A tropical storm that formed in the Caribbean earlier this week is now at hurricane strength and is heading northward in a way that could affect the East Coast of the United States, according to various meteorologists.
While meteorologists in Connecticut say it's too early to tell Hurricane Sandy's exact path, some computer models show the possibility of the storm making landfall in Connecticut and New England early next week. Others show it veering off to the east. But, throughout the day Wednesday, some forecasters became increasingly concerned that the hurricane might hit somewhere on the East Coast, somewhere between North Carolina to Nova Scotia.
"Sunday through Tuesday, there is the potential for a major coastal storm with heavy rainfall, high winds, coastal flooding and beach erosion," the National Weather said in a hazardous weather outlook issued for Madison and the surrounding area. "This will ultimately depend on the eventual track and evolution of ... Sandy as it interacts with a deepening upper level low pressure system approaching the East Coast ... any potential impacts are still at least several days away. Please refer to the National Hurricane Center for the latest forecasts on Sandy, and monitor the latest National Weather Service forecasts throughout the week."
In a 5 p.m. update on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center distributed some projections of the storm showing it could track near the East Coast of North Carolina and Virginia as it proceeds north.
Earlier Wednesday, the storm produced winds of up to 80 mph as it passed over Cuba and Jamaica.
After it leaves the island nations there are many different directions the storm could travel, according to NBC Connecticut Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan, who posted a graphic of the potential directions on his weather blog. He said on his blog:
Until we have a better idea where the storm will make landfall it’s impossible to get too specific with the exact hazards and threats that Sandy will pose. We are still 5 days from a possible impact which is an eternity when forecasting a hurricane’s track! It’s also unclear how strong the storm will be when it reaches the northeast.
The National Hurricane Center has a similar message, adding that “the uncertainty in the long-range track forecast remains very high.”
Meanwhile, WXEdge.com said the storm will not affect the East Coast until Sunday at the earliest.
The National Weather Service forecast for Madison is as follows:
- Thursday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 62. Southeast wind around 8 mph.
- Thursday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51. Southeast wind 3 to 7 mph.
- Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 67. Calm wind becoming southeast around 6 mph in the afternoon.
- Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 52. Light and variable wind.
- Saturday: A slight chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 68. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
- Saturday Night: A chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 51. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
- Sunday: A chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 60. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
- Sunday Night: A chance of rain. Cloudy, with a low around 51. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
- Monday: A chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 57. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
- Monday Night: A chance of rain. Cloudy, with a low around 47. Breezy. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
- Tuesday: Rain likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
- Tuesday Night: A chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 43. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
- Wednesday: A chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 52. Chance of precipitation is 40%.