorology student. Currently engulfed in a busy class schedule full of weather-specific courses, I’ve, beyond a shadow of a doubt, found the perfect program for me. And what could be more exciting, than delving into atmospheric dynamics and chemistry, while one of the most powerful storms of our time rages around us!

Up here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, we aren’t expected to get much of Sandy right away, but that doesn’t mean I’m not glued to CNN, the Weather Network (Canada) and my twitter feed, tracking her every move. I am by no means a meteorologist yet, but I would still like to share some tips for my friends down the East Coast:

1. Sandy is bad enough, but this is not your average situation.

Not only is Sandy a rather strong hurricane to be bombarding the Northeastern U.S. coast, she will be intermingling with a fierce cold front from the west, creating some unique conditions. The typical storm surges along coastlines, and the high winds and intense precipitation that are expected with Sandy are likely to turn into snow and potentially blizzard conditions in some areas (there are already blizzard warnings issued in parts of West Virginia!). And snow and hurricanes don’t often mix. Scary stuff.

2. Don’t believe everything you hear, but believe that this is a big-ass storm.

“They’re making too big a deal of this.” – naive North Americans everywhere. That’s cool that you are not worried; there’s no need to jump into panic-mode – but, be prepared. In a statement issued earlier today, senior meteorologist of the Weather Channel, Stu Ostro, could not stress this more: “This is an extraordinary situation, and I am not prone to hyperbole.” Ostro also emphasizes the immense strength and colossal size of Sandy, stating she is “one of the largest expanses of tropical storm (gale) force winds on record” and that she will be veering “toward New Jersey in a way that is unprecedented in the historical database.” Double-check your sources, cross-reference your news stations, but ultimately this is a situation where you must understand that this is an enormous and extremely dangerous storm.

3. Keep an eye on it.

While most models at this point are saying the same thing (landfall on coastal New Jersey and all hell breaking loose from thereon in), no forecast is 100% accurate. Frankenstorm has been particularly difficult to forecast, and although her projected path is now well – recognized, the storm could very well veer slightly from this path. Stay tuned to local and national news for any new risks or warnings issued, and be prepared. Even if you are not in the projected path of Sandy, stocking up on extra food and water couldn’t hurt for any residents of the Northeastern U.S. and Canada. Frankenstorm is coming. Batten down the hatches.

You can read more from Heather Wright on Twitter.

Feature image via.