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If Sandy Becomes 'Frankenstorm,' It Could Be Worst In A Century

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The National Hurricane Center's "5-day forecast cone" as of 11 a.m. ET today (Oct. 26).
NOAA.gov
The National Hurricane Center's "5-day forecast cone" as of 11 a.m. ET today (Oct. 26).

"We're not trying to hype it," National Weather Service meterologist Paul Kocin tells Bloomberg News. "What we're seeing in some of our models is a storm at an intensity that we have not seen in this part of the country in the past century."

So get ready, mid-Atlantic states, the Northeast and New England: Hurricane Sandy, which has already caused 40 deaths in the Caribbean, is still on track to turn toward you on Monday. And if that happens, it will meet up with a winter storm coming from the West and cold air coming down from Canada to become what could be a horrible "Frankenstorm" (Halloween is Wednesday).

Oh, and there's also a full moon on Monday. As that affects tides, the concern about storm surges along coastal areas grows.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is warning folks from Florida to New England to "update your family communication plans, check your supplies, and stay informed."

The storm that Kocin and some other meteorologists are saying this could rival was a 1938 hurricane that hit Long Island and New England hard — more than 500 people were killed, Bloomberg notes.

At 5 a.m. ET today, Sandy was about 485 miles southeast of Charleston, S.C. The National Hurricane Center's latest "5-day forecast cone" shows Sandy grazing the coast of North Carolina around 2 a.m. ET on Monday, then turning to the northwest and making landfall around Delaware at 2 a.m. ET on Tuesday. It would then head across the Mid-Atlantic and toward the Great Lakes.

Update at 3:25 p.m. ET. NASA Images Of Sandy:

The space agency has put together a video of satellite images showing Sandy as the hurricane moved north from the Caribbean the past two days.

Update at 3 p.m. ET. "Strong Winds Will Spread Out."

At Weather Underground, meteorologist Jeff Masters writes that:

"The trough approaching from the west will inject into Sandy what is called 'baroclinic' energy — the energy one can derive from the atmosphere when warm and cold air masses lie in close proximity to each other. This transition will reduce the hurricane's peak winds, but strong winds will spread out over a wider area of ocean. This will increase the total amount of wind energy of the storm, keeping the storm surge threat high. This large wind field will likely drive a storm surge of 3-6 feet on Monday and Tuesday to the right of where the center makes landfall, on the mid-Atlantic or New York coasts. These storm surge heights will be among the highest ever recorded along the affected coasts, and will have the potential to cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage."

Update at noon ET. The Storm Could "Explode":

The warnings coming from weather experts are intense, to say the least. The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog has a discussion of how low the pressure could go as Sandy moves inland — bringing with it very strong winds. And when it meets up with the other systems, watch out:

"The clash of the cold blast from the continental U.S. and the massive surge of warm, moist air from Hurricane Sandy will cause the storm to explode and the pressure to crash." Many of the nearly 67 million people living in the superstorm's path "will likely contend with tropical storm force winds — 40-60 mph, if not somewhat greater."

And Capital Weather Gang points to this, from a blog written by AccuWeather Senior Vice President Mike Smith:

"A very prominent and respected National Weather Service meteorologist wrote on Facebook last night, 'I've never seen anything like this and I'm at a loss for expletives to describe what this storm could do.' "

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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