Understanding Why Hurricane Sandy Is So Dangerous
NPR.ORG: Storms have hit the East coast before but none have been as dangerous as Hurricane Sandy. NPR broke down the science behind Sandy to explain why the nature of this storm is more concerning than past hurricanes.
Here are a few reasons government forecasters at the National Hurricane Center and emergency management officials are so concerned about Sandy:
1. Sandy is one of the largest hurricanes ever to strike the U.S. Sandy's winds cover an area of more than 1,000 miles in diameter. That's enormous by hurricane standards. So instead of affecting an area a couple of hundred miles across, Sandy will cut a huge swath. That means many millions of people are probably going to be exposed to high winds, heavy rains, and, for those on the coast, powerful storm surge.
2. Sandy is a very slow-moving storm. Sandy was slowing as it turned inland in a northwesterly direction. That means many places could see two full days of heavy winds and rain, not just a few hours. Sandy is now packing winds of more than 90 miles per hour, according to latest update from the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters say some places will get a foot of rain and they expect widespread flooding, wind damage and power outages.
3. Sandy remains strong as it reaches the coast. Hurricanes often weaken as they travel north across colder water and approach land. But Sandy hasn't. One reason is that it's expected to change from a tropical storm powered by warm ocean water to something more like a winter storm powered by temperature and pressure differences in the atmosphere. So it will be a hybrid, or "Frankenstorm." And forecasters say Sandy may actually gain strength slightly as it reaches land. They also think it will remain strong enough once on land to produce strong winds far inland.
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This story was filed by KHQ's Nichole Mischke. Email her at Nichole.Mischke@khq.com