BOSTON (CBS) – Our midday and afternoon models are pouring in and forecasting some significant changes in the ultimate track of Hurricane Sandy.
Gallery: Latest Sandy Forecast Maps
They are now predicting a much farther northward track, making landfall somewhere between New Jersey and Southern New England.
These shifts in the forecasted track are to be expected.
Sign Up: Severe Weather Alerts
Being that we are 3-to-4 days away from Sandy’s landfall a shift north or south by a few hundred miles is likely.
Another interesting update from the National Hurricane Center says that Sandy is barely holding on to hurricane status, with maximum sustained winds at 75 mph.
As of Friday evening, there were hurricane hunters flying through the center of Sandy, and if they cannot find a hurricane force winds, Sandy will be dropped to tropical storm status.
The Hurricane Center expects Sandy to drop to tropical storm status by Friday night and to remain there through most of Saturday. Sandy is expected to intensify as it starts to turn into a northern latitude, nor’easter type system.
While this afternoon’s trend northward is troubling, it is not the final solution. Sandy could make landfall anywhere from southern New England down to Atlantic City.
Models will continue to adjust their tracks for the next 48 hours before agreeing on a final landfall.
Today’s model runs do mean that we need to stay on heightened alert early next week and prepare for the worst, which would be a hurricane making landfall on our coastline sometime early on Tuesday.
We will start to see some effect from Sandy during the day on Monday and those will ramp up steadily as the day progresses.
Related: Hurricane Plan – Before The Storm
We expect the brunt of the storm to come Monday night and Tuesday at this point.
This is going to be a very large and powerful storm, much larger than a normal tropical system. Damaging winds will extend for several hundred miles out from the center, affecting major cities all along the northeast coastline, regardless of the exact landfall.
We urge everyone to stay tuned to updated forecasts throughout the weekend.
You can follow Terry on Twitter at @TerryWBZ.