Rare Double Halo Moon Glow Due To Hurricane Sandy

I was outside tonight at 8:30pm to observe the effects of Hurricane Sandy in a near-full moon sky.  The conjunction of a full moon and the arrival of a major hurricane is a once in a lifetime experience.  Only once before, when I was a child, have I seen this cosmic effect!  The large ring is actually much, much bigger than shown here.  The moon was well above the horizon but the ring reached nearly to the North Star, it was so huge!


I stood in the driveway and spun around again and again to look at it.  The rings are perfectly shaped with sharp edges.  The high atmosphere moisture caused this effect.  There is a HUGE amount of moisture in the high atmosphere from this big, big storm!


All day long, I was working hard to finish a number of projects outdoors that had to be done before winter but this year, I had to do everything all at once due to this hurricane coming.  So I spent most of the day on the roof and watched the sky as it shifted and changed.  Here is a collection of pictures showing how things changed each day:


Yesterday, Friday the 26th, I took a picture of some billowing clouds that were moving in an arc down the Hudson Valley.  The sky is already quite hazy with atmospheric moisture.

At dawn, as per all old sailor’s tales, the sky was very pearly and pink, a sign that very high atmosphere is there.


As we watched the dawn break, it became very pearly indeed.  The long line of clouds moved quickly overhead, again, in an arc pattern.



Today, the 27th of October, the air was very thick indeed.  It definitely carried the sweet smell of the Caribbean.  It reminded me greatly of the smell of the air during the monsoon season of my childhood living near the border of Mexico.


I took a picture from the roof showing the very thick contrails of jets.  These were very broad for the jets were flying through this Caribbean soup up there.  At sunset, there was a circular rainbow around the sun which was very pretty but by the time I got the camera again, it was obscured by clouds.  Note the pearly sunset!


There was zero wind at this point.  It was as if the entire mountain was holding its breath.  Even now, there is no wind…yet..


Here is a GOES satellite photo of this immense, amazing storm:

This is one huge storm!  In the upper atmosphere, it has already merged with the cold front’s storms and these are being increasingly compressed together.  This compression of dense moisture will cause massive deluges.  Here is a GOES photo of the entire Western Hemisphere: Interactive GOES East Water Vapor Weather Satellite Images


By any measure, this is a huge storm!  My brand new grandson is right in the path of this monster storm and I might have to go down to NJ to help move family out of danger so I may be offline for two days (or more!).    We may all be offline for several days if the storm gets worse!


This is a FULL MOON HURRICANE.  This means, the ocean will be bulging towards the moon and as the hurricane shoves ashore, this bulge of higher than normal water will cause major flooding and add 14+” of rain and you get a disaster.  Everyone on the East Coast must take this storm seriously.  I have lived through a number of hurricanes over the years and none of them were jokes.


Remember: some of the worst flooding comes after the storm ends.  The water it drops in various watersheds has to come back to the ocean where it was all birthed like Venus.  This can be most devastating.  When Irene hit, everyone was saying, it wasn’t a huge hurricane.


It was very huge!  It dropped 11+” in my region and in the Catskills, up to 15″.  It was a terrible catastrophe and for the first time living in Berlin, NY, I was nearly unable to leave town except by boat or helicopter!  Very bad indeed.  I do hope this hurricane doesn’t copy its near twin sister from last year!  sunset borger

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25 responses to “Rare Double Halo Moon Glow Due To Hurricane Sandy

  1. Do what you have to do Elaine. Like I need to tell you loved ones always come first. The latest I’ve seen from the National Hurricane Center shows it arriving almost directly at you at a still tropical storm strength, and the models are coming into close agreement. Jeez…and with a cold front right behind it.

    Moving water is a tremendous force, and sometimes with these storms they cause more damage than the wind does. This looks like one of those storms.

    As an aside, one Aug when I was stationed in the Philippines we got ~100 inches of rain that month, and that was only from the monsoon season…no storms. Connecting dots on a prior post of how dumb military officers can be, we got a directive stating that we couldn’t carry umbrellas while in uniform. Hell, not only did we need umbrellas, but knee-high rubber boots.

    I’m sure I speak for the entire readership here when I state we’ll be thinking of you over the next few days.

  2. emsnews

    HAHAHA…Mike, that is so funny! When I left dry Tucson for Germany, the first item I bought when coming into the Black Forest was…a silk umbrella. Carried it all the time for obvious reasons.

    Now, I just wear my rain slicker and of course, stall mucking boots.

  3. Elaine, another off the wall one here, and for everyone else for that matter….I know you have a lot on your plate, Elaine. Check out the book called “The Puzzle Palace.” I don’t need to get into trouble at this point in my life, and will let the 5 star reviews speak for themselves at Amazon.com.

    Just a thought for the back of your head for later on when life gets back to normal, whatever that is. I’ve never experienced it.

  4. Jim R

    Watch out for Blackwater mercs. They seem to come around after a storm like this and burgle and pillage.

  5. JimmyJ

    There was just a mag 7.7 earthquake off the Queen Charlottes here in BC, I’m 660km away and my chair was rocking.

    Pacific Geeosciences:

    I’ll see your storm and raise you one quake.

  6. JimmyJ. Wowser! Let’s all hope that wasn’t a fore shock. That’s a biggie.

    IMO, an intelligent person can’t help but study physics (and geology) after feeling the ground sway under their feet.

    I’ll fold my hand on your raise.

    I’m glad you’re OK.

  7. JimmyJ

    @MIkeM: Thanks. I worry for some on the coast, some nearby seismographs went out early on.

    Where I live is post Ice Age glacial outwash sand and gravel for several hundred feet of depth, so those S-waves waves jiggle us nicely. I felt a Mag 4 quake from the same coastal area a few years ago, on floor 11 of a highrise. Then my desk was rocking. Now I’m at ground level in a single family home and this one didn’t feel as severe, but lasted much longer. 3 hrs later I’m still watching aftershocks on the seismographs. The one that’s still working (out of 3) on the Charlotte’s (or Haida Gwaii) is going to run out of ink if things keep going as they are.


  8. kenogami

    All of us who comment on your blog wish you well in the coming deluge. As an extra, here is a photo of where each of us live: try to guess which place is mine.


  9. DickZ

    Elaine, a very interesting post.
    I must say you are a very impressive woman, with some measure of writing skill to complement your neo-renaissance worldview.
    I often disagree with your viewpoints, but respect your perspective.
    Stay safe…and we’ll see you on the other side!

  10. @JimmyJ…Yowsa! I currently live in a valley floor between the Cascades and the coast that would likely liquify in a large quake. Elaine is quite correct to point out the dangers for LA when that middle section of the San Andreas lets loose. Most of the LA basin will turn into a figurative bowl of jello, and there are millions of people living there.

    That link you provided is frightening, considering how overdue the Cascadia Subduction Zone is. On the other hand, what the hell…we live on a dangerous planet.

  11. It was awesome, 56 yrs old and never seen anything like that. Your image is exactly what I saw. It lasted for hours, sent text and posted on FB to check it out. My son called me from his job about 10:30 PM and asked if I checked out the moon. I told him yes, didn’t you get my text an hour ago….he never noticed it. Anyway, I viewed this from Valatie, NY. Thanks and good luck to you and your family during this unprecedented storm. Searched Google images and only found one picture that showed the brightest 1/4 sphere. (Global warming, ya think)

  12. DeVaul

    I grew up in Louisiana, and I have never seen so many hurricanes go up the east coast like this. I don’t think I ever saw one or heard about one until just a few years ago, in fact. We just assumed back then that hurricanes were a Gulf of Mexico thing only.

    When we drove to Pensacola to visit our first cousins, we always stopped in Biloxi to visit the Camile tourist attractions, like huge boats sitting on trees (on the ground by then) and turned into restaurants and tourist traps.

    I’ve seen the term “nor’easter” used in movies and I am wondering if that refers to a hurricane that moves up the east coast. Anyone know?

    I hope your relatives are willing to evacuate before it is too late.

  13. Ed-M

    @DeVaul, I used to live in Scituate, MA and now live in New Orleans and I remember Noreasters and Hurricanes. The Noreasters aleays came in late autumn, winter and early spring, the Hurricanes (a lot of them in the 1970s and 80s!) came during the summer.

    The first hybrid storm was Gloria of late October 1991 and up in New England we called it the No-Name Hurricane. While the lamestream media called it The Perfect Storm. Well Sandy is “The Perfect Storm” on steroids!

    @Elaine: stay safe, and may you get your grandkid out before it shows up! NYC is shutting down the subways this evening.

  14. Nice pics. I was out walking last night under the AZ sky and the moon even for a full moon seemed unusually bright.

  15. Wooster0007

    Stay safe and well, Elaine.

  16. anonymous

    Extraordinary storm, extremely serious threat
    Stu Ostro, Senior Meteorologist, The Weather Channel


    – A meteorologically mind-boggling combination of ingredients is coming together: one of the largest expanses of tropical storm (gale) force winds on record with a tropical or subtropical cyclone in the Atlantic or for that matter anywhere else in the world; a track of the center making a sharp left turn in direction of movement toward New Jersey in a way that is unprecedented in the historical database, as it gets blocked from moving out to sea by a pattern that includes an exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure aloft near Greenland; a “warm-core” tropical cyclone embedded within a larger, nor’easter-like circulation; and eventually tropical moisture and arctic air combining to produce heavy snow in interior high elevations. This is an extraordinary situation, and I am not prone to hyperbole.

    – That gigantic size is a crucially important aspect of this storm. The massive breadth of its strong winds will produce a much wider scope of impacts than if it were a tiny system, and some of them will extend very far inland. A cyclone with the same maximum sustained velocities (borderline tropical storm / hurricane) but with a very small diameter of tropical storm / gale force winds would not present nearly the same level of threat or expected effects. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. This one’s size, threat, and expected impacts are immense.

    – Those continue to be: very powerful, gusty winds with widespread tree damage and an extreme amount and duration of power outages; major coastal flooding from storm surge along with large battering waves on top of that and severe beach erosion; flooding from heavy rainfall; and heavy snow accumulations in the central Appalachians where a blizzard warning has been issued for some locations due to the combination of snow and wind. With strong winds blowing across the Great Lakes and pushing the water onshore, there are even lakeshore flood warnings in effect as far west as Chicago.

  17. DeVaul

    Thanks for that info, Ed. I am still a little confused. Are Noreasters snow storms or blizzards then? The time I remember seeing it on a movie was from a guy in Louisiana saying it, but it was raining and I just assumed he meant a storm that moved in a northeasterly direction. He called it a “three day nor’easter”. I also saw it in Jaws, when the boat captain joked about one coming as he pulled out of the harbor. They were in New England.

    I left Louisiana in 1977, so I did not keep track of them after that. We don’t get them here in Kentucky (thankfully). Only twisters, which is more than enough danger for me.

    If New York floods, how will they get the water out? It looks awfully low in elevation, just like New Orleans.

  18. DeVaul, here’s a great explanation of a Nor’easter:

    I spent many a year bobbing around the Pacific on navy ships, and we always steered clear of typhoons, although we couldn’t escape the swells they generated.

    I left Guam a year before typhoon Pamela hit the island, but while I was stationed in the Philippines I talked to a guy who was at Guam when it hit. He said fully husked coconuts were flying vertically. That’s another colorful story about how dumb military officers can be, and is why he witnessed it.

    Not to diminish the devastation that is about to hit our northeast, check out the most intense super typhoon in westpac recorded:


  19. Christian W

    “He said fully husked coconuts were flying vertically. That’s another colorful story about how dumb military officers can be, and is why he witnessed it.”

    Why? What did the officers do? Order the men out for a game of Dodge the Coconuts or something?

    “Men, go out there and dodge the flying coconuts!”

    “SIR,YES SIR!”

    (Men go out grumbling about officer stupidity) 😀

  20. Christian W, why the sarcastic bitterness? Not all officers in the military are dumb, but have a tendency to remember both the dumbest and best.

    Specifically, these guys were in a steel re-enforced concrete building (comm center) while the wind outside was blowing about 150 MPH.

    This JO had just ordered him to go out into the parking lot to do something, and when they opened the front door he looked at him and said “fuck you sir, I’m not going out into that shit.”

    Christian W, if you’re an ex-officer let me know. I’ll tell you a story about the coolest officer I ever knew in the military. We have to entertain ourselves while Elaine is out of town anyway.

  21. emsnews

    Just came home tonight, successful baby extraction from danger finished.

    They are closing down nearly everything on the coast. Son in law will move to 5th floor if his building goes underwater.

    This is a highly dangerous storm because it is SLOOOOW as molasses in January. Still is to the south of New Jersey but is so big, it is already hammering the place.

    This is one honking huge storm!

  22. Christian W


    Oh dear, sorry to have confused you mate wasn’t a dig in the least! I tried to make a joke I thought was funny 😦

  23. DeVaul

    I think Mike was indicating that the officer did not know the difference between “vertical” (up and down) and “horizontal” (level). The coconuts were flying horizontally, not vertically, unless they were being sucked straight up into the sky — like a twister would do.

    Christian W is from Norway, I believe.

    In English, you cannot fly “vertically”. That is what rockets leaving earth do. I guess this officer did not know the difference between vertical and horizontal, just like many privates don’t know the difference between left and right. In the US army, once you learn right from left, you become an officer. Once you learn vertical from horizontal, you become a general. Once you learn victory from defeat, you retire.

    Norway may do things differently.

  24. Christian W

    Oh I see, doh, I automatically translated the ‘vertical’ into ‘horizontal’ that was the inner image I had. Never occurred to me anything could ‘fly’ vertically – so I had the image of soldiers dodging (horisontally flying) coconuts like bullets like in some cartoon. (And I’m from Finland just living in Norway atm :))

  25. Christian W

    Looks like I am officer material 😦

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