Category 2 Hurricane Sandy had crossed Cuba by early Thursday morning, and it will spend until midday Friday moving through the Bahamas. The storm is expected to move north to slightly northwest in the next 72 hours as a ridge to its east influences its direction. The storm is forecast to gradually weaken, but still remain a hurricane through 72 hours. A turn to the northeast should occur in about 72 hours as a trough begins to interact with the storm. As the storm moves north in the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard, another turn to the northwest is anticipated, but it is unclear when this will take place, and, as a result, the storm may strike anywhere between Maryland and Newfoundland, with most computer model tracks focused between Maryland and Maine.
Potential impacts for New England
The degree to which Sandy impacts New England is still highly dependent on the track of the storm. The track of the storm is still fairly uncertain, which is not uncommon for a 96-120 hour forecast for a tropical system. If the storm were to strike between Maryland and New York City, the biggest threats would be from strong winds and coastal flooding, with a diminished threat of flooding rain. If the storm tracks to the north of Southern New England and hits between Maine and Nova Scotia, then there will likely be a prolonged period of rain, which could cause flooding on area rivers. Winds would be strong, too, and direct impacts (wind, rain, waves) from the storm would be felt for a few days.
The worst case scenario for Southern New England is a track between New York City and Boston. Several of the computer models have shown this track, and it remains a viable option. With the center of the Sandy coming that close to Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, there would undoubtedly be impacts (possibly quite significant) from the wind, rain, and storm surge.
The latest timing for the storm
If the storm hits south of Southern New England then rain showers will likely develop on Sunday, with the brunt of the storm occurring on Monday and Monday night. If the storm takes a circuitous path to Northern New England, while showers may develop Sunday, the worst of the wind/rain would probably not occur into Monday night through Tuesday into Halloween. Regardless of the track of the storm, it will likely still be into midday Wednesday which may affect Trick or Treating plans on Halloween.
We’ll have much more analysis on the storm during the day Thursday.