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Sandy, now a strong Tropical Storm, is on the verge of becoming a hurricane. It will move through the Caribbean, impacting Jamaica, Cuba, and the Bahamas as it does so. By this weekend, the storm system will be located just off the US southeast coast. Where it goes from there is still not completely known; while medium and long range forecast guidance differ in their solutions, more solutions bring Sandy to the northeast coast than don't and because of the increased odds of impact, residents in that area should begin to prepare out of an abundance of caution. By Friday, the meteorological community should have a better handle on Sandy's future track and should be able to inform the public whether hurricane preparation plans should turn into actions.Hurricane Sandy will be joined by an abundance of atmospheric energy as it moves north, with a strong system moving over the great lakes, an unusually positioned jet stream, and an early season pool of Artic air sliding down from Canada. Similar to the "Perfect Storm" of 1991, this event may be even "more perfect" with more variables conspiring to create a truly historic storm. The result from some of the more ominous model solutions paints a picture of an extra-tropical cyclone that has the equivalent strength of a Category 1 hurricane in places like New Jersey, New York City, Long Island, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. (Other models shift direct impact futher up/down the east coast.) The result will be an impressive "hybrid" nor'easter/hurricane, with storm force winds well inland, extremely heavy rains of 4-8"+, and exceptionally rough surf; waves may grow in excess of 30-40 feet tall just off-shore. Winds from this storm could be substantially worse than they were with Hurricane Irene throughout New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, New York, and southeastern New England.The storm is still several days away, giving residents ample time to prepare. Effects from this storm may move into the region as early as the latter part of this weekend and linger into Monday or Tuesday of next week. ** Again, it can't be stressed enough that the exact size, strength, and future track of this storm is not yet etched in stone...but out of an abundance of caution, residents should prepare for the possibility of a worse-case scenario while hoping for the best.**We will continue to update information through our broadcast and online channels. On Facebook, be sure to select "Show in Newsfeed" under the "Like" button so that future updates and graphics appear when you log-on there. Follow us on Twitter at @theWeatherboy and check the latest maps and warnings at http://www.weatheronline.com/
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