hurricane-sandy-oct-25There’s a vicious hurricane, Sandy, hurtling straight toward USA’s East coast. The current forecast is grim — it could be the worst storm in more than 100 years — and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is even referring to the event as Frankenstorm: gale-force winds, snow, torrential rain, flooding and extreme tides in one unforgiving force of nature. Please, heed caution. Don’t panic. Stay calm, but by no means should you brush this off. Preparedness saves lives.

Meteorologists and What-Ifs? are never 100 percent accurate, but many predict the Frankenstorm will be unprecedented in its violence. Storms near this magnitude frequently come and go, though their effects often last well after things calm. You can hopefully mitigate the long term impact by planning for the worst case scenario.

The storm is basically a trifecta of three separate systems converging into one unstoppable tempest. According to the NOAA, the after effects of Hurricane Sandy, which is a Category 2 system, will crawl up the eastern United States and join forces with a winter storm coming from the West. To make matters even worse, a chilling roar of arctic air will move in from the North, potentially creating what prediction models estimate will cause over $5 billion in damages, Bloomberg said.

Right now, its destruction path ranges from Florida all the way up past Maine on into Canada, with Mid-Atlantic and Northeast landfall expected late Sunday into Tuesday (Oct. 30). That’s no joke; winds of 40 mph are expected in New York City by Oct. 30 — that’s absolutely lashing when you throw rain and snow into the mix.

“A good message to everybody is you should always have a ‘go’ plan,” New York Major Michael Bloomberg said. “Particularly if you live near the water or in a low area, you may have to be evacuated. Listen to the radio and if necessary follow the instructions. Absolutely terrifying.

In Weather Underground’s blog, Jeff Masters said some scenario models expect hurricane force winds “over a wide stretch of heavily populated coast, causing massive power outages.”

There’s a possibility Sandy could peter out as it moves along toward Maine, though plenty of rain is still expected. Even if there is a chance the storm weakens before hitting full potential, don’t bet on it. Keep yourself up-to-date with the latest weather advisories, and make sure you’re stocked up on the essentials.

[via io9, NOAA, Bloomberg, WeatherUnderground]