As Hurricane Sandy travels toward the East Coast, New Jersey residents should brace for a slow deterioration of the weather well before landfall early next week, according to officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Additional damage from Sandy is expected, because the hurricane is expected to lose speed by the time it makes landfall. This will extend the period of heavy wind and rainfall, according to NOAA's National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb.
Sandy is expected to bring between 5 and 8 inches of rain to the affected area, NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction Director Dr. Louis Uccellini said. Between 50 and 60 million people will be impacted by Sandy well into next week.
"It's difficult to pinpoint who is going to get the worst of the surge," Knabb said on Saturday. But, Knabb added, "there is no avoiding a significant storm surge event."
Uccellini said there's a "very, very significant potential for inland flooding," adding that Sandy is not just a threat to the coastal regions.
Knabb encouraged people to prepare for Sandy this weekend, because once the hurricane hits it will be a "long-duration event, well into next week."
Besides flooding, FEMA officials expressed their concern for the possibility of wide spread power outages.
"Based on the windspeed we don’t expect substantial structural damages," FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. "Our primary concern is wide spread power outages due to trees coming down."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared New Jersey in a state of emergency on Saturday morning and called for evacuations of the coastal region.