Friday Afternoon Update: Hurricane Sandy Tracking Toward D.C.
National Hurricane Center puts track of 'Frankenstorm' — potentially a tropical storm inside a nor'easter — a bit closer to Northern Virginia, the District and Maryland.
Update, 6:05 a.m. Saturday - Click here or the latest forecast information on Hurricane Sandy's track through Northern Virginia and Washington.
Update, 1:40 p.m. Friday
As of early Friday afternoon, Hurricane Sandy had sustained winds of 80 mph — making it a Category 1 storm — as it slowly traveled north of the Bahamas. The storm is moving at just 6 mph.
Saturday's weather should be cloudy with temperatures in the mid-60s. Some rain will start Saturday evening as temperatures drop into the 50s. The probability of rain increases Sunday morning (during the Marine Corps Marathon) with more wind and rain as the storm gets close Sunday afternoon.
Right now, the National Hurricane Center is predicting a greater than 40 percent chance that Northern Virginia, the district and much of Maryland will see tropical storm-strength winds (sustained at more than 39 mph) by Monday morning.
Though many are jokingly referring to this confluence of storms as "Frankenstorm," WUSA meteorologist Howard Bernstein pointed out via Twitter that this story could be "deadly [and] dangerous," knocking down trees and powerlines and flooding neighborhoods.
The Capital Weather Gang says there is virtually no chance the D.C. metro area will avoid this storm.
Stick with Patch this weekend -- we've created a new section under our news menu called "Hurricane Sandy" that you may want to bookmark.
Original post, 5:30 a.m. Friday
A monster of a storm out in the Atlantic — Hurricane Sandy, aka 'Frankenstorm' — could deliver a wallop to the Northern Virginia area beginning with rain Sunday and heavier rain and potentially damaging winds Monday and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
What some are calling a "perfect storm" could see storm systems converge and roil over a large swath of the Mid-Atlantic and upper eastern United States: an early winter storm from the West, arctic air from the North and the hurricane traveling up from the South, forecasters say.
Adding to the eerie equation: A full moon on Monday, which means high tides, increasing the potential for coastal flooding.
The latest tracking of the storm (as of early Friday morning, a Category 1 moving through the Bahamas) by the National Hurricane Center could put the storm closer than originally predicted to the Northern Virginia area, reported D.C.'s NBC-4 chief meteorologist Doug Kammerer, in the station's Thursday 11 p.m. newscast.
The National Weather Service forecast Thursday at 11 p.m. positions the storm in 96 hours (Monday) at 37.5 degrees North latitude and 72.5 degrees West longitude — east of Virginia off the Mid-Atlantic coast. The current track sees the storm making landfall far north of the D.C. area, but forecasts are still uncertain.
"It's honestly looking a little scary for us," Kammerer told his TV audience, characterizing the storm as "historic" as other forecasters have the past day or two. The area could see some inland flooding along the Potomac, with heavy rains up to 3-6 inches, he noted. "This storm really does mean business here," Kammerer said. "I hope I'm wrong on this."
Rain will likely start Sunday but "the heaviest of this may be on Monday for us," he said.
In a conference call with regional governments Thursday, the National Weather Service said the most likely scenario for Northern Virginia is a slow, long-lasting system with tropical storm winds, heavy rain/flooding and moderate tidal flooding, according to Fairfax County's emergency management blog.
WJLA's weather blog had this to say: "Yet to be resolved is whether these effects will be minor, major or historic. All three are possible. This is a fairly rare confluence of atmospheric features we are monitoring....And yes…there is a chance…a very small chance, this storm will not make landfall and stay out to sea."
Even the threat of a storm could put political campaigning on hold for a few days in Northern Virginia, a hot spot in a campaign-weary battleground state. President Obama was set to make a campaign stop in Prince William County on Monday with former President Clinton and those plans could likely be called off due to the storm predictions.
For more Hurricane Sandy information, see: