Hurricane Sandy is a category 2 storm with 105 mph winds, and though it will be weaker than that five days from now, it could wreak havoc anywhere from the Delmarva Peninsula to Cape Cod, an increasing number of models are showing.
The storm is still nearing the Bahamas, but as the days pass and forecasters continue to run various models, a track to the north is still among the potential scenarios. It's also possible the storm will stay out to sea, but as time goes on, it's more models that are predicting a serious East Coast impact, not fewer.
Here is the latest from various forecasters on Sandy's potential, expected to impact the mid-Atlantic anywhere from late Sunday night through Wednesday:
- The National Hurricane Center has repeatedly shifted its predicted track for Sandy to the northwest. As of a 5 p.m. update, the center is predicting a westward turn that would take Sandy as a tropical storm into the mid-Atlantic coast early Tuesday. Hurricane models had previously taken Sandy out to sea, but now they are in line with other models that have forewarned a nor'easter-type track for days.
- The National Weather Service's Hydrometerological Prediction Center is now expecting Sandy to run right into an oncoming front of polar air, combining into a "hybrid vortex" over the mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Tuesday and into Halloween on Wednesday. The scenario is prompting the normally austere weather agency to suggest a possible name for the storm -- "'Frankenstorm', an allusion to Mary Shelley's gothic creature of synthesized elements." One model was showing a potential strike on the southern Delmarva while others send the storm up to the greater New York City area, according to an update posted about 3 p.m. Thursday, which also cautioned of potential heavy snows on the southwest side of the storm as it meets the polar air.
- Foot's Forecast is calling Sandy's impact "not so improbable anymore." Forecasters lay out two major scenarios, the one involving a direct hit Monday morning, and another involving Sandy staying out to sea but a separate nor'easter forming to Sandy's west. More on that below.
- Local meteorologist Eric the Red is getting himself a portable power generator, with a mid-Atlantic strike possible as well as a path to the Northeast but sweeping backsouthwestward bringing wind and rain to Maryland. "Whether Sunday night and Monday go down in the books as one of the worst weather events here or not is contingent on where Sandy turns left," he wrote Thursday morning.
- The Weather Underground's Jeff Masters says the storm could have the potential to cause $1 billion in damage, with a 70 percent chance of a significant impact in the U.S. Warmer-than-normal ocean temperatures along the East Coast could fuel heavier rains, and a full moon on Sunday could worsen the impacts of rising tides and storm surges, he wrote Thursday morning.
- AccuWeather.com severe weather expert Henry Margusity is sticking to his earlier predictions that Sandy will stay out to sea but that other factors will create a separate low-pressure system bringing rain up and down the Northeast. If that doesn't happen, Margusity says, then a direct hit around New Jersey or New England is more likely, Margusity writes.
- The National Weather Service office in Mount Holly, N.J., which covers the Eastern Shore and Delaware beaches, is warning residents to expect major or record coastal flooding as well as flash flooding and river flooding. The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center is forecasting upward of 6 inches of rain along the Jersey shore and 3-4 inches on the Eastern Shore and Maryland beaches from Sunday through Tuesday.
Preparations are under way in Maryland no matter what Sandy brings.
In Baltimore, the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management is encouraging residents to make sure they have a battery-powered radio and flashlights with fresh batteries, and at least three gallons of water per person to last them through three days of drinking and sanitation.
Residents are also encouraged to clear debris from storm drains, many of which may be covered with fall leaves already.
Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. said they are watching Sandy forecasts and preparing for the possibility of widespread power outages the storm could bring.
The storm has proven deadly already after passing over Jamaica and Cuba, killing two people and damaging thousands of homes, according to the Weather Underground. In Jamaica, 70 percent of residents lost power.