Long Islanders could get slammed by some severe weather by early next week.
After issuing a hazardous weather outlook earlier on Wednesday for the Atlantic coastal waters that could affect the East End early next week, the National Weather Service has now said that a major coastal storm could be coming that has the potential to affect the entire Long Island region.
Earlier on Wednesday, officials believed the storm could possibly just head out to sea and leave Long Island unscathed. But the forecast has changed -- and heavy winds and rain, flooding, coastal erosion, and downed power lines are possible.
"It does look like Long Island will have some impacts from this system," Peter Wichrowski, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Upton, said Wednesday evening. "As for the exact details and how it all evolves, it's still a big question mark."
The storm could hit Long Island sometime by Monday or Tuesday, NWS representatives say.
Heavy rains and flooding that could cause beach erosion could impact the area over the weekend and through Tuesday, according to David Stark, meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Upton.
Currently, Hurricane Sandy is impacting Jamaica, Wichrowski said. "The official track has it moving northward across the Bahamas, and then, eventually, it looks like it begins to turn toward the northeast out over the western Atlantic. At that point, the official forecast does bring it back towards Long Island."
The storm will run "well to the east of the mid-Atlantic, North Carolina area" over the weekend, Wichrowski said. By Monday or Tuesday, it is expected to make a turn toward Long Island, or just east of the area.
"As of right now, it looks very close to Montauk," Wichrowski said.
But, he added, there are "a lot of different solutions and scenarios" that could evolve. "This is a complex storm, and we're talking a good five or six days away. At this point, I would say there is definitely the potential for a significant storm approaching Long Island or New England."
The storm, he added, would mean strong winds of between 30 to 50 miles per hour or higher, heavy rainfall, and downed trees and power lines.
Earlier on Wednesday, Stark said whether or not the Long Island area would be affected would ultimately depend on the eventual track and evolution of Sandy as it interacts with a deepening upper level low pressure system approaching the East Coast; experts at first said that the storm could just move out to sea and have little impact on the area weather.