Bad news for Connecticut as Sandy shifts course

Hurricane Sandy's predicted path was shifted south late Saturday morning — but Connecticut is still in its sights.

The storm on Saturday continued to move away from the Bahamas and Florida and bring tropical-storm-force winds are already near the coast of North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center. While the storm may officially hit land south of Connecticut, the northern part of the hurricane, which is typically the most destructive part of a hurricane or tropical storm, is set up now to hit southwest Connecticut.

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A coastal flood watch will go into effect in the region on Sunday evening through late Monday — but expect that to be extended as Sandy nears.

"The tri-state area will likely feel the impacts of a dangerous coastal storm Sunday evening through the middle of the next week," stated a National Weather Service  hazardous weather outlook issued Saturday morning. "This includes the likelihood for heavy rainfall and result in significant urban, small stream and river flooding, high winds causing widespread downing of trees and powerlines, and significant shoreline impacts from coastal flooding and beach erosion."

How badly this area is affected still remains to be seen and depends on how Sandy interacts with a low-pressure system approaching the East Coast — which is expected to form what forecasters have dubbed "Frankenstorm."

Along the Connecticut coasts, flooding could be particularly bad as the storm's timing will coincide with a full moon. "Persistent strong easterly flow will pile water on top of already higher astronomical high tides due to the full moon, resulting in possible continuing flood stages between high tide cycles," according to the weather service. "The most prone for widespread moderate flooding will be the western Long Island Sound shorelines."

Sandy, which Saturday morning was moving at 10 mph is expected to slow to 9 mph and move at a general northeastward motion then increase speed by Sunday night.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, the hurricane was sustaining 75 mph winds with higher gusts, according to the hurricane center. Those hurricane-force-winds extend 105 miles from the center of the storm. Tropical force winds extend 450 miles.

In New Jeresy, Gov. Chris Christie declared a weather state of emergency for his state. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is holding a conference call with Connecticut town leaders at 1 p.m. Saturday and plans to address the media at 2.