Forecasters have their eye on Hurricane Sandy as it churns up the East Coast and has the potential to meet with a winter storm on its way. If it does, it could create the perfect storm and could wreak havoc on New Jersey and New York City in the process.

Forecasters have dubbed the system "Frankenstorm."

"The word right now is potential," said New Jersey State Climatologist Dr. Dave Robinson. "This storm has the potential to be a devastating one along the New Jersey coast as well as inland. We're still days away. If it were to make landfall, it would likely be early on Monday."

There is a 90 percent chance that the East Coast, from Florida to Maine, will get steady gale-force winds, heavy rain, flooding and maybe even snow starting on Sunday and stretching past Halloween on Wednesday. Meteorologists predict it could cause $1 billion in damages. "It all depends on how things sync up. We've got a frontal system coming in. We've got a hurricane coming up from the south. There is a lot of energy in the area and the steering currents in the atmosphere are unusual in that they're not going to let this storm easily head off to the northeast as they often do, but quite possibly turn it inland so that the storm would make landfall on the New Jersey coast from the southeast and head of to the northwest across New Jersey," said Robinson.

"Even Irene came up from the south and just clipped the New Jersey coastline and then headed up toward New York City and then New England," said Robinson. "So, this system has an unusual track. It's a combination of a tropical system and an extra tropical system which we usually begin to see in the fall and winter. So, if everything aligns just right, it will bring the energy to bring very strong winds, coastal flooding, wind damage across the entire state and six, seven or more inches of rain. That could cause moderate to major flooding in the river basins across the state. We have got to keep an eye on it over the next couple of days."

"The forecast models are beginning to converge on a solution and that solution is bringing it toward New Jersey," said Robinson. "There is still time for that solution to change. Everything is a matter of timing, how fast the system from the middle latitudes moves in, how fast the system from the tropics moves in and how much of what we call blocking takes place in the north-Atlantic. We're seeing the forecast starting to sync things more in the area of New Jersey. But, again, we'll have to watch it very closely over the next two days."


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