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Megastorm bears down on the eastern U.S.

Josh Fisher, Sunday October 28, 2012 - 14:27 EDT

The monster storm or 'Frankenstorm' as forecasters have dubbed it, is projected to have a catastrophic impact over a large extent of the eastern United States. This includes major cities from Washington D.C. to New York City and Boston.

It is a rare mix of weather patterns that will contribute to the intensity and far reaches of this storm. Hurricane Sandy, which has already devastated parts of the Caribbean, will slowly move north just off the east of the U.S. where it will collide with a winter storm pushing in from the west. Another large storm over the Atlantic will steer Sandy northward before the megastorm takes a sharp turn towards the nation's mid-Atlantic coast.

The storm is due to slam into central or southern New Jersey on Monday with significant impacts likely to be felt from Virginia to Maine and eventually as far inland as the Great Lakes.

Damaging wind gusts are due to extend from Boston to Washington D.C. and inland to the central Appalachians, which run through West Virginia. These gusts will exceed 90km/h throughout this region and could well exceed 100km/h, including in New York City.

Flooding rainfall will also soak the region over an extended period of time with areas of New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland expecting more than 200mm of rain from this system. Widespread falls of up to 100mm will fall from Virginia to southern parts of New England and inland to the Great Lakes.

This combination of heavy rain saturating the ground and strong winds has the potential to bring down thousands of trees and lead to millions without power for what could be days.

The other major threat that will come with this megastorm is a potentially historic storm surge near and north of where the system crosses the coast. The full moon during the afternoon on Monday will add to high tide levels. Storm surges of 5 to 10 feet are expected along the coast from New Jersey to southern New England.

The ensuing storm surge will lead to major coastal flooding and has the potential to flood the New York City subway system. Officials have already placed a mandatory evacuation for coastal areas of Delaware due to the threat of coastal flooding.

In addition to the flooding rain, damaging winds and storm surge, the cold airmass wrapping into the back end of the system will also help to produce heavy snowfall over the central Appalachians. Over the higher terrain of West Virginia snowfall totals could top 30 to 60cm over a 48 hour period.

It is already being said that this could be the most significant storm to hit the mid-Atlantic and northeast U.S. in more than 70 years. The super storm will affect nearly 60 million people and could lead to billions of dollars in damage.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2012

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