1. A NORTHBOUND HURRICANE
Hurricane Sandy is moving slowly northeast and but is expected to turn to the north and west later Sunday and Monday, forecasters say. At some point, it’s expected to become what’s known as an extratropical storm. Unlike a hurricane, which gets its power from warm ocean waters, extratropical systems are driven by temperature contrasts in the atmosphere.
Although Sandy is a hurricane, it’s important not to focus too much on its official category or its precise path (current models show it making landfall over New Jersey or Delaware sometime early Tuesday). Louis Uccellini, environmental prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Associated Press that given Sandy’s east-to-west track into New Jersey, the worst of the storm surge could be just to the north, in New York City, on Long Island and in northern New Jersey.
Boston and Philadelphia should expect the worst storm conditions Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning.
It’s a massive system that will affect a huge swath of the eastern U.S., regardless of exactly where it hits or its precise wind speed. For example, tropical storm-force winds can be felt more than 500 miles from the storm’s center, according to the National Hurricane Center. It’s already caused some minor flooding in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and has prompted evacuations elsewhere. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has personnel and supplies spread as far west as the Ohio River Valley, said Craig Fugate, the agency’s director.
2. EARLY WINTER STORM
Sandy is expected to merge with a wintry system from the west, at which point it will become the powerful superstorm that has forecasters and officials across the eastern U.S. Winds from that system will pull Sandy back toward the U.S. mainland.
3. ARCTIC AIR FROM THE NORTH
Frigid air coming south from Canada also is expected to collide with Sandy and the wintry storm from the west, creating a megastorm that is expected to park over the northeast for days. The brunt of the storm could hit areas farther inland. Officials are bracing for the worst: nearly a foot of rain, high winds and up to 2 feet of snow.
4. HIGH TIDES COULD WORSEN FLOODING
Further complicating matters is the possibility for dangerous storm surges: A full moon means the tides will be higher than usual, which will make it easier for the storm’s powerful winds to push water into low-lying areas. That, coupled with the threat of several inches of rain, has officials working to shore up flood defenses.
Storm surge could reach anywhere from 2 to 11 feet along the northeastern coast, forecasters say. Inland river flooding also is a serious concern.
5. COMBO OF SNOW, WIND INCREASES RISK FOR WIDESPREAD POWER OUTAGES
Storms in recent years have left hundreds of thousands of people in the eastern U.S. without power, sometimes for days at a time. Utilities have been bringing in extra crews and lining up tree trimmers so they’re prepared, and with good reason. The superstorm brings two possibilities for knocking out electricity. For one, hurricane-force winds of at least 74 mph could send tree branches into power lines, or even topple entire trees and power poles. Those left standing could succumb to snow, which could weigh down still-leafy branches enough to also topple trees.
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CUMBERLAND — On Friday, officers with the Cumberland Police Department responded to the 400 block of Goethe Street in reference to a motor vehicle theft. When they arrived, officers spoke to the vicitim, who told them that someoine had taken a 2004 Suzuki RMZ 250 motorcycle, yellow in color, from a shed in the rear of the residence. The victim said the theft occurred sometime in the past week. There are no suspects at this time. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cumberland Police Dept at 301-777-1600.
Flintstone electrical fire leaves couple homeless
FLINTSTONE — An electrical failure of a wall outlet was cited as the cause of Thursday’s fire that destroyed a residence at 21927 National Pike and left two people homeless, according to the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Ridgeley man charged with assaulting police
CUMBERLAND — A Ridgeley man was arrested Thursday night after be became unruly in a downtown business, Cumberland Police said.
Classes briefly disrupted at Mount Savage School
MOUNT SAVAGE — Students of Mount Savage School were evacuated to the school’s nearby ballfield Friday when a natural gas leak occurred in the school’s science hall, according to the Allegany County 911 center.
Rocky Gap revenue up for February
A week before the parent company of Rocky Gap Casino Resort releases earning results for 2013, state regulators say the resort continues to rake in revenue from slots and table games.
Off-duty firefighter aids in department’s quick response
An alert, off-duty city firefighter was credited Thursday for aiding the Cumberland Fire Department in its quick response to a reported structure fire in the North End of the city.
Amber Alert for missing Md. girl extended to West Virginia
Police searched Thursday for an 11-year-old girl who was reported missing after her mother was found slain in their home in Dundalk.
House fire across from Flintstone school
FLINTSTONE — Flintstone Volunteer Fire Department and allied volunteer fire companies were alerted to a reported house fire in the 21900 block of National Pike just after 3 p.m. Thursday.
Off-duty firefighter notices 'smoking house'
CUMBERLAND — An alert, off-duty city firefighter was credited Thursday for aiding the Cumberland Fire Department in its quick response to a reported structure fire in the North End of the city.
County scholarships to FSU available
FROSTBURG — The deadline for students to apply for an Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship at Frostburg State University has been extended to April 1.
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