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.
On this map from 10 a.m. ET Thanksgiving Day, you can see the high pressure area that is causing dry and mild weather in the East and the cold front farther west.
During the late afternoon and early evening hours, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey and cause it to accumulate 1-2 inches on plates...
This satellite picture shows clouds over parts New York and Pennsylvania, as well as areas of low clouds, fog and snow cover from Michigan to Illinois. Most of the Northeast should have at least some sunshine through Thanksgiving Day.
As we go through the week, the flow aloft over the East will become southwesterly. This will promote a major warmup. This map shows the projected upper-air flow for Thanksgiving afternoon:
A major snowstorm will affect the area from Iowa to Michigan tonight and tomorrow. At first, snow can melt on streets, but as it continues and the temperature drops, the area impacted by slippery conditions will increase dramatically. This map shows expected accumulations:
This map shows two cold fronts in the northeast quarter of the nation; 9 a.m. ET temperature are plotted. The isobars are closest together over the central and western Great Lakes, and this is where the strongest winds were occurring.