As this is being written, hurricane Sandy is still moving in a mostly westerly direction after making a devastating landfall along the New Jersey shore. Also hard hit was New York, but the storm’s destruction is wide spread in the eastern third of the nation. The storm is huge. Satellite pictures show the storm influences an area from the east coast all the way to the Mississippi river, and from northern Florida to Canada. Its size is unprecedented. Besides the on-shore damage from wind and high seas, Sandy produced a wide swath of snow including blizzards in West Virginia and 60mph wind gusts in Chicago.
Yet Sandy started out as a mere Category I hurricane with sustained winds at 75 mph. That’s only a bit stronger than a tropical storm. How did this relatively weak hurricane turn into the monster it became? Several weather related conditions came together at just the ‘perfect’ time.