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Hurricane Sandy Heads North as East Coast Readies for ‘Perfect Storm’

National Hurricane Center/NOAA(NEW YORK) -- Residents in the Northeast, specifically in New York City and northward, are quickly coming to terms with the realization that the biggest monster they face for Halloween next week may be a creation of Mother Nature.

Forecasters are now saying that there is a 90 percent chance that on Monday the East Coast will take a direct hit from a "perfect storm" of three different systems -- Hurricane Sandy, an arctic front and a jet stream.

"It won't be just the intensity of the storm but the enormous area that it could affect," said Dr. Louis Uccellini, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Prediction Center.  "From the mid-Atlantic to New England, it will park itself over parts of the East Coast for days."

Sandy, currently a category 1 storm, will cross the Bahamas on Friday as its western fringe scrapes eastern Florida, according to the National Weather Service.  The storm is expected to slow down and turn northwest overnight and during the day

Florida is expected to see stormy conditions on Friday, with 1-4 inches of rain in some areas.  Waves up to 15 feet along the coast are expected, as is a storm surge of 1-2 feet.

Warnings are in effect along Florida's east coast from Ocean Reef to Flagler Beach.  Storm watches are in effect from Flagler to Fernandina Beach and from the Savannah River north to Oregon Inlet, N.C., including Pamlico Sound.

By Saturday afternoon, Sandy is expected to increase its forward speed and become a hybrid storm, pushing a lot of rain into the Carolinas and southern Mid-Atlantic region, with some areas getting more than a half a foot of rain through Sunday.

Sandy's landfall is predicted to be somewhere in southern New Jersey on Tuesday around 8 a.m.

"I think it's fair to say we don't know when or if or where the storm's going to hit," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference Thursday.  "The forecasters say it could be dangerous, but I think a word that they've been using most is it's unpredictable."

The entire system will weaken by the end of next week as is sits over the Northeast, but strong winds and rain will remain across the region through next Friday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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