Brett Anderson

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Watching Sandy from Gate C30 in Motown

October 26, 2012; 7:40 AM ET

Just as we feared, Paul Pastelok and myself missed our connecting flight home and are now are spending the night at Detroit Metro Airport. Hard to sleep, so why not kill some time and blog, tweet, Facebook, etc...

Sandy is currently impacting the Bahamas as you can see with the latest infrared satellite imagery.

First of all, computer models have come into pretty good agreement that Sandy will get "captured" by the approaching trough from the west either Sunday or Monday then turn W or WNW toward the northeast U.S. coast, which is a very unusual track, but a dangerous one for the coastline, especially north and east of where the center makes landfall as the strong onshore winds will combine with tidal surge, leading to widespread beach erosion and power outages.

ECMWF model forecast of highest wind gusts from Sandy on Monday afternoon.

The wave model forecast predicts 30-foot seas just off the East Coast Monday night.

The timing of when the trough interacts and captures Sandy is key to where and when the center of Sandy will move ashore. The earlier the interaction then the earlier and more south the storm moves inland. The later the interaction, the later and more north the storm moves inland.

Even though the hurricane center may "downgrade" Sandy to a tropical storm before landfall, the main reason for this is the fact that Sandy will be losing some of its tropical characteristics and will become a hybrid, semi-tropical storm, but with a central barometric pressure that lowers back to at least Category 2 levels as it intensifies toward the coast thanks to the added energy from the trough that is merging with Sandy.

The expected low central pressure with this storm will create a very large field of strong winds, especially north and east of the center.

Don't be fooled into a false sense of security by any "downgrade." This storm will mean business, especially along the coast. Precautions should be taken by the end of tomorrow anywhere from Ocean City, Md., to southeastern New England. That goes for you mom as well!

Right now, I favor a center landfall somewhere between Cape May, N.J., and Fire Island, L.I. Monday night, but coming in from the ESE or SE which is much more rare and more dangerous than the usual southerly approach.

With trees still with plenty of leaves along the Middle Atlantic coast and LI there will be many downed trees and power lines.

Looks like high tides will already be running slightly above normal to begin with along the coast Monday through Tuesday.

Heaviest rainfall will be west and southwest of the track with some areas from perhaps northern Virginia to Pennsylvania and maybe the Catskills easily getting over 5 inches of rain and flooding.

Not too worried about the snow idea, though it does look like there could be a narrow band of heavy, wet snow over the high ground (above 2,500 feet) from northern West Virginia through western Pennsylvania early next week.

You can also follow me on Twitter @BrettAWX

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Canada impacts

In terms of Canada, latest trends continue to support the idea that the worst of this will be for the northeast U.S. states, but expect some decent rain and some gusty winds from southern Ontario through southern Quebec and into the Maritimes the first half of next week. It may be cold enough for snow to fall aloft over Ontario early next week, but I think the low-level temperatures will be too warm to support it based on what I see right now.

If the incoming trough ends up slower to the east, then the "capture" gets even later and then Sandy could end up turning northwest toward Maine or western Nova Scotia no earlier than Tuesday but, as I have been saying, I think this is the least likely option right now, but certainly too early to write off.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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About This Blog

Brett Anderson
Brett Anderson covers both short-term and long-term weather and storm forecasts for Canada in this blog for AccuWeather.com.