As weather forecasters continue to track Tropical Storm Sandy, which is expected to become a hurricane Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for Fairfield County, New Haven County and other parts of Connecticut.
"Tropical Storm Sandy is slowly gathering strength south-southwest of Jamaica. The current forecast track has Sandy passing over Jamaica Wednesday afternoon as a hurricane, then near or over eastern Cuba Wednesday night. Winds have already begun to increase in and around the Florida Peninsula, especially over the coastal waters where Small Craft Advisories and Tropical Storm Watches are in effect," the NWS says.
The NWS says that there is a low potential for a major coastal storm with heavy rainfall, high winds, coastal flooding and beach erosion in southern Connecticut early next week.
"This will ultimately depend on the eventual track and evolution of Tropical Cyclone Sandy as it interacts with a deepening upper level low pressure system approaching the east coast," the NWS says. "The storm may very well just move out to sea and have little if any impact on our weather. Again, forecast confidence is still low at this point since Sandy is still in the Caribbean Sea and any potential impacts are still 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."
Meterologist Gil Simmons from WTNH's WXEDGE, said in his morning update that "all eyes are on Sandy." He noted that early next week there will be an unusually high tide cycle because of the moon phase and that if the storm does affect the area, that strong winds could begin as early as Sunday night.
Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist for Accuweather.com, says "Depending on the path of Sandy, now brewing in the Caribbean, people along the East Coast during the week of Halloween could be looking a destructive storm or breathing a sigh of relief. Final destination scenarios for Sandy range from bypassing the East Coast to creating a nightmare for tens of millions of people from Norfolk, Va., to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston."
When will we know more?
Ryan Hanrahan, the meteorologist with the NBC station in Hartford says we are at least 36 to 48 hours away from "really getting a good handle on Sandy."
"Sandy is a bit of a pain ... She’s not behaving like most tropical storms or hurricanes do. The 'spaghetti plot' of this afternoon’s GFS ensembles really tells the story with 2 distinct possible paths for Sandy," Hanrahan says in his blog. Some forecasters "curve the storm east ... the other half of the models take Sandy to just east of Cape Hatteras and sling shot it west into New England. That would be one of the most unusual paths ever documented for a New England tropical storm or hurricane!"