Likelihood of Hurricane Sandy hitting here grows

THURSDAY 12:02 PM — The latest forecast model from the National Hurricane Center, released at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, puts Hurricane Sandy on track right for the tri-state area. According to the model, Sandy is expected to be off the North Carolina and Virginia shores on Monday morning and off the New Jersey shore on Tuesday morning.

Thursday morning: The chances of Hurricane Sandy hitting Connecticut continue to grow.

"There is increasing confidence the tri-state area will feel the impacts of a major coastal storm late this weekend into early next week," the National Weather Service said in a hazardous weather outlook statement issued Thursday morning. "This includes the potential for heavy rainfall, high winds, coastal flooding, and beach erosion. The specific impacts will ultimately depend on the eventual track and evolution of Tropical Cyclone Sandy as it interacts with deepening upper level low pressure system approaching the East Coast."

Tropical storm warnings and watches are in effect for much of Florida by Thursday morning when Sandy was expected to move from Cuba to near or over the central Bahamas later Thursday and Thursday night and move near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Maximum sustained winds are near 105 mph — with higher gusts, making it a Category 2 hurricane, according to the center.

The most recent forecasts show the hurricane moving northeast of Floriday before curving back along the East Coast, toward North Carolina.

According to forecast models, the storm could first be felt in Northeast late Sunday or Monday. The center of the large storm is not expected near Connecticut until late Tuesday — if at all.