Greensboro, NC - While tropical depression nineteen spins quietly off into the central Atlantic, its older sister, Tropical Storm Sandy is churning north from the Caribbean. It will significantly impact Jamaica and Cuba, and may skirt the eastern seaboard of the United States.
As of the 5 pm Advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Sandy was located 260 miles south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica and had sustained 50 mph winds. The storm was slowly moving to the north-northeast at 6 mph and all signs point to acceleration as it approaches Jamaica. The NHC is projecting that Sandy will strengthen into a hurricane (winds of at least 74 mph) by the time it makes landfall over Jamaica on Wednesday.
By Thursday morning, the hurricane will reach Cuba, bringing with it strong winds, a storm surge of 3-5 feet, and rainfall of 6-12 inches. The entire Caribbean will feel the effects of this storm as rain bands extend from South America to Puerto Rico.
Sandy will weaken as the terrain of Cuba slows its winds and it is forecast to be a tropical storm as it plows through the Bahamas Friday morning. Southeastern Florida will likely experience a windy and wetter end to the weak, but will be spared a direct hit as Sandy begins to turn to the northeast this weekend.
However, over the past 24 hours, several computer forecast models have shifted the projected track more to the north, so coastal North and South Carolina should pay particular attention as the storm develops and tracks north. Even if this turn does become more concrete with new forecast runs, the Carolina's barrier islands will still only receive a glancing blow from Sandy.
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Meanwhile, a strong low pressure system will move into the Northern Plains and drape a long cold front across the eastern U.S. As this front reaches the coast, there is the potential for interaction between it and Sandy. If Tropical Storm Sandy gets drawn into the approaching low then New England will experience severe weather early next week. It is more likely, however, that Sandy will push further offshore out ahead of the front.
As always, make sure to keep checking back with WFMY News 2 and digtriad.com for the latest updates.
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