Hurricane Sandy is one huge storm. As it lashes the western Bahamas, its tropical storm force winds extend 200+ miles from the storm’s center and the overall circulation is about 2,000 miles across.

Meanwhile, a number of afternoon model forecasts shifted Hurricane Sandy’s track south and suggest the risk of direct strike on the Mid-Atlantic is increasing.

Although the operational run of the GFS model’s afternoon run brings the storm ashore near New York City, many of its ensemble members (same model run with slightly different inputs) cluster landfall on the Delmarva and southern New Jersey shore (graphic).

The afternoon run of the GFDL model and its ensembles (graphic) target landfall just north of Norfolk, Va. This is pretty consistent with the morning run of the European model (ECMWF) which simulated landfall on the southern Delmarva, just south of Chincoteague.

Any of these landfall scenarios - from central New Jersey to Norfolk - would be very bad for this section of coastline and inland areas from Richmond to Philadelphia (and even further west), including the greater Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas. It’s pretty much the worst case scenario with the potential for historic coastal flooding, copious amounts of rain, and damaging winds. However, there is still time for shifts in the track and landfall could occur farther up the coast.

We will have much more tomorrow. Please begin thinking about storm preparations. Conditions could begin deteriorating Sunday, with the worst coming Sunday night through Tuesday in a possible prolonged spell of hazardous weather.