With airlines bracing for chaos and state officials declaring states of emergency, Hurricane Sandy is looking ominous. The AP runs down five reasons why:
- Sandy is a massive system that will affect a huge swath of the eastern US, regardless of exactly where it hits or its precise wind speed. For example, tropical storm-force winds can be felt 450 miles away from the storm's center.
- 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 from North Carolina to New England on edge. Winds from that system will pull Sandy back toward the US mainland.
- 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.
- 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.
- The superstorm brings two possibilities for knocking out electricity: Hurricane-force winds of at least 74 mph could send trees or tree branches into power lines. Those left standing could succumb to snow, which could weigh down still-leafy branches enough to also topple trees.
Follow the storm's path here