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World/National News

October 28, 2012

5 reasons Sandy is expected to be a Megastorm

1. A NORTHBOUND HURRICANE

Hurricane Sandy is moving very slowly toward the north-northeast and is expected to continue its current path parallel to the Carolinas over the weekend, forecasters say. At some point, it’s expected to become what’s known as an extratropical storm. Unlike a tropical system like a hurricane, which gets its power from warm ocean waters, extratropical systems are driven by temperature contrasts in the atmosphere. At some point, probably Monday, Sandy will begin to turn back toward the coast and eventually make landfall over Delaware or New Jersey.

Although Sandy is currently a hurricane, it’s important not to focus too much on its official category or its precise path. It’s a massive system that will affect a huge swath of the East Coast, regardless of exactly where it hits or its precise wind speed.

2. EARLY WINTER STORM

Sandy is expected to merge with a wintry system from the west, at which point it will become the powerful superstorm that has forecasters and officials all along the Eastern Seaboard on edge. One of the other systems is an early winter storm from the west — the product of a low pressure system. Winds from that system will pull Sandy back toward the U.S. mainland.

3. ARCTIC AIR FROM THE NORTH

Frigid air coming south from Canada also is expected to collide with Sandy and the wintry storm from the west, creating a megastorm that is expected to park over the northeast for days. Forecasters are expecting residents from Florida to North Carolina to feel the peripheral effects. But the brunt of the storm will hit states farther north once Sandy collides with the winter storm and frigid air. Officials are bracing for the worst: nearly a foot of rain, high winds and up to 2 feet of snow.

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