Forecasters warn that storm surges from Hurricane Sandy could be particularly powerful, because the storm coincides with a full moon. How does that work, exactly?
Heaven and Earth may be aligning to turn Hurricane Sandy into a real monster, just in time for Halloween.
Forecasters expect Sandy to make landfall along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States on Monday or Tuesday (Oct. 29 or 30). It may merge with a separate tempest hitting the region at about that time, creating an immensely powerful "Frankenstorm" whose effects could be magnified by the full moon.
When the moon waxes to its full phase Monday afternoon, high tides along the Eastern Seaboard will rise about 20 percent higher than normal, even without the help of Sandy's storm surge, said Joe Rao, a meteorologist for News 12 in Westchester, N.Y. (Storm surges occur when a hurricane's winds push the water surface above normal levels.)
"Add a big storm, and the full moon will only serve to exacerbate the situation by helping to accentuate the higher-than-normal water levels, possibly leading to moderate or major coastal flooding and beach erosion," Rao told OurAmazingPlanet via email.