Sandy dropped briefly to a tropical storm very early this morning, before regaining hurricane strength and maintaining it all day long. It is moving off to the northeast. A path it will continue to take before it makes that sharp left hand turn starting Sunday. Sandy is going to be pulled to the west because of that strong trough/cold front sitting just to our west. After making landfall sometime later Monday or Monday night, Sandy will merge with that front into an even larger, more nor’easter-like storm.
We are already seeing the winds pick up out of the northeast across Maryland, while some bands of light rain have arrived in the lower Eastern Shore. Both the wind and rain will pick up tomorrow, but the worst for us will start Sunday night at the beaches and Monday for the rest of us.
Winds will be sustained at 20-40 mph with gusts possibly over 60 or even 70 mph. Rain will be heavy at times, but continue to add up through at least Tuesday (although, the bands will be weaker later in the storm). Since this storm will lose its tropical characteristics when it merges with the front, the National Hurricane Center is not going to issue tropical warnings for here. Instead, they have posted a high wind watch from Sunday night through Tuesday night. That does NOT change what we expect or our forecast. We are still concerned about widespread power outages.
Rainfall could top 6-8″ for the Eastern Shore, and 3-6″ for the rest of Maryland. Various flood watches and warnings have been issued, and will go into effect Sunday through varying times Tuesday.
You are hearing a lot about record surge heights. Those aren’t for us, those are for New Jersey and the water that will get funneled into New York. That doesn’t mean we aren’t concerned about surge here. A push of water about 3-6″ will move into Ocean City, with an even higher surge expected in Delaware. Meanwhile, this is NOT a major Bay tidal surge event. Between the full moon and high tide, the surge will be 1-2 and maybe even up to 3′. But winds will turn around to the north, then northwest for a lot of this storm – pushing water back down the Bay.
Even when this storm moves inland, it’s going to take its good old time weakening. Expect high winds and heavy rain still on Tuesday, then slowly winding down Wednesday. Also, colder air will get pulled into this storm Tuesday. Rain will change to accumulating snow in Garrett and Allegany Counties. For the rest of us, it will be wet and chilly when the cleanup gets underway.