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'Storm Like No Other': Ongoing Coverage as Powerful Hurricane Sandy Makes Landfall

Northeast states brace for giant storm

- Common Dreams staff

Ongoing Coverage via The Weather Channel's live stream:

As Hurricane Sandy makes landfall on Monday, meteorologists predict a powerful storm that will cause power outages for millions, a storm surge creating massive inland and coastal flooding, and sustained winds that are threat for those living in urban and more rural areas across the northeast.

"Sandy is going to cause billions of dollars in damage Monday and Tuesday in the Eastern U.S. due to storm surge, high winds, and heavy rains," wrote meteorologist Jeff Masters late Sunday. "Sandy is of near record-size, with tropical storm-force winds extending up to 520 miles from its center, covering an area larger than a Texas-and-a-half."

Stu Ostro, senior meteorologist for the Weather Channel, said early Monday: "History is being written as an extreme weather event continues to unfold, one which will occupy a place in the annals of weather history as one of the most extraordinary to have affected the United States."

"I cannot recall ever seeing model forecasts of such an expansive areal wind field with values so high for so long a time," said one expert from the National Weather Service. "We are breaking new ground here."

"The time for preparing and talking is about over," Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate told reporters as Hurricane Sandy moved up the Atlantic coast and said the its collision course with other systems could make it one of the most fearsome storms on record in the U.S. "People need to be acting now."

Overall storm predictions by Weather Nation TV's Paul Douglas (listed in rough order of priority, in terms of damage potential and number of people/companies impacted):

1). Storm surge: we expect the worst storm surge flooding out ahead of Sandy to take place late morning, again late evening on Monday, coinciding with high tide (and a full moon Monday PM hours). Tides are already 2-3 feet higher than average due to astronomical conditions - Sandy's sustained winds and low pressure (28.25") will create a dome of water that will be pushed ashore in two major surges: 9 am - noon, again 9 pm - midnight Monday.

2). Winds: sustained winds of 50-75 mph are likely in a 300 mile swath Monday and Monday night, the strongest winds over southern New England and Long Island Monday PM hours, with gusts over 90 mph at times. There will be wind damage, downed trees and power lines - I expect a rash of power outages. Companies with well-maintained generators will be glad they made that investment by midday Monday.

3). Inland flooding. One bit of (better) news: the rainfall amounts from Sandy don't look quite as extreme as they did 2-3 days ago. Some 4-8" amounts are still likely from the Delmarva Peninsula to coastal New Jersey, but New York, Long Island and most of southern New England will probably receive less than 3-5" of rain - still capable of flash flooding, but not the (historic) rainfall amounts we feared last week. One complicating factor: leaves. The timing is problematic, with leaves on the ground, leaves that will be swept into storm sewers, exacerbating the flood risk and accelerate the backing up of water in many residential and commercial areas.

5 Day Tracking map:

State by state predictions provided by meterologists at Weather Underground:

Maine
• Storm tide and surge: 1 to 2 feet of storm surge on top of tides.
Wind: 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. The strongest winds will occur Monday afternoon and evening.
• Rain: Widespread totals from 1 to 3 inches, with isolated amounts up to 5 inches
• Inland Flooding: Significant urban and small stream flooding is possible, which could linger into Tuesday.
• Power outages: Spotty power outages are possible as wind takes down branches and trees.

Massachusetts
• Storm tide and surge: Up to 4 feet of storm surge on top of tides, with a 10-20% chance of surge exceeding 5 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Buzzards Bay, MA is 7-8 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Woods Hole, MA is 6-7 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Nantucket, MA is 6-7 feet.

Wind: 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. The strongest winds will occur Monday afternoon and evening
• Rain: Widespread totals from 1.5 to 3 inches, with isolated amounts up to 5 inches
• Inland Flooding: Significant urban and small stream flooding is possible, which could linger into Tuesday.
• Power outages: Spotty power outages are possible as wind takes down branches and trees

Rhode Island
• Storm tide and surge: 4 to 5 feet of surge is possible on top of tides, with a 10-20% chance of surge exceeding 5 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Newport, RI is 8-9 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Providence, RI is 10-11 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Block Island, RI is 7-8 feet.
Wind: 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. The strongest winds will occur Monday afternoon and evening
• Rain: Widespread totals from 1.5 to 3 inches, with isolated amounts up to 5 inches
• Inland Flooding: Significant urban and small stream flooding is possible, which could linger into Tuesday.
• Power outages: Spotty power outages are possible as wind takes down branches and trees

Connecticut
• Storm tide and surge: 6 to 9 feet of surge is possible on top of tides, with a 60% chance of surge exceeding 5 feet west of Bridgeport. Surge will be worse as you move west along the Connecticut coastline.
Storm tide forecast for New London, CT is 8-9 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Bridgeport, CT is 14-15 feet.
Wind: 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. The strongest winds will occur Monday afternoon and evening
• Rain: Widespread totals from 1.5 to 3 inches, with isolated amounts up to 5 inches
• Inland Flooding: Significant urban and small stream flooding is possible, which could linger into Tuesday.
• Power outages: Power outages are possible as wind takes down branches and trees

New York
• Storm tide and surge:
Long Island Sound -- 6-7 feet on top of tide with a 50% chance of exceeding 7 feet. Storm tide forecast for Port Jefferson is 13-14 feet.
Manhattan -- 4-5 feet on top of tide with a 40% chance of exceeding 7 feet.
Staten Island -- 4-5 feet on top of tide with a 60% chance of exceeding 7 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Montauk, NY is 7-8 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Port Jefferson, NY is 13-14 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Kings Point, NY is 12-13 feet.
Storm tide forecast for The Battery, NY is 9-10 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Bergen Pt, NY is 10-11 feet.
Wind: Long duration, damaging winds expected. 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 80 mph. The strongest winds will occur Monday afternoon and night.
• Rain: Widespread totals from 2 to 4 inches, with isolated amounts up to 6 inches, especially in the higher elevations. 1 to 2 inches PER HOUR are expected where the heaviest rain bands set up.
• Inland Flooding: Widespread urban flooding is expected Monday and into Tuesday. Fast-responding streams are expected to flood, as well. The flooding will be exacerbated by blockages in storm drains as well as rising storm tide.
• Power outages: Power outages are possible, even likely, as wind takes down branches and trees.

Pennsylvania
• Storm tide and surge: 1 to 2 feet of surge is possible on top of tides, with a 30-40% chance of surge exceeding 3 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Philadelphia, PA is 8-9 feet.
Wind: 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 70 mph. The strongest winds will occur Monday afternoon and evening and into Tuesday. Wind speeds will increase closer to the coast.
• Rain: Widespread totals from 4 to 10 inches, with the highest amounts mainly from Philadelphia metro southward. Heavy rain is expected to begin Sunday night, with the heaviest occurring Monday night into Tuesday.
• Inland Flooding: Significant urban and small stream flooding is possible, which could linger into Tuesday. RIver flooding is possible.
• Power outages: Power outages are likely as wind takes down branches and trees.

New Jersey
• Storm tide and surge: 4 to 5 feet of surge is possible on top of tides, with a 30-50% chance of surge exceeding 7 feet. Surge will be worse as you move north along the New Jersey coastline.
Storm tide forecast for Sandy Hook, NJ is 10-11 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Atlantic City, NJ is 9-10 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Cape May, NJ is 9-10 feet.
Wind: 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 70 mph. The strongest winds will occur Monday afternoon and evening and into Tuesday. Wind speeds will increase closer to the coast.
• Rain: Widespread totals from 4 to 10 inches. Heavy rain is expected to begin Sunday night, with the heaviest occurring Monday night into Tuesday.
• Inland Flooding: Significant urban and small stream flooding is possible, which could linger into Tuesday. RIver flooding is possible.
• Power outages: Power outages are likely as wind takes down branches and trees.

Delaware
• Storm tide and surge: 4 to 5 feet of surge is possible on top of tides, with a 20% chance of surge exceeding 6 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Reedy Point, DE is 8-9 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Lewes, DE is 9-10 feet.
Wind: 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 70 mph. The strongest winds will occur Monday afternoon and evening and into Tuesday. Wind speeds will increase closer to the coast.
• Rain: Widespread totals from 4 to 10 inches. Heavy rain is expected to begin Sunday night, with the heaviest occurring Monday night into Tuesday.
• Inland Flooding: Significant urban and small stream flooding is possible, which could linger into Tuesday. RIver flooding is possible.
• Power outages: Power outages are likely as wind takes down branches and trees.

Maryland and Washington D.C.
• Storm tide and surge: 4 to 5 feet of surge is possible on top of tides on the ocean coast, with a 10-20% chance of surge exceeding 6 feet.
Wind: 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. The strongest winds will occur Monday afternoon and evening and into Tuesday. Wind speeds will increase closer to the coast, and will also be stronger along the ridges.
• Rain: Widespread totals from 3 to 6 inches, with locally higher amounts, especially in the D.C. metro. Heavy rain is expected to begin Sunday night, with the heaviest occurring Monday night into Tuesday.
• Inland Flooding: Moderate to major flooding is possible on the smaller creeks and streams. Flooding is also possible on the larger mainstream rivers beyond Tuesday.
• Power outages: Power outages are likely as wind takes down branches and trees.

Virginia
• Storm tide and surge: 2 to 4 feet of surge is possible on top of tides on the ocean coast.
Storm tide forecast for Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, VA is 6-7 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Wachapreague, VA is 7-8 feet.
Storm tide forecast for Kiptopeke Beach, VA is 6-7 feet.
Wind: 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. The strongest winds will occur Monday afternoon and evening and into Tuesday. Wind speeds will increase closer to the coast, and will also be stronger along the ridges.
• Rain: Widespread totals from 3 to 6 inches, with locally higher amounts, especially in the D.C. metro. Heavy rain is expected to begin Sunday night, with the heaviest occurring Monday night into Tuesday.
• Inland Flooding: Moderate to major flooding is possible on the smaller creeks and streams. Flooding is also possible on the larger mainstream rivers beyond Tuesday.
• Power outages: Power outages are likely as wind takes down branches and trees.

North Carolina
• Storm tide and surge: 2 to 4 feet of surge is possible on top of tides.
Storm tide forecast for Duck Pier, NC is 7-8 feet.
Wind: 35 to 45 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. The strongest winds will occur Monday afternoon and evening and into Tuesday. Wind speeds will increase closer to the coast, and will also be stronger along the ridges.
• Rain: An additional 1 to 3 inches possible overnight Sunday.
• Inland Flooding: Flood threat is tapering off as Sandy moves north.
• Power outages: Sporadic power outages are possible as wind breaks branches off trees.

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