Rain is likely to begin on Sunday afternoon or evening in Connecticut as the edge of the giant weather system named Sandy reaches the Northeast.
Meteorologists downgraded the storm from hurricane status overnight but said Saturday morning that it had regained its hurricane-strength winds. Regardless of whether or not the storm stays at hurricane strength, it's expected to cause extensive flooding and damage along Connecticut's shoreline as well as inland flooding and widespread power outages throughout the Mid-Atlantic and up through New England.
"Dangerous surf conditions will continue from Florida through the Carolinas for the next couple of days and spread into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states over the weekend," the National Weather Service reported on Saturday morning.
The Day reported Saturday that a full moon on Monday means that high tide will be higher than normal. The newspaper quoted David Stark, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, who said high tide in Stonington will happen around 9:30 p.m. Monday. Widespread coastal flooding and beach erosion could occur if the high tide coincides with the storm surge.
Saturday's Courant had even more ominous warnings from Fox CT meteorologist Geoff Fox, who said that recent models putting landfall further north — in New Jersey — could have an even greater impact on Connecticut when combined with the full moon tide and winds that may increase the level in Long Island Sound.
"That would produce Connecticut's worst storm in nearly 75 years, since the hurricane of 1938," Fox said.
Forecasters agree that the storm is so dangerous because of its size and slow pace, combined with a jet stream that will feed it energy as it moves into the Northeast.
Fox CT meteorologist Sam Sampieri told the Courant that the storm would strengthen and grow as it moves toward Connecticut.
"It's getting energy from the jet stream," Sampieri said. The storm is going to "really intensify and morph into a big nor'easter."
The Weather Channel breaks the storm's impact into these categories:
Destructive Wind Potential - "Winds will be strong over a very large area and capable of downing or damaging many trees and possibly blowing out windows in skyscrapers. Power outages are expected to be widespread and could last for days so be sure to charge cell phones and have any other supplies you may need. Wind damage will spread well inland, especially over higher terrain, due to the extremely large size of Sandy."
Heavy Rain Potential - "Widespread heavy rainfall will lead to flooding problems in some areas. Rainfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches are expected in parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic with locally up to 10 inches possible."
Coastal Flooding - "There remains uncertainty with where exactly the worst coastal flooding is expected. In general, the worst coastal damage and inundation will occur to the north of where the center eventually moves inland. This is expected to be somewhere between the Delmarva Peninsula and southern New England."
Heavy Snow - "Yes, this setup will even wrap in just enough cold air on its western edge to produce wet snow, possibly heavy, in some parts of the central Appalachians (mountains of West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania). Total accumulations of a foot or more will be possible."