According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), Sandy is a hurricane once again.
The storm had been downgraded to a tropical storm, but strengthened early Saturday. Winds are now again exceeding 75 mph, the threshold of a hurricane.
The NOAA has issued warnings and watches to the Southeastern parts of the country as of its 5 a.m. bulletin, and said those up the Eastern seaboard need to prepare for its impact. The storm is moving North-Northeast at 10 mph and an increase in intensity and speed possible tonight and Sunday, according to the NOAA.
The most recent forecast shows Rhode Island is now outside the cone of probable landfall, which is expected to be in the Virginia/Delaware area. But that doesn't mean Rhode Islanders should take the storm lightly. Tropical storm force winds are extending more than 450 miles from the storms center, meaning Rhode Island will still likely be hit with heavy rain and tropical storm-force gusts.
Boston meteorologist Pete Bouchard posted to his blog about a call he had with the director of the National Center for Environmental Prediction, Louis Uccellini, and James Franklin, branch chief of the National Hurricane Center Louis Uccellini, yesterday afternoon. He said they seem confident of two things: Sandy will make landfall and that landfall will happen Monday night.
Bouchard suggested people use this weekend to prepare because the downgrade to tropical storm will only be temporary. "As the jetstream hooks into Sandy on Monday, it will enfuse her with massive amounts of energy, resulting in a reintensification of the storm—to possibly a nor'easter of record, in fact."
Ironically, Bouchard said if Tropical Storm Sandy loops farther offshore than expected, the chances of it hitting us in New England are higher.
Bouchard said it's not a panic-inducing storm, but offered preparation tips: "scattered power outages, a long-duration storm (from Monday through Tuesday night), 2-5 inches of rain (possible river flooding as a result) and coastal flooding and beach erosion."
More than 40 people have died in the Caribbean as a result of this storm.