BOSTON (CBS) – The earlier forecast essentially remains valid for the upcoming ferocious storm.
Despite the convergence of solutions from the myriad of weather models, I still remain vigilant for the potential of some slight tweaking of the precise path of Hurricane Sandy. This is due to the extraordinarily sharp turn to the left projected to commence tomorrow night and into Monday.
Gallery: Latest Sandy Forecast Maps
The move is highly dependent on an unusual blocking of the atmosphere. Any delay in the turning would force Sandy on a much closer track to Long Island and southern New England. With that said, I am reasonably comfortable with the forecast that the WBZ Weather Team has delivered over the past 24 hours.
Sandy is expected to morph from a tropical cyclone into an extratropical storm late tomorrow into Monday. Nevertheless, it may actually intensify as jet stream energy arrives from the Ohio Valley. With its transformation into a more hybrid system, its wind field will expand significantly. There will be a large difference in air pressure over a relatively small geographical area resulting in freshening winds.
The main concerns are the winds and the tides. Peak gusts are anticipated in the range of 65-80 mph over CT, RI and southeastern MA including Cape Cod. Top gusts will lower to the range of 45-65 over the rest of MA into at least the southern portions of northern New England. There could be a few quick bursts to 65-75 mph at exposed east coastal locations up into Essex County. The strongest winds should occur on Monday from late afternoon through the evening to just past midnight. The wind will strip foliage and twigs from the trees and uproot whole trees as well. Power outages are inevitable and will be most common in the highest wind zones near and south of the Mass Pike with scattered outages north of that axis.
The storm surge of up to 6 feet on the South Coast and the Islands will enhance tides producing major flooding. Along the east coastal areas, moderate to major pockets of flooding are likely.
The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Watch from Monday morning through Monday night and a Coastal Flood Watch from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon.
The rainfall will not be excessive ranging from less than an inch over Cape Cod up to 2-3″ in the Worcester Hills into interior NH. The threat of any serious widespread fresh water flooding is very low but flooded streets are likely due to clogged catch basins as some of the squally showers pass by. Salt water flooding will be more of an issue at vulnerable coastal locations. Evacuations may be necessary.
The storm weakens drastically Tuesday but lingering migrating showers will occur through Tuesday into Halloween with much lighter winds.
All storm preparations should be finished by Sunday evening.
The WBZ Weather Team will keep you apprised through the entire upcoming event.