Saturday 1 PM EDT
Sandy is still wobbling northward well off the South Atlantic coast. As a strong trough aloft approaches Sandy, the storm's circulation will be drawn into and become part of a greatly expanded upper air storm.
Since the storm will be a hybrid that includes some of the characteristics of the non tropical storms that cause most the cold season precipitation we see in the Great Lakes and Northeast, its circulation will be more spread out (rather than more compact). A lot of rain will be generated as tropically moist air is forced westward over air that is much cooler. This is something we typically do not see with pure tropical storms/hurricanes.
What all this means is that the heavy rain and increasing wind will reach places long before the center arrives. Delaware, New Jersey, as well as parts of eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland, are likely to start getting damaging winds and torrential rain tomorrow night, perhaps escalating into the worst conditions Monday morning. The center will come ashore after this, and by that time the rain and even the wind will be weakening.
Unless the storm tracks farther north than expected, the New York City area may be near the northern edge of the very worst conditions. Where the wind and rain are the worst, there will be streets flooded with water and massive tree damage and power outages. And, the wires have to be restrung one at a time... that's what takes so long (as well as other challenges of accessibility and maintaining safety.
It is important to complete your planning and preparation before the worst conditions approach later tomorrow. This video shows the situation and forecast as of early Saturday afternoon. Please check more recent information that will be continuously updated on AccuWeather.com. Also, your local emergency management people are trained on helping people avoid and deal with the most critical things that can kill and destroy.
Enhanced infrared satellite picture from early Saturday afternoon.
...after all that, the point is that zone will be north of most of the eastern half of the country. It will be very warm to hot south of the jet stream. However, weakening cold fronts can advance south of the jet stream. then return north as the next disturbance in the flow approaches.
Yesterday, the temperature hit 92 at Newark, New Jersey, and 90 in Boston. The following map shows a northerly flow affecting the Northeast today, and so it will be noticeably cooler and less humid.
This map shows lightning strokes from 8 a.m. ET yesterday through 7:54 a.m. ET today. There was quite a bit of it in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. For the whole map, 156,172 lightning strokes were recorded.
Looking at the west-to-east upper air flow over New England well ahead of the storm, it seems like the hurricane should stay out at sea, However, as we look through the series of maps, we see the upper-air flow congealing into a strong eastern trough that helped the storm to come right up the coast instead of heading out to sea.
On this satellite picture, we can see the basically dry weather in the Eastern states. The cold front that will ease the midweek heat in the Northeast is shown by the band of thunderstorms in the Midwest. The thunderstorms may weaken and become more scattered as the front comes into the Northeast.
A storm in the tropical Atlantic is being observed for possible strengthening. This map shows the variety of models purporting to show where the center will go. Most solutions suggest it stays well offshore, but you will notice a few outliers suggesting more threat.