Storm update: Sandy may form "hybrid storm"
Hurricane Sandy continues to grow and continues on track for the region Sunday morning, according to forecasters, and should start to be felt in Connecticut after 5 p.m. If you haven't done preparations for storm, which is still expected to unlike any storm this area has seen, today is the day.
Connecticut, along with every state from here to North Carolina, is under a state of emergency. The state's emergency operations center was opened a 8 a.m. Sunday. New Canaan was planning to open its at noon.
By the time Sandy arrives here, it might not be a hurricane anymore. But that doesn't mean it won't be bad. It will likely be worse than what a typical hurricane does to southern New England because the storm combining with two other systems — one from the West and one from the North — to form a hybrid storm that could wreak havoc from New Jersey to Connecticut to the Great Lakes. Unlike most hurricanes, which weaken once they reach the tri-state area, the hybrid storm, known as Frankenstorm, might not — Sandy is expected to bring significant wind, surge, rainfall and inland flooding hazards over an extremely large area, and even snowfall some places.
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 warning for the potential of strong winds sustained at 40-60 mph and gusting to 60-80 mph along the coast and in the higher elevations at times. The wind warning goes into effect in southwest Connecticut from 6 a.m. Monday through 6 p.m. Tuesday. Winds, however, are expected to pick up Sunday evening after 5.
High wind watches are basically the same as hurricane and tropical storm watches — the wind forces are similar but the storm will not be an actual hurricane — or tropical storm.
Coastal flood warnings go into effect in Connecticut from 6 a.m. Monday to 3 p.m. Tuesday
"This storm's heavy rain and winds, combined with the high tide, has the potential for a big impact on the entire state," Gov. Dannel P. 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."
Sandy is currently moving 10 mph northeast along the coast of the Carolinas. The storm is expected to follow this course today before moving northwest — toward New Jersey and New York City — on Monday.
The storm has grown in size the overnight. Its hurricane force winds of 75 mph — with higher gusts — extend 175 miles from the storm's center. Its tropical storm force winds extend 520 miles from the center.