This Halloween a real monster could be ravaging the coast of the Northeast United States and it's name is Frankenstorm. Well, not really. The real name of the storm is Hurricane Sandy, and it has already killed 21 people in Haiti, Cuba, and Jamaica. While it has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm it is due to hit the Northeast United States on Sunday, and elevated tides because of a full moon could make this storm cause a lot of damage. Added to it chances of combining with a winter storm coming from Midwestern United States and this storm could end up being quite a monster.
The storm is expected to ravage the Northeast from Sunday through Wednesday. It will dump six to ten inches of rain along the coast and will have winds that could knock down trees and cause power outages. People in New Jersey are already reinforcing the piers with sand bags and bulldozers. And in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned of widespread power outages. However, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority has said a shutdown of the subway system is unlikely.
The nickname "Frankenstorm" comes in part from its Halloween-time appearance and its chances of combining with a blast of cold air from the north. However, this Frankenstorm should pale in comparison to the “Perfect Storm” of 1991 when a hurricane combined with a cold front and a high pressure system. That storm did not make landfall, but the swells it brought contributed to 13 fatalities.
There is no reason to panic, though. Officials have only said to take basic precautionary measures and there are not nearly as many pre-storm alarms as there were with Irene. Homes along the coast can expect damaged property, but for the rest of us the worst we can expect is some power outages and minor flooding.
UPDATE: Saturday, 12:00 pm: Sandy has reached hurricane strength once again, with winds of 75 mph or more. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Saturday morning that a Hurricane Hunter aircraft found that Sandy had sustained winds powerful enough to make it a Category 1 huricane. It is expected to be a monstrous storm which will barrel its way up from the Carolinas, through New Jersey and New York, and continue through the northeast. Already on Saturday, the storm is creating hurricane-force winds in North and South Carolina.
Several states, including New York, have already declared states of emergency and are urging residents to take special precautions, including evacuations of low-lying areas. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told residents they could be out of power for over a week. "We should not underestimate the impact of the storm. We have to be prepared for the worst here," he said. New York City's Mayor Bloomberg told residents to stay out of city parks on Sunday onward, and to stock up on basic supplies. "This is a large, unpredictable storm, so be prepared for possible outages," he said.