How the Frankenstorm came to life

Sandy holds lessons for forecasters

By Alexandra Witze, 18:39 PM October 31, 2012

She was born, like all hurricanes, as a faintly inauspicious stirring of winds. But she didn’t come from off the coast of Africa, as many tropical Atlantic storms do. She was a child of the Caribbean.

On the evening of October 19, a trough of low air pressure drifted slowly in the Caribbean Sea, east of Costa Rica and south of Haiti. The U.S. National Hurricane Center gave this tropical wave only a 20 percent chance of strengthening into a named storm.

But the surrounding atmosphere was full of...

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