( 4UMF NEWS ) Hurricane Sandy Kills 21:
A Halloween hurricane — dubbed “Frankenstorm” for its potential monstrous effects — has communities bracing for the what could be one of the most ferocious systems to barrel up the Eastern Seaboard.
For the 50 million people who live in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast – roughly one-sixth of the U.S. population – Hurricane Sandy’s winds, rains and potential snow could ruin trick-or-treating plans next week.
The consensus is that the hurricane – or whatever it morphs into — will make a direct hit Monday or Tuesday somewhere from Virginia to New England, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Jim Feerick. The biggest threats, he says, will be pounding rain and strong winds, which could roar at up to 60 mph.
Hurricane Sandy raged through the Bahamas early Friday after leaving 21 people dead across the Caribbean. Sandy, which weakened to a category 1 hurricane Thursday night, caused havoc in Cuba early in the day, killing 11 people in eastern Santiago and Guantanamo provinces.
Sandy also killed one person while crossing Jamaica on Wednesday and 10 in Haiti, where heavy rains from the storm’s outer bands caused flooding in the impoverished and deforested country.
Early Friday, the hurricane’s center was about 15 miles (25 kilometers) east-southeast of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas and 485 miles (780 kilometers) south-southeast of Charleston, S.C. and was moving northeast at 13 mph (20 kph) with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph (130 kph). A new tropical storm watch was issued early Friday for a section of the U.S. East Coast extending from Savannah, Ga., northward to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Sandy, which crossed Cuba and reached the Bahamas as a category 2 hurricane, was expected to maintain its category 1 storm status for the next few days. Tropical storm conditions were possible for Florida’s southeastern coast, the Upper Keys and Florida Bay by Friday morning.
Hurricane Sandy was expected to churn through the central and northwest Bahamas by Friday afternoon and then head northward off the U.S. coast. With storm conditions projected to hit New Jersey with tropical storm-force winds Tuesday, there was a 90 percent chance that most of the U.S. East Coast would get steady gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and maybe snow starting Sunday and stretching past Wednesday, U.S. forecaster Jim Cisco said.