Were Sandy's track and intensity changes unusual?

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Thursday, 6 February 2014: 11:00 AM
Georgia Ballroom 2 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Frank Marks, NOAA/AOML/HRD, Miami, FL; and S. Gopalakrishnan and H. Chen

Between 24-29 October 2012 Hurricane Sandy developed and moved northward out of the central Caribbean Sea, across eastern Cuba, over the eastern Bahama Islands and just off the east coast of the United States, and finally recurving westward until making landfall in southern New Jersey. Early in its life the storm rapidly intensified as it approached eastern Cuba and then maintained hurricane intensity until it passed just east of the Florida peninsula and interacted with an upper level trough. After the trough interaction the storm weakened dramatically, only to reintensify to hurricane strength as it moved northeast along the southeast United States coastline. As it continued to move north it interacted with a second upper level trough that resulted in extra-tropical transition, while maintaining a large radius of near hurricane force winds and deepening pressure until landfall. The predictability of the evolution of events that led to this rather unusual track and intensity will be examined using HWRF forecasts from the 5-day period. In particular how well the model simulated the rapid intensification, weakening, reintensification, and subsequent extratropical transition will be examined. Emphasis will be placed on the fidelity and predictability of the synoptic, as well as the vortex evolution within the model simulations of both the track, storm intensity, and structure in an attempt to answer the question posed in the title.