A rare, powerful collision of hurricane and cold front could slam the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region of the US early next week, bringing with it gale-force winds, flooding, and possibly snow, said forecasters on Thursday.
"It could be a Nor'easter on steroids," National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Robert Thompson told NBC News.
Hurricane Sandy hit Cuba early on Thursday with winds of 110 mph (177 kmh), causing power outages and damaging homes.
Moving through the Bahamas by noon, it was a “stronger than expected” category two storm and was expected to be off the eastern US Carolina Coast by early Monday.
"We're talking about a confluence of events," said CBS4 meteorologist David Bernard in Miami. "That's a lot of warm air, a lot of heat, a lot of energy and of course we're deep into fall now and we have an unusual strong jet stream dip with winter-like cold air.”
The result could be heavy inland snows and perhaps significant power outages.
“It's kind of the worst of everything coming together, winter and what the tropical season has to offer,” Bernard said.
The timing of the one-two punch invited comparisons to the “Perfect Storm” tragedy which claimed the lives of six New England fishermen on October 30, 1991. Only this storm could be even more damaging, some said.
"The 'Perfect Storm' only did $200 million of damage and I'm thinking a billion," Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private service Weather Underground told MSNBC, as he described what could happen next week.
"It'll be a rough couple days from Hatteras up to Cape Cod," said forecaster Jim Cisco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prediction center in an Associated Press report. "We don't have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting."