Waiting for Sandy

Cape May, NJ – Living in Cape May in the fall is a lesson in watchful waiting. We don’t get hurricanes here every year, although they often give us pause for thought as they storm out of the Gulf or move up the Atlantic Coast, before moving offshore or making landfall farther north. Passing hundreds of miles off our coast, they usually do no harm.

Some of us in Cape May are starting to think about Sandy. At this writing she is a Cat 1 Hurricane moving up the coast in our general direction. Some of the models used by forecasters are saying Sandy will come ashore between Maryland and New York City.

Those same forecasters are likening Sandy to the “perfect storm” of 1991 and the great noreaster of 1962. Although neither storms were classified as hurricanes, both claimed lives and devastated the coast and property. This time, the perfect storm is predicted to be a “marriage” of a tropical storm packing winds in excess of 50 mph, to a cold front moving toward the shore. The combination of the warm, moist air with the cold dry air could be explosive,resulting in inches of rain, tides 8-9 feet above average, and damaging winds.

Five Day storm forecast Friday from the National Hurricane Center:

Models are not always correct and there are competing models that predict landfall of Sandy to the north of New Jersey. The weight of evidence for a landall somewhere along the Jersey or DelMarva shores is growing, although lots can happen in the next four days. The key component and wildcard is whether the jet stream will draw the tropical storm straight toward the coast or whether the storm will move seaward like so many storms before it.

After evacuating for Hurricane Irene last year, only to see little impact to Cape May, some of us are a bit worried that we may be running out of luck. Others are more nonchalant. Do we pull our boats out of the water? Do we put the storm shutters on the house? Will we lose power like we did during the big blizzard of 2010?

We are in a state of watchful waiting, once again.


More  Sandy Stories:

Sunday – Cape May Point Braces for Sandy

Saturday – Life in Cape May: Prepping for Sandy

Friday – Waiting for Sandy

About Paul Kerlinger

Paul Kerlinger, Ph.D. is a scientist, author and nationally known expert on bird migration. He's done extensive studies on hawks, Snowy Owls and neotropical song birds. Kerlinger is the former director of the Cape May Bird Observatory, His books include How Birds Migrate and Flight Strategies of Migrating Hawks. He's an ardent fly fisherman and organic vegetable gardener.