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Could Sandy's fury knock out power through Election Day?

8:19 PM, Oct 26, 2012   |    comments
Hurricane Sandy's forecast track as of Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.
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(WXIA) - Hurricane Sandy is being compared by forecasters to 1991's "Perfect Storm" which also came from the convergence of a classic Nor'easter and an Atlantic Hurricane.

Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said they expect Sandy to make landfall as a category 1 hurricane early next week somewhere between the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and New York City.

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An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer quotes an official with the with power company PECO as saying that if Sandy's worst-case landfall scenario for the Philadelphia region comes into play, that the so-called Frankenstorm or Storm of the Century would become a multi-billion dollar event.

The article quotes an emergency manager in Abescon, NJ, Jim Eberwine, who says he believes the storm could cause wide-spread power outages that could leave some in the dark as late as Election Day - Nov. 6.

Forecasters with Accu-Weather -- which works with 11Alive's WIZtv (channel 11.2) - say the storm will likely become a multi-billion-dollar, once in a lifetime event. Their forecasting, which many experts consider to be more conservative, says the worst of the storm is expected in the Mid-Atlantic states on Monday and Tuesday. They said conditions are expected to begin to deteriorate in coastal regions late Sunday.

Flight delays are expected to begin to ripple across the nation by that point, as the storm begins to affect major northeastern airports including JFK, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington Reagan and Washington Dulles. Other major airport hubs, including Chicago O'Hare and Atlanta will see effects as delays ripple across the nation.

By Friday afternoon, the major airlines had started asking travelers to alter their travel plans for early next week. Airlines began to allow travelers to reschedule their flights without incurring typical rescheduling fees of up to $150.

Forecasters say that impacts form heavy rains and high winds will be felt for hundreds of miles inland, causing power outages that in some areas could last for days.

11Alive Chief Meteorologist Mike Francis says high winds will be felt across a broad area, and once the storm's fury gets inland, high winds and large amounts of snow are expected to fall, with areas across West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and into New England seeing significant snowfall amounts.

Francis points out that computer modeling that is presently showing large snowfall totals over western Pennsylvania and West Virginia are not taking into account the significant amount of moisture that Hurricane Sandy's winds will push inland.

As of Friday afternoon, Hurricane Sandy was located about 430 miles south-southeast of Charleston, S.C., moving to the north at 7 mph. The storm is a minimal category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Florida's east coast from Deerfield Beach to Flagler Beach. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from the mouth of the Savannah River to Oregon Inlet, N.C., and Florida's east coast north from Flagler Beach to Fernandina Beach.

Areas along the entire US Eastern Seaboard are advised to pay close attention to advisories associated with Hurricane Sandy. Conditions are expected to change rapidly as the storm moves northward.

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