Future conditions less likely to steer hurricanes directly into the East Coast
Climate change may bring some good news to the Northeast: The unusual atmospheric circumstances that allowed Hurricane Sandy to slam directly into New Jersey could become even rarer in the future, new simulations predict. Although future conditions may steer more storms away from the East Coast, the new study doesn’t address whether Atlantic hurricanes will change in frequency or intensity.
Most North Atlantic hurricanes travel roughly parallel to the East Coast and make landfall approaching from the south. The October 2012 storm was unusual because it took a left turn and approached from the east, smacking into New Jersey at nearly a right angle. Sandy’s nearly perpendicular angle to the shore intensified its destructive storm surge.
Several atmospheric conditions converged to drive Sandy down its odd path, says Elizabeth Barnes, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Kinks in the jet stream, a band of strong air currents, set