EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 25, 2012

Hurricane Sandy could hit region next week

Local residents are keeping their eyes on two very different forecasts, which could converge in a “perfect storm” that no one wants to see.

With campaigns bearing down on Nov. 6, Hurricane Sandy also may be heading for the region, which could knock out power — and vote-seekers — early next week.

It’s too soon to predict — the election results and what the weather may be on Monday and Tuesday.

But experts say it’s not too early to prepare for a significant storm on the first-year anniversary Monday of the snowstorm that blanketed the region with more than 2 feet of heavy snow. Tuesday marks the 21-year anniversary of a monster storm that slammed the Eastern Seaboard, sank the Andrea Gail and was dubbed the “perfect storm” by the National Weather Service.

Clashes between air masses can be a bit more extreme in late October, sometimes resulting in significant and “very strong” storms, NWS meteorologist John Jensenius said from Gray, Maine, yesterday.

“We’re still into the season with tropical air moving up the East Coast and, at same time, cold air masses moving down from Canada, which can increase the amount of energy in the atmosphere,” he said.

For now, it’s just too soon to tell what Sandy will do, Jensenius said.

“It’s very early as far as the actual storm, a lot will depend on the actual track,” he said.

He outlined two of the more likely scenarios, based on models meteorologists are studying now.

The first has Sandy tracking north-northeast off the coast of North Carolina and staying out at sea. Even so, under that model, there’s the potential for heavy rain, he said, with several inches within the realm of possibility.

Under the second scenario, the storm could track north off North Carolina, but then do a “left hook” and head straight into the Northeast coast, anywhere from New Jersey to Maine, he said.

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