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.
In the Northeast, a high pressure area now in control will be reinforced by another high from northeastern Canada. In the "what could go wrong?" department, a batch of cloudiness has appeared east of New England and has been spreading southwestward toward the New Jersey coast this morning.
The clouds over parts of the region are starting to break up, a sign that the predicted drier air from the northeast is making progress.
Cloudiness covers a large area. A few pockets of clearing show up where south winds ride downhill from mountains to lowlands. Air warms and dries with descent. Notice clearing downwind (northwest of) the Smoky Mts.
So, there could be more showers at times late next week as forest we can tell. For now we are stumped. But, it is our beleaf that this weekend you will like being outside. I know a dogwood. It may be a little cool for the beech, but you can take your dog for walk in the bark. What about next weekend? Don't ax.
If the pattern turns out damp as suggested by this map for Sunday, it could turn gray and drizzly from D.C. to New York City for early next week. If the high does not move offshore and no disturbance approaches from the west, it would be sunny and warm.
Two things stand out: (1) a warmup this weekend and early next week (the top graph), and (2) the overall dryness for the weekend and early next week. This graph is for Philadelphia.