“It really could be an extremely significant, historic storm,” said Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami, explaining that conditions are similar to those that created the famous “perfect storm” of 1991.
The chain of events that would make Hurricane Sandy develop into a grave threat to the coast involves a storm system known as a midlatitude trough that is moving across the country from the west. If the systems meet up, as many computer models predict, the storm over land could draw the hurricane in.
“Now you’ve got this giant storm complex with a lot of energy,” said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesman for the National Hurricane Center.
New York was beginning to prepare for trouble. On Friday, the city ordered all construction work to be suspended beginning Saturday, and on Thursday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told reporters that the city had activated its coastal storm plan and had already opened its Office of Emergency Management situation room. He also said that important city agencies had been meeting regularly and that the storm was discussed at Thursday’s senior staff meeting, “just to make sure that everybody knows they should, you know, start getting out the plans, which we’ve worked on very hard.”