New Castle News

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October 26, 2012

East Coast prepares for wrath of Sandy

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

"This is a dangerous storm on many levels. Trees could be damaged by heavy rains and high winds, making them susceptible to falling," said Melinda B. Peters, head of the Maryland State Highway Administration. "During the storm, travel conditions will be hazardous, and motorists should expect that there could be delays and detours for days after as crews clean up."

Hurricanes are nature's brawny beasts, accustomed to having their way with whatever they encounter. Sandy has all the size and power of a major hurricane, but it's about to run headlong into a trap set by two rivals that may keep its wrath focused on the Washington region for 48 hours. The meteorological trap has been set by the jet stream, which is snaking south from Canada to hem in Sandy from the west, and a strong nor'easter standing in the way of the normal track that delivers hurricanes to a relatively harmless death in the North Atlantic.

Pepco, whose performance in responding to power outages has been criticized after recent storms, warned that hundreds of thousands of its customers may lose power it the storm lives up to expectations. "We're hearing forecasts that we could see heavy sustained winds for up to 48 hours as this storm makes an agonizingly slow track across our overall system," said Thomas H. Graham, the utility's regional president. "If winds are too high, we will not be able to start restoration work until they die down, so it could be as long as even a day or two before our crews could safely start working to restore power."

A slow-moving hurricane will provide more sustained rainfall, resulting in more flooding. Several counties sent crews out on Friday to vacuum storm drains.

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