Planet Princeton

Princeton Hurricane Sandy Update (Saturday at 4:15 p.m.)

You still have time to prepare for Hurricane Sandy. Check out the pre-storm action recommendations from the National Weather Service. Princeton officials are urging residents to clear storm drains of leaves and debris, and not pile leaves in streets, as the leaves could clog storm drains. Public works crews are trying to pick up leaves, especially in low-lying areas, but they will not be able to pick up all the leaves out there before the storm hits Sunday.

Check back later for more information about emergency service contacts during the storm and event cancellations. You can also read our previous story about preparation in the two Princetons. It includes several information links.

The National Weather Services reports that the path of the storm has moved slightly north and east from its previous track.

High wind watches, flood watches, and coastal flood watches have been posted for our area. Confidence continues to increase that our region will see very severe impacts from this storm. A hurricane or strong tropical storm will affect the mid-Atlantic region later Sunday into early next week. Sandy will bring multiple dangers to our area including:

• Strong, damaging, sustained winds of 35 to 45 mph over a prolonged period of time (24 to 48 hours), with gusts up to near hurricane strength. Strongest winds are expected south and east of the I-95 corridor.

• Extremely heavy rainfall, major flooding along streams and rivers, and major coastal flooding. The core of heaviest rain, four to eight inches, is expected south and east of the I-95 corridor, with the period of heaviest rain expected on Monday.

• The eventual track of this storm will determine which areas get hit the worst from this event. Information contained in this briefing package is based on the most recent forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

• Sandy is currently a Category I hurricane. Sandy is expected to remain at or near hurricane strength for the next several days. Its forecast track poses a direct threat to our region.

• It is forecast to still have sustained winds of 70 mph with higher gusts as it approaches our region. This is a very dangerous scenario. Remember that the forecast maps are guidance, not gospel. The storm center forecast track is still subject to minor changes, which would change these forecast scenarios, some for the better, some for the worse. The takeaway message is that our region is currently in the path of a very dangerous storm. Even if the eventual path changes, we will still feel dire effects from this storm.

•  The storm will be slow moving. This worsens the impact for tidal flooding along the ocean front, back bays, and Delaware Bay as water builds up over multiple high tide cycles. The slow moving storm also worsens the potential for heavy rainfall inland and increases the risk of major river flooding. Coastal areas and the Delaware Bay, could see major flooding. Record flooding is possible in northern New Jersey.

Check back at www.PlanetPrinceton.com for storm updates. You can also follow our real-time posts during Hurricane Sandy on our Facebook page and our Twitter page  (handy way to follow when the power goes out and all you have is a smart phone). We are coordinating with local police departments and emergency services to bring you the information you need in the storm. If you have questions, photos, information or ideas for story coverage, send is an email at editor@planetprinceton.com.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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