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A Morphing Storm: As Sandy Moves Inland, Snow And Winds Follow

Even though Sandy has switched from hurricane to post-tropical cyclone, it's still a formidable storm. The latest forecast predicts strong winds and coastal storm surges up to four feet in some places. Areas from the eastern Great Lakes region to the mid-Atlantic and up to southern New England can also expect an additional inch of rain.

And NPR's Dan Charles reports from Beckley, W. Va., that there's at least a foot of snow on the ground there, and more on the way.

The mid-Atlantic region is no stranger to hurricanes, but as Sandy made its way north and onto land, it became far more wintery.

Hurricanes draw their power and energy from the heat of ocean water, releasing it high in the atmosphere. It's this transport of heat that keeps the system spinning in the characteristic counter-clockwise direction.

As Sandy moved north and turned westward toward land, it collided with cold air making its way south from Canada. The huge, rotating storm began drawing this cold air into its cyclonic path, driving it farther south. That's why we're now seeing snow in places like Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

The National Weather Service points out that winter storms can spin around like a hurricane does, but there's a key difference between a wintertime cyclone and a hurricane (one type of tropical cyclone). Winter cyclones draw their energy from differences in temperature and pressure in the atmosphere, not from ocean heat.

What continues to make Sandy so powerful is its broad diameter — more than 1,000 miles — and its union with the winter storm descending from Canada.

Blizzard warnings remain in effect in the higher elevations of the central Appalachians. Charles reports the heavy, wet snow is breaking tree branches and downing power lines as wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour continue to lash the region.

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

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'We're Mostly Republicans': New Hampshire Voters Explained By 'Our Town'

After NPR's Bob Mondello used The Music Man to help explain the Iowa caucuses, he wished there was a musical of Our Town so he could do the same for New Hampshire. It turns out there is one.
NPR

Gulf Of Mexico Open For Fish-Farming Business

For the first time, companies can apply to set up fish farms in U.S. federal waters. The government says the move will help reduce American dependence on foreign seafood and improve security.
NPR

WATCH: Republicans — Then And Now — Talking About Drug Addiction

In New Hampshire, Republican presidential candidates are using compassionate language when it comes to drug abuse. It's a marked change for a party that has advocated tough stances on the issue.
NPR

A Skeptical Review Of CBS' Super Bowl Online Streaming Success

For the first time, CBS put the full Super Bowl, with ads, online and claimed record viewership. But StreamingMedia.com's Dan Rayburn says the decision to stream is getting too much hype.

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