Hurricane Sandy is slowly making its way up the East Coast and could merge with a winter storm and arctic air from Canada as it makes landfall along the Mid-Atlantic states early next week. This hybrid storm has been dubbed by forecasters and government officials as “Frankenstorm” because of its scary size and close timing to Halloween.
What worries forecasters the most is that the storm, once it merges, will hover over the Mid-Atlantic states for a handful of days dumping water, causing wind damage, creating mass power outages and causing major beach erosion along the coast. The storm’s sheer size could also create problems as far West as Ohio. Some experts are predicting that this storm will cause at least $1 billion in damage.
Utility companies up and down the East Coast have begun scheduling crews from Mid-Western states to help with the power outages and the cleanup that ensues.
“It’s looking like a very serious storm that could be historic,” said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the forecasting service Weather Underground. “Mother Nature is not saying `trick-or-treat.’ It’s just going to give tricks.”
Just two days ago, there was a 60 percent chance that the East Coast will be highly affected by this storm. Now, the percentage has increased to 90 percent. Hurricane Sandy comes very late in the season, which has been very quiet, and should hit the United States between Delmarva and New York.
The areas that should experience the worst of the storm include Delaware to New York. These areas could see rainfall totaling 5-10 inches and gale-force winds that could touch 40mph. the areas of southwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, western Virginia and the Shenandoah Mountains could see a significant snowfall.
Forecasters are worried that the storm could linger over the area where it makes landfall and might not clear out until a day or two after Halloween.
“It’s almost a weeklong, five-day, six-day event,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco said. “It’s going to be a widespread, serious storm.”
What makes matters worse for coastal towns up and down the East Coast is the fact that the storm is going to hit during a full moon, which typically makes tides higher than normal on a regular day. This will cause major coastal flooding. A record number of trees could fall since most of them still have their leaves, making it easier for the wind to knock them to the ground. Utility companies up and down the East Coast have begun to prepare days in advance to Sandy making landfall.