- (Photo: Reuters/NOAA/NASA/GOES/Handout)
Residents along the East Coast of the U.S. who are in the predicted path of Hurricane Sandy have been marveling at the possibility of encountering what meteorologists and the media are calling the "perfect storm", "Frankenstorm" and a "snor'eastercane", due to the unusual combination of snow, flooding and high winds the storm is predicted to bring.
Hurricane Sandy, which has been barreling its way through the Caribbean at top speeds Thursday, was expected to soon impact the East Coast, eventually coming alongside Florida on Friday and reaching as far north as Massachusetts by next Tuesday, according to CNN.
The hurricane is said to bring by that time a combination of "steady gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and possibly snow," the Guardian reported in an article titled "Hurricane Sandy barrels towards the US – will it really be the end of days?"
NBC New York, in reporting on local government preparations for the severe weather, notes that some NYC residents had to evacuate their homes in certain low-lying regions when Hurricane Irene moved along the coast in August 2011.
The publication reported that Mayor Michael Bloomberg already has city agencies preparing for potential evacuations, and that the city's emergency management situation room had been activated. NBC New York noted that Bloomberg cautioned against panic.
Upstate New Yorker Dom Garbellano had few words after reading a report on the storm, tweeting, "We are screwed."
Yuzzy Acosta tweeted in response to a report from New York Magazine, "A giant storm is going to destroy New York next week and everyone needs to start freaking out immediately!!!"
Another East Coast resident thought it might be a good time to move.
"Oh hey, we're about to get the Perfect Storm. Mass exodus to middle America, anyone?" tweeted Myriam Schroeter.
Residents were not the only ones fretting Thursday.
The Weather Channel reported that the combination models of the hurricane-winter storm mix "are spooking meteorologists."
Even BBC meteorologist Derek Brockway was stunned, as he tweeted Thursday, "Crikey! Latest GFS output has hurricane #Sandy right over Long Island and New York next Tuesday night/Wednesday!"
The severe weather Hurricane Sandy is expected to bring along the East Coast also has been drawing comparisons to the 1991 "Perfect Storm" that caused millions in damage after it hit along New England's coast.
Meteorologist Jim Cisco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told The Weather Channel that the 1991 storm "didn't hit as populated an area and is not comparable to what the East Coast may be facing. Nor is it like last year's Halloween storm, which was merely an early snowstorm in the Northeast."
"The Perfect Storm only did $200 million of damage and I'm thinking a billion," Dr. Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the Weather Underground, told The Weather Channel. "Yeah, it will be worse."
Although meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center predict weather patterns five days in advance, experts have expressed confidence that the threat will continue to increase, with New York and New Jersey expecting to feel the greatest impact.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney informed media representatives that President Obama has been briefed on the threat and that FEMA has been reaching out to local and state officials, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News.
Meanwhile, FEMA has been pointing the public to the Ready.gov website, which offers checklists and guidelines for preparing for a hurricane.
NASA has also been providing live tracking of the storm online.
As of 2 p.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said in a public advisory that Sandy was located about 25 miles east of Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas and had maximum sustained winds of 105 MPH.
So far, it has been reported that the Caribbean islands of Jamaica and Cuba have been hardest hit by the storm, with at least three deaths reported.