Sandy could be worse than typical hurricane according to state officials

Hurricane Sandy’s winds are expected to be worst here from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon, according to a high-wind watch issued Saturday afternoon by the National Weather Service, which is getting a better idea of what to expect from the storm.

Northeast winds are expected to increase to 30 to 40 mph with gusts of 50 to 60 mph Monday morning, becoming east winds at 50 to 55 mph with gusts of 70 to 80 mph Monday afternoon and evening, according to the weather service. The winds will then become southeast at 35 to 45 mph with gusts of 50 to 60 mph late Monday night into Tuesday.

These winds, according to the weather service, pose “a significant threat to life and property.”

 

With winds this strong, considered even stronger than what Irene brought last year and caused heavy damage in town, town residents have been told to expect the downing of trees and large tree branches that will cause power outages and road blocks that could last for days.

“Minor structural damage to buildings and homes is possible,” the weather service said.

A coastal flood watch remains in effect for the area from Sunday through Monday night. An inland flood watch has been issued for southern Connecticut from early Monday through Tuesday afternoon. Sandy is expected to bring two to six inches of rain from early Monday through Tuesday, according to the weather service.

“The highest rainfall amounts are expected in the higher elevations and in areas that experience prolonged heavy rain bands,” according to the weather service. “Rainfall rates of one to two inches per hour are possible in the heaviest bands.”

These rainfall amounts could cause “widespread urban and poor drainage flooding Monday morning into Tuesday — with flooding of flashy, fast responding streams likely as well.”

Flooding could also be increased by fallen leaves clogging drains.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, Sandy continued to pick up speed a bit, now moving northeast at 13 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Earlier today it was moving at 9 mph. Sandy is expected to continue moving northeast through Sunday then turn toward the north Sunday night before turning toward the north-northwest on Monday. It is still expected to move parallel to the Eastern Seaboard before turning toward New Jersey.

Its hurricane-force winds extend up to 105 miles from the eye of the storm. And the tropical storm force winds extend up to 520 miles from the center.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will fully activate the state’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Sunday at 8 a.m. to continue coordinating the state’s response in advance of Hurricane Sandy. And there have been indications from the state’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection on why Sandy is expected to be unlike most hurricanes.

 

Sandy is forecast to move to a position approximately 225 Miles East of Cape Hatteras, N.C., by 2 a.m. Monday morning, according to the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. With the storm about 2,000 miles wide, Connecticut will already be feeling its force at that point.

“Sandy is then forecast to intensify and grow in size as the storm interacts with an approaching winter type storm system,” according to the state. Sandy is forecast to move northwest to a position near the southern coast of New Jersey by 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Sandy is expected to be a large and dangerous Hybrid when the storm arrives Sunday night and Monday — the Frankenstorm many have been talking about. State officials warn that hybrid storms do not act like hurricanes and do not weaken over cold waters. Sandy is forecast to move slowly and impact our area for up to 36 hours with very strong winds, finally departing our area Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service has issued High Wind Watches for the potential of very strong winds sustained at 40-60 mph and gusting to 60-80 mph along the coast and in the higher elevations at times.

Following a series of unified command meetings and municipal conference calls, Malloy will hold two media briefings from the state EOC on Sunday — the first at 11:30 a.m., followed by another at 6 p.m.

“This storm’s heavy rain and winds, combined with the high tide, has the potential for a big impact on the entire state, ”Malloy said. “It’s specifically drawing increased concern because of the forecasted duration, which could last up to 36 hours – longer than what we are used to in Connecticut.  Please take this as seriously as we are taking it.”

The state EOC, staffed by state emergency management personnel and representatives of the state’s major utility companies, will remain open throughout the duration of the storm.

Check twitter.com/greenwichpost for additional updates.

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