MONTREAL – An unusual, nasty mix of a hurricane and a winter storm that forecasters are now calling a “super-storm” is likely to blast most of the U.S. and Canadian East Coast next week.
The worst of its weather mayhem will focus around New York City and New Jersey – although Canadian cities such as Halifax and Montreal are likely to feel the brunt as well.
André Cantin, a meteorologist for Environment Canada told Global News that the exact place where the storm will hit is still uncertain.
“Models differ in Europe, the U.S. and Canada but as the storm gets closer, the forecast will become focused and over the weekend, it will become more precise.”
It is likely to hit during a full moon when tides are near their highest, increasing coastal flooding potential, forecasts from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warn.
“The computer models have been converging on a very scary outcome for the U.S northeast coastal areas,” notes Global News meteorologist Anthony Farnell.
“A similar situation to the perfect storm back in late October 1991 is becoming more likely and the models show Sandy has the potential to do even more damage.”
Government forecasters on Thursday upped the odds of a major weather mess, now saying there’s a 90 per cent chance that the East will get steady gale-force winds, heavy rain, flooding and maybe snow starting Sunday and stretching past Halloween on Wednesday.
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Meteorologists say it is likely to cause $1 billion in damage in the U.S.
The storm is a combination of Hurricane Sandy, now in the Caribbean, an early winter storm in the West, and a blast of arctic air from the North.
They are predicted to collide and park over the country’s most populous coastal corridor and reach as far inland as Ohio in the U.S. and Ontario in Canada.
“The storm still has several days over the warm Gulf Stream before a possible landfall early next week,” predicts Farnell.
“There is still quite a bit of uncertainty in the track of the storm but one thing is becoming increasingly certain, this will be a monster storm affecting millions of Americans and Canadians for several days.”
The hurricane part of the storm is likely to come ashore somewhere in New Jersey on Tuesday morning, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco.
But this is a storm that will affect a far wider area, so people all along the East have to be wary, Cisco said.
Environment Canada confirmed that the storm will hit Southern Quebec on Tuesday.
“There won’t be much rain – the main effect will be high winds,” said Cantin.
Coastal areas from Florida to Maine will feel some effects, mostly from the hurricane part, he said, and the other parts of the storm will reach inland from North Carolina northward.
Once the hurricane part of the storm hits, “it will get broader. It won’t be as intense, but its effects will be spread over a very large area,” the National Hurricane Center’s chief hurricane specialist, James Franklin, said Thursday.
It’s not going away fast
One of the more messy aspects of the expected storm is that it just will not leave. The worst of it should peak early Tuesday, but it will stretch into midweek, forecasters say. Weather may start clearing in the mid-Atlantic Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 in the Northeast, Cisco said.
“It’s almost a weeklong, five-day, six-day event,” Cisco said Thursday from NOAA’s northern storm forecast centre near Washington.
“It’s going to be a widespread serious storm.”
With some trees still leafy and the potential for snow, power outages could last through to the Nov. 6 Election Day.
With every hour, meteorologists are getting more confident that this storm is going to be bad and they are able to focus their forecasts more.
The New York area could see around 127 mm of rain during the storm, while there could be snow southwest of where it comes inland, Cisco said.
Montreal feeling the effects
Anthony Farnell predicts that Montreal could get anywhere from 50-75 mm with amounts across southern Ontario including Toronto averaging closer to 100 mm.
Winds across both Quebec and Ontario will also likely gust over tropical storm force for at least a day or two.
Both private and federal meteorologists are calling this a storm that will likely go down in the history books.
“We don’t have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting,” Cisco said.
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