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Hurricane Sandy is hurling towards the United States East Coast after leaving at least 40 people dead across the Caribbean. With wind speeds dropping down to 80 mph. on Thursday, the now Category 1 hurricane is forecasted to hit the Middle Atlantic and Northeastern states early next week.
Reuter’s says Cuba reported 11 deaths and Haiti had a death toll of 26 along with suffering from structural damage due to mudslides. The AP reports 25 deaths in Haiti. As of Friday morning AP also said three people were killed in the Bahamas. The Bahamas were hit with the storm on Friday causing power outages and flooding.
At 11 a.m. on Friday, Sandy was north of the western Bahamas moving 6 mph with a wind field of 550 miles. The storm has been expanding daily. Sandy was 460 miles away from South Carolina on Friday morning.
The Washington Post predicts Sandy will reach the Virginia and New Jersey area by late Saturday evening and move towards Massachusetts by Monday.
The storm has been deemed “Frankenstorm” by a government forecast because of Sandy’s abnormal behavior. The hurricane is moving slowly and expected to strengthen as it approaches the coast because of a contrast between cool weather in the U.S. and the tropical humidity of the storm. A full moon on Monday will also cause an increase in lunar tides, and therefore an increase in coastal flooding from the hurricane.
A forecast report on AccuWeather.com says, “This will then be a catastrophic storm for the Middle Atlantic and Northeast. It will not be a purely tropical system, with a core of powerful winds near the center, but rather more like a Nor’Easter, with strong winds over a larger area.”
Forecasters predict Sandy will be worse than last year’s Hurricane Irene, which caused $4.3 billion in damages. Irene produced at most 8.9 inches of rain. Sandy is forecasted to reach 3 to 9 inches of rain. Coastal areas in North Carolina are expected to receive the most rain says the Washington Post.