Bill Read's Blog: Bahamas to feel Sandy's brunt

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HOUSTON - Hurricane Sandy crossed eastern Cuba overnight and emerged intact into the warm waters of the southern Bahamas. The picture above shows Sandy at landfall in Cuba last night and early this morning as it emerged on Cuba's north coast. The mountains of Cuba disrupted the eye-wall and tall thunderstorms as expected.

However, since moving over the warm waters between Cuba and the Bahamas, Sandy appears to be getting reorganized very quickly, as shown in this visible satellite image. Also, Hurricane Hunters found the pressure had dropped to 967 millibars with maximum winds at 105 mph at 8 am. This doesn't bode well for the Bahamas today.

Sandy's eye will pass through the central Bahamas today and to the east of the northwest Bahamas tonight. Because it is a large hurricane, all of the Bahamas will feel the impacts with storm surge of up to 8 feet and 5 to 10 inches of rain in addition to hurricane force winds. Florida's east coast will experience tropical storm conditions today and tomorrow, with dangerous waves and beach erosion likely.

Our computer models, while differing on the specifics, are all starting to point to a northeast U.S. impact from Sandy early next week. A strong early winter season storm now moving through the Pacific Northwest will eventually merge with Sandy starting as early as Sunday. The resulting storm, while not purely tropical, will be quite large and poses a threat of widespread heavy rain, coastal flooding and power outages from tropical storm force winds. This could be an historical event. Stay tuned!

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