1. The downgrade of Sandy to a tropical storm was a mistake by NHC in my opinion. The pressure is falling, and Sandy will come in with the impacts like a hurricane is what I think is happening now. Sandy is going through the change from a tropical system to an extra-tropical system, so from a tropical sense, yes, Sandy is not really a hurricane, but from a meteorological sense, Sandy is getting bigger and the pressure is expected to fall to sub 950 mb. At that pressure, winds will be over hurricane force. The two images below show the GFS wind speeds in knots.
2. Sandy will be a dangerous storm coming in with a storm surge that will hit Long Island, the south coast of New England and even into New York City. The Jersey beaches to the Maryland beaches will be flooded and in some areas, the ocean is going into the streets.
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The band of snow and ice that develops this weekend will be bad in Kansas but more of a nuisance through the Ohio Valley.
As milder weather moves north, it will mean snow will hit the Great Lakes and Northeast today into tonight. California will get more heavy rain.