Hurricane Sandy pounded Jamaica with heavy rain as it made landfall Wednesday and headed to Cuba, and may later travel to our area, bringing with it the possibility of flooding and high winds.
The 18th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season made landfall in the vicinity of Kingston Wednesday afternoon and then was forecast to spin on into eastern Cuba overnight.
Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said tropical storm conditions were possible along the southeast Florida coast, the Upper Keys and Florida Bay by Friday morning. A tropical storm watch also may be required for parts of east-central Florida later Wednesday morning, the center said.
By Monday, the storm should arrive off the coast of North Carolina -- and at that point, various models show different tracks for the storm and what it means for the tri-state area.
Early models show two situations for Sandy as it makes its way to the tri-state, most likely by late Monday and Tuesday of next week.
If Hurricane Sandy continues to move northward, it could hook left back into the coastline, somewhere in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic and merge with a non-tropical system. The storm could morph into a major Nor'easter, which could include severe coastal flooding and strong winds and cause major damage and widespread power outages.
But there is also a possibility the storm could move out to sea, and our area would see bands of rainfall from a system that spins off of Sandy. It could cause some wind and rain later next week, but the damage would not be that severe.
Heavy rain is expected on Monday and Tuesday, but the level of severity is still unknown.