A satellite image shows Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 24 in the Caribbean. (Source: MGN/NOAA)
(RNN) – Different models have predicted a wide-ranging landfall for Hurricane Sandy, however, there is no uncertainty about the amount of damage it will cause.
The storm has already killed 43 people in the Caribbean and is expected to gain strength as it moves toward the United States.
The National Hurricane Center of the National Weather Service is predicting a landfall around the New Jersey area Tuesday morning. The eye of the storm would go as far inland as central Pennsylvania, but the effects would reach far into Ohio and toward upstate New York.
Winter storms moving from the west that will greet Sandy about the time it hits land make it appear this could become a historic weather event.
"We are looking at one of the worst storms on record that we've seen in this region," said Carl Parker, hurricane specialist for The Weather Channel.
But simulations in the European model show the hurricane moving north in the Atlantic Ocean closer to the coastline, with the eye hitting land anywhere from upper North Carolina to Maryland.
Sandy has been compared to a nor'easter, a large storm with hurricane-like effects that usually moves northward.
Another unusual aspect of the storm is the strength it is expected to carry into the Atlantic. The calculations of experts vary, but low-pressure readings in many areas could reach record levels.
The heat from rising air and rain could feed unstable areas of low pressure at the eye of the storm, adding to its strength.
"We don't have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco said.
A full moon is predicted for Monday and will still be 99 percent visible as late as Wednesday, meaning Sandy will hit during high tide. That would increase the amount of flooding in coastal and low-lying areas.
Fallen trees are also a greater likelihood since they have not shed their leaves and will hold more weight from precipitation. That means power outages from downed lines, damaged houses and blocked roads are all strong possibilities.
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
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