According to the National Weather Service 5 a.m. ET Sunday forecast, the storm will make landfall on the East Coast overnight Monday. (Source: NWS)
Streets in Carolina Beach, NC, already saw flooding attributed to Hurricane Sandy on Saturday. (Source: WECT)
Tropical storm force wind speed probabilities from 8 p.m. ET Saturday to 8 p.m. Thursday. (Source: NWS)
Hurricane Sandy caused severe flooding in the Dominican Republic and other parts of the Caribbean. At least 43 people are dead as a result of the storm. (Source: Misael Rincon/CNN iReport)
Satellite image of Sandy along the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. (Source: NOAA/CNN)
(RNN) –Residents across the Eastern Seaboard are literally battening down the hatches in preparation for Hurricane Sandy and a possible "superstorm."
"I've ridden out a couple of storms in the boat before; [Sandy] is just too big to safely stay on," said Dave Ullrich of Galesville, MD.
Ullrich and his wife live on a 63-foot motorboat docked in the community near Annapolis. He said they both plan to abandon ship late Sunday or early Monday.
They are prepared to take only the irreplaceable items – birth certificates, titles, etcetera – head to safety at a friend's house and hope for the best.
"It's strapped down, fully insured," Ullrich said. "I've done everything I can for it."
Sandy regained wind speeds of 75 mph around 8 a.m. ET Saturday, moving it back to hurricane status as it continued on its track toward the East Coast.
The National Weather Service five-day forecast for the storm placed landfall somewhere between the Virginia and Connecticut coastlines late Monday or early Tuesday. But WECT reported Saturday areas like Carolina Beach, NC, have already experienced flooding from rains on the edge of the massive system.
Sandy has been moving northeast at about 10 to 15 mph from its position in the Atlantic, east of Florida. It is predicted to move parallel to the southeast coast through the weekend, according to the NWS.
An increase in speed is expected Sunday, and a turn to the north is expected by Sunday night. CNN Weather estimated wind damage, not including flooding, from Sandy could reach $3.2 billion.
If the storm surge coincides with high tides caused by a full moon, flooding could be even more severe, the NWS stated. Ocean City, MD, to the Connecticut-Rhode Island border could see 4 to 8 feet of water, and so could the Long Island Sound, Raritan Bay and Delaware Bay.
North Carolina estimates ranged form 1 to 5 feet, and Florida north of Cape Canaveral could get up to 2 feet.
Hurricane force winds have extended outward as far as 105 miles from the storm's eye. The NWS reported wind gusts as high as 76 mph were recorded east of Cape Canaveral, FL.
At least portions of five states – Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Virginia – and Washington declared states of emergency on Friday. FEMA released information on its website letting people in the targeted areas know they should prepare for the worst.
"It's clear the impacts of the storm will be felt across a wide area," FEMA spokesman Lars Anderson stated. "These impacts could include heavy rains and snowfall, flooding, high winds, storm surge and power outages … forecasters are calling for significant rainfall, which may result in flooding in some areas. We recommend you check the items in your family emergency kit and make sure you have supplies that can sustain you and your family for at least 72 hours."
Its combination with a pair of winter storms could intensify Sandy as it hits land, creating conditions similar to the 1991 "Perfect Storm" that hit the northeast. Some weather forecasters called the potentially devastating mix of the hurricane and weather coming from the Midwest a "Frankenstorm."
In Richmond, VA, Amy Evans has prepared herself to be unprepared. The nurse said she has been avoiding the stores as others try to get their hands on whatever non-perishables they can.
"I just know that it's going to be a madhouse," Evans said. "Putting gas in my car was a coincidence. I had just been to the store, so I'm just trying not to eat stuff that I know will hold. As soon as people started talking about this, everyone was, ‘I have to go to the store, I have to go the store!' I just know it's going to be crazy."
She said the hospital she works at has a disaster plan, and she expects to be there most of the time as Sandy strikes the area. Her biggest concern is whether the power goes out, and how long it will be out for, although she tried to put a silver lining on things.
"My sister has a generator, so I'll move a lot of stuff over to her house, and I go there to charge up my stuff," Evans said. "If nothing else, it's quality family time, and my parents live [in Richmond] too. So whomever has power, we go to who has power, we hang out where the generators are. We've gotten good at this.
"Hopefully, we won't lose power. But we probably will."
At 11 p.m. ET, the NWS announced tropical storm warnings were still in effect from South Santee River, SC, to Duck, NC, as well as Pamlico and Albemarle Sound in North Carolina.
Tropical storm warnings for Florida were canceled and the tropical storm watch for the South Carolina coastline has been discontinued.
Storm and high wind watches also have been placed on areas north of the tropical storm warning areas.
Hurricane Sandy already lashed the central Bahamas with violent winds and torrential rains after raging through the Caribbean, where it caused at least 43 deaths.
Both private and federal meteorologists called it a storm that would likely go down in the history books.
"We don't have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting," NOAA forecaster Jim Cisco told the Associated Press.
Sandy is the 18th named tropical storm or hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, and Tropical Storm Tony, spinning harmlessly in the Atlantic, makes 19. An average season sees about 12 named storms and hurricanes.
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
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