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Last Model Holdout Jumps On Board; Sandy's Threat Increasing

By Kate Bilo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The latest edition of the GFS model has just rolled out, and it has finally jumped on board with most of the others, discarding the idea of a new coastal low and bringing Sandy in towards Long Island as a tropical storm or hurricane by Tuesday.

The threat of major coastal problems has increased with the addition of this large and reliable model hopping on the bandwagon. If you have interests down the shore, it's time to start preparing for major flood problems and potential wind damage. If you're in a flood-prone area, especially near a smaller stream or creek, prepare for flooding.

We may need to be prepared for widespread power outages even farther inland thanks to the deluge of wind and rain that Sandy will produce.

The models continue to stick to their own ideas, but the general consensus is that this storm in some form or another will make landfall between our area and coastal New England early next week. The morning model runs are split on whether Sandy retains tropical characteristics or transfers energy to a coastal low, but the outcome is largely the same for us: wind, rain, and coastal problems.

Put it this way - the GFS model is the closest thing to a "miss" for our area at the current time (storm transfers energy to coastal low late in the game, retrogrades into Maine, spins back moisture to us Tues-Weds). Even with this solution, the GFS is still printing out over SEVEN INCHES of rainfall for our area in the Mon-Weds timeframe. And this is far from a worst-case scenario.

Granted, it may not even be that bad. This may come down to more of a nowcasting type event where we closely monitor the progress of Sandy through the Bahamas and the progress of the sharp, deepening trough across the Northern Plains toward the weekend, and the point at which the capture and phase happens may be tough to accurately predict more than a couple days out at most.

I think the current takeaway for our area is this: we will feel some impact from Sandy in the Sunday-Wednesday timeframe. It may not be that severe. However, the POTENTIAL still exists for this storm to be quite severe and damaging for our area, a large and highly-populated area, and the fact that one of our most accurate and reliable models hasn't shifted away from the epic storm scenario for days cannot be overlooked. So no need to freak out about the storm just yet, but it's time to start thinking and preparing, especially if you live along the coast or a flood-prone area.

Some shore towns have already begun the process of boarding up in anticipation of Sandy's arrival as evident by this photo taken in Stone Harbor, New Jersey.

Already boarding up in Stone Harbor. (credit: Zeke Orzech)

We will continue to bring you updates as the information comes through, and you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest up-to-date information. I have been posting constant updates on Twitter - follow @katebilo and I'll try to answer all your questions!

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