Winds will increase Sunday as rain gradually spreads westward across Virginia. The maximum effects from Sandy will be felt across the area on Monday as the storm moves northeast of Virginia. Winds and rainfall will begin to slowly decrease later Tuesday.
The forecast track continues to feature a turn back towards the northeastern United States by Tuesday, making a landfall Tuesday in southern New Jersey. It may lose some tropical characteristics (being surrounded by warm air on all sides), and may lose the title of “hurricane”. It will still be a powerful storm system with hurricane-force winds as it makes landfall.
There continues to be variability on the landfall area among the suite of computer models:
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for much of the North Carolina coast so far:
Winds will increase during Sunday afternoon, and hit their maximum speeds on Monday before lessening slightly late Tuesday and Tuesday night.
A very important issue with this storm will be the prolonged period of higher winds. Much of Monday will feature sustained winds during the day of 30 to 40 mph (higher at the coast). These longer periods of higher winds, especially with frequent gusts above 50 mph, cause the most problems with trees and potentially power lines.
Anything that isn’t weighted down well will get pushed around (or transported) in strong winds. This includes garbage cans, flower pots, patio furniture and campaign signs. Winds will decrease Tuesday into Wednesday, so all exterior objects can be replaced in their original positions for mid to late week.
Rain will increase in intensity Sunday night through much of Monday. Rain will begin to turn more scattered, south to north, later Tuesday. By the time all is done, areas well east of I-95 could receive over 6″ of rain with even higher totals at the coast.
A coastal flood warning has been issued through Monday evening for the counties near the coastline. High tide will occur Monday morning, and this will coincide with heavy rainfall and the start of the strongest wind gusts.
The flood watch has been expanded slightly westward, and will likely be expanded even farther westward by Monday:
We will continue to update the forecast as Sandy draws closer.
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