The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center on Thursday predicts a weakened – but still potent – Hurricane Sandy directly off the Jersey Shore by Tuesday morning.
The 11 a.m. update from the Miami-based agency shows Sandy – a post-tropical cyclone by the time it reaches New Jersey – making a sharp turn to the northwest Monday morning, with the storm sitting just offshore by Tuesday at 8 a.m. The wider predicted track of the storm shows it making landfall anywhere between the northern North Carolina coast and Massachusetts.
(See prediction graphic attached to this story.)
"The track model guidance continues to trend toward the northwest as Sandy interacts with an amplifying shortwave trough over the mid-Atlantic states," a forecast discussion advisory posted on the agency's website said Thursday afternoon. "However, there remain significant differences in regard to the timing of this interaction and where the northwest turn will occur."
Forecasters said the current, official track of the storm from the National Hurricane Center is the balance between two forecast models.
The storm, already being dubbed "Frankenstorm" because of the possibility that Sandy could merge with with cold air and strong upper level winds moving down from Canada, is forecast to maintain strong tropical storm force winds of 70 m.p.h. by the time it reaches the Shore area, just shy of 74 m.p.h. hurricane force winds.
No watches or warnings have been issued for New Jersey, or any other area in the mid-Atlantic region, though tropical storm warnings and watches have been issued for entire east coast of Florida.
Atlantic County Emergency Management officials are already stressing the need for county residents to make the proper preparations prior to the storm. They are advising residents to replenish their disaster supply kits, and has provided a complete list of items to include at www.ReadyAtlantic.org. Residents will also be able to find evacuation routes, preparedness information for those with special needs, contact information for local emergency management offices and more.
In addition to the website, the county has established an emergency information hotline at 1-866-704-4636 where residents may call to receive preparedness information and storm updates.
Residents are also encouraged to register with the county’s Community Notification System at www.ReadyAtlantic.org to receive email or text alerts.