Bill Read's Blog: Unprecedented Sandy poised to strike East Coast

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HOUSTON - Hurricane Sandy has developed as forecast into a huge storm. The satellite picture shows the circulation of Sandy this morning extending from New England to the Bahamas. If you moved this storm center to Kentucky, almost one third of the U.S. would be under its influence. The forecast remains the same – a turn back to the northwest and west will occur on Monday with the worst of the storm overspreading the entire coastline from Virginia to southern New England. Because the storm is so large and is moving west, the impacts on the coast have already begun to be felt and will continue into Tuesday.

Speaking of impacts, we are looking at unprecedented storm surge and power outages as a result of Sandy on Monday and Tuesday. The track of the center into the New Jersey coast from the east will create a tidal flooding event unlike any event people living there have experienced. The coastline from Long Island through the Jersey Shore is one of the most highly developed on the east coast. Concerns also are for the very real possibility of tidal flooding in he New York City metropolitan area with the high tides forecast.

Winds of 40 to 50 mph with gusts near hurricane-force are expected to impact the entire northeast from Norfolk to Boston – over 50 million people live in that are and the potential for widespread power loss is great as many trees still are full of leaves and winds of this magnitude for 12 hours or more will bring many of them down and across power lines. Local officials in the region are warning that is could take more than a week to restore power.

Heavy rainfall is also a concern and where the heavy rain occurs, flash flooding and river flooding will add to the misery. And, did I mention snow - a lot - in the Appalachians…?

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