Gusty winds and high surf are the main predictions in the local forecast for Sandy.
The storm, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, is heading up the Caribbean islands, and was upgraded to hurricane status Wednesday, Oct. 24.
“The models start to deviate when it reaches just north of the Bahamas,” said meteorologist Rachel Zouzias of the National Weather Service Wilmington Forecast Office. “Some of the models bring it out to sea while other ones bring it straight up to New England. … For us, it looks like the closest approach to the greatest impacts will come late Friday through Saturday, the first half of the weekend. It will be very dependent on the exact track and timing.”
On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 27, Sandy is forecast to be located 370 miles from the southeastern tip of Cape Fear, moving at 70 mph.
On Sunday, Oct. 28, Sandy is still forecast at 70 mph, but about 300 miles east of Cape Fear.
A front will also be moving down from the northeast on Saturday, causing a pressure gradient and stronger winds.
“We will have to watch it closely to see,” Zouzias said. “It’s over the open ocean so that will help to weaken it. … The main effects will be on the marine community and the marine environment.”
High surf is possible, she said, with seas as high as 19 feet in the outer waters and 9-12 feet closer to shore.
“It’s going to be very dangerous surf conditions through the weekend and strong rip currents,” Zouzias said.