The storm, whose high winds and heavy rains could last for days, could cause widespread power outages and dangerous flooding. By this weekend meteorologists will have more information, and some communities may have to contemplate evacuations, especially along the coastline.
“This storm is dangerous,” says Bryan Norcross, a hurricane specialist at the Weather Channel. “If it comes to pass like the consensus forecast, it will be unprecedented, we have never seen anything that looks like this.”
Mr. Norcross says from a meteorological standpoint Sandy will begin to look like the 1991 “perfect storm” that raked the East Coast with high tides and strong wind, leaving 13 people dead in its wake.
That storm, a combination of hurricane Grace and a massive Nor’easter, derived yet more energy from the jet stream, a river of air that controls weather patterns.
“This combination all coming together is not seen very often,” says Norcross. “It takes just the right configuration in the atmosphere for it all to come together.”
Many different meteorological parts still have to fall into place for Sandy to develop into the type of storm described by Norcross.
For example, an upper level low pressure system will have to move from the Pacific Ocean to the East Coast in three or four days. This low will draw Sandy in from the Atlantic toward the coastline.