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WEATHER BLOG: Sandy Is On Its Way

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Bernadette Woods

Even though the exact track is still uncertain, the forecast track has gotten more narrow. It looks like Sandy will make landfall somewhere between Maryland and New York Monday or early Tuesday (the farther north it goes, the longer it will take).

Sandy will hover between a strong tropical storm and category 1 hurricane this weekend, while moving northeastward along the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. Then, it will make a sharp turn to the west Monday. That’s because the strong cold front over the Midwest will draw Sandy inland, eventually merging into an even bigger storm.

Sandy is forecast to lose its tropical characteristics during this time. Usually, a tropical system weakens when it becomes removed from its energy source – the warm waters. That is not the case here. Since Sandy is getting absorbed into a cold front, it will stick around a few days – feeding off the energy of that front instead.

So what does that mean for us here in Maryland? Well, the exact details depend on the exact track. The closer the center of Sandy is to us when making landfall, the higher our winds and more intense our rain will be. What we do know is this:

-The rain and winds start increasing Sunday
-The peak of the storm will be Monday into early Tuesday
-By peak, we mean damaging winds, power outages, heavy rain, flooding and beach erosion

Storm surge is usually top on the minds of many Marylanders because of Isabel. The water levels will rise, but the real storm surge will be over New Jersey and maybe even up into Philly and New York City. In fact, when our winds turn around to the north and northwest during the storm, that will push our Bay water back out into the ocean and the levels will be pretty low.

There is much colder air behind the cold front. That air will get pulled into this storm. Rain is going to change over to accumulating snow in Garrett and Allegany Counties. The colder air overspreads the state Tuesday. Expect highs only in the 40s here in Baltimore.

The storm will sit over the Northeast right into Wednesday, so rain and gusty winds are still expected.

Stay tuned to the latest as we move through the weekend. This isn’t a storm to mess around with.

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