By Michael King
(WXIA) - Forecasters with the National Weather Service are describing what they call a "Frankenstorm" out of the convergence between Hurricane Sandy and a storm system moving out of the Great Lakes states.
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Forecasters said the storm should settle into the Northeastern states after a landfall anywhere between the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and Long Island early next week.
As of 2 p.m. Thursday, the center of Hurricane Sandy is located about 25 miles east of Great Exuma Island, and about 125 miles southeast of Eleuthera with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. Sandy is moving to the north at 20 mph with minimum central pressure of 963 millibars. This makes Hurricane Sandy a Category 2 storm.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for parts of the southeastern, central and northwestern Bahamas. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the east coast of Florida from Ocean Reef to Flagler Beach, Lake Okeechobee and the southeastern portion of the Bahamas. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the east coast of Florida from north of Flagler Beach to Fernandina Beach, the upper portion of the Florida Keys from Ocean Reef to Craig Key and Florida Bay.
National Hurricane Center forecasters said some weakening is expected during the next 48 hours, but they said Sandy is expected to remain a hurricane as it passes through the Bahamas.
Strong winds are expected to reach the east coast of Florida and spread northward through Friday. Strong winds and heavy rains are expected to have an effect on the Jacksonville area on Saturday, and may be an "extra player" in Saturday's Georgia-Florida game.