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.
Extra 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 five and eight inches of rain to the affected area, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction Director Dr. Louis Uccellini. 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."
The larger the body of the hurricane, the heavier the damage.
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," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "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.