Canadians in the Maritimes, southern Quebec and southern Ontario should keep an eye on hurricane Sandy, a storm so big it has been dubbed Frankenstorm, officials with the Canadian Hurricane Centre warned Friday.
Sandy has already claimed the lives of at least 31 people in the Caribbean as it continues to slowly make its way northward to the U.S., where it is expected to make landfall on the mid-Atlantic coast early next week.
Bob Robichaud, program manager with the Canadian Hurricane Centre, said Sandy is "a much publicized storm that's getting a lot of attention, and deservedly so." "People need to pay very close attention to this storm ... to see what might come out of it as we start the week," Robichaud said in a technical briefing for media Friday.
"Everyone in the Maritimes, certainly everyone in southern Quebec, and eastern and southern Ontario should be monitoring this storm very closely," he said. "I know it's a large area, but it just speaks to the size of the storm."
The projected path of Sandy, which may remain a hurricane or be downgraded to a tropical storm as it moves north, depends on how it interacts with other weather features: a tropical pressure system currently over the U.S. midwest and a high pressure system over the Maritimes, Robichaud said.
As of Friday mid-day, the storm was expected to make landfall over the U.S. mid-Atlantic states of New York and New Jersey around Monday evening, accompanied by very heavy rainfall there and some storm surge, Robichaud said.
Given how close to the coastline the centre of the storm is forecast to be, the effects of Sandy are likely to be felt north of the border, with strong winds in western Nova Scotia, southern Quebec and southern Ontario expected to increase over the course of Monday, with the strongest winds expected to hit overnight Monday and into Tuesday, Robichaud said.
It is too soon to say how fast the winds will be or how much precipitation is expected, Robichaud said, given that much can change over the weekend.
Sandy has already drawn comparisons with the 1991 Perfect Storm, which pounded the U.S. East Coast, claiming nine lives and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, and also hit around the end of October.
"That storm was particularly large," Robichaud said of the 1991 storm, "and this one is certainly on par with that storm. The only problem is this storm is going to affect more people on land than that one did."
Sandy is expected to cause blustery conditions for trick-or-treaters in much of the Maritimes next Wednesday, Robichaud said,