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Hurricane Sandy: Worst-Case Scenario Still On The Table

By Todd Gutner, WBZ-TV
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Hurricane Sandy Spaghetti Plot Friday PM

Hurricane Sandy Spaghetti Plot Friday PM

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BOSTON (CBS) – We are now one day closer to Sandy’s arrival and there are still a lot of questions to be answered. Sandy is leaving the Bahamas and heading into the warm waters off the Southeast US. The storm has done some weakening over the last 12 hours and is straddling the line between a Category 1 hurricane and a very strong tropical storm.

sandystats Hurricane Sandy: Worst Case Scenario Still On The Table

Hurricane Sandy stats Friday PM

The waters off the SE US are still very warm 80+ degrees…this should keep the weakening to a minimum as it travels up the East Coast. The expected track of Sandy offers many twists and turns but an out-to-sea solution is now very small. Thus, we will see heavy rain, wind and coastal flooding early next week, just how bad it will be is still up in the air.

Gallery: Latest Sandy Forecast Maps

As Sandy travels north and gets into a position south of New England and east of the Mid-Atlantic late in the weekend, it will want to travel off to the NE following the Gulf Stream. But, a big block in the atmosphere will prevent that and eliminate the out-to-sea track. The storm will have no place else to go but to turn back toward the coastline, this is where it gets critical for us here in New England. If the turn happens early, Sandy will plow right into the Mid-Atlantic and while the effects would be destructive there, we would fair much better. Rain amounts would be on the order of 1-3 inches with pockets of street and basement flooding. Wind gusts would be as high as 50 mph…strong enough for isolated to scattered power outages, but not widespread. The coastline would see minor to moderate coastal flooding with some shore roads taking on water and debris. We would avoid a worst case scenario and this would be more like a typical Nor’easter.

Check: Tracking Maps  |  Interactive Radar  |  Current Conditions  |  Forecast Maps

Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario is still on the table with the left hand turn happening later and therefore the core of the storm either hitting New England or coming close enough for a grazing. This would be very bad…an historic pounding of wind, rain and coastal flooding. Wind gusts could exceed hurricane force leading to widespread tree and powerline damage…power outages would last days. Rain amounts could top 6 inches, flooding countless streets and basements. The coastline would take a thrashing with almost every shore road underwater and whole communities completely cut-off from accessibility. If we took a direct hit Sandy would go down in New England weather history…joining some of the more memorable storms like the Blizzard of ’78 and the Perfect Storm.

Simply put, it’s still too early to say for sure what the final outcome will be so it’s better to be safe than sorry and now would be a good time to do some preparations. The weekend will be quiet and mostly rain-free to get some prep work done.

Here are some of the things you should think about doing:

  • Clean leaves from gutters and storm drains
  • Get batteries for flashlights
  • Get cash, credit cards won’t work if power goes out
  • Gas up cars and generators
  • Bottled water if you own a well
  • Car cell phone charger

This list is not meant to create hype but simple suggestions in case we take a big blow.

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