'As many as 23 million Canadians stand to be affected'
By QMI Agency
The northeastern U.S. will feel the brunt of Hurricane Sandy as it churns north this weekend, but huge chunks of Canada are expected to take a hit as well.
"As many as 23 million Canadians stand to be affected by this storm," said meteorologist Mark Robinson at the The Weather Network. "That's 70% of the country.
Tropical cyclone Sandy revved back up to hurricane strength on Saturday as it churned toward the U.S. northeast coast where it threatens to become one of the worst storms in decades.
The late-season storm has been dubbed "Frankenstorm" by some weather watchers because it will combine elements of a tropical cyclone and a winter storm and is expected to reach the U.S. coast close to Halloween.
On Saturday , Environment Canada said southern and eastern Ontario and western Quebec will be hit by the heaviest rainfall, possibly reaching between 50 to 100 mm by Tuesday.
The agency said heavy rain could also affect parts of the Maritimes and possibly turn into snow over parts of south-central Ontario and western Quebec as temperatures near the freezing mark north and west of the storm.
Normally, large hurricanes like Sandy hit Canada's east coast the hardest, clipping the Maritimes and Newfoundland.
But meteorologists say a high-pressure system over the Maritimes will likely block Sandy's advance and push it into the mid-Atlantic states on late Monday or Tuesday.
"One of the reasons Sandy is making news is because it could be hitting some of the most heavily populated areas in Canada and the U.S.," said Robinson.
Hurricane Sandy is seen churning towards the east coast of the United States is this NOAA handout satellite image taken on October 27, 2012.
South of the border, the storm threatens torrential rains, high winds, major flooding and power outages a week before U.S. presidential and congressional elections.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney cancelled a rally scheduled for Sunday evening in Virginia Beach, Virginia, while Barack Obama's re-election campaign announced that Vice-President Joe Biden had also cancelled a Saturday trip to that city.
"Sandy has the potential to bring significant storm surge into major cities, like Manhattan. In a worst case scenario, New York City could be inundated with up to three metres of storm surge water. That would put some of the most valuable real estate on the planet under water."
Environment Canada said powerful winds will also affect central and western Quebec and gusty winds can also be expected in the Maritimes.
On its current projected track, Sandy could make U.S. landfall on Monday night or Tuesday somewhere between North Carolina and southern New England, forecasters said.
The storm has the potential to cause widespread power outages and to unleash flooding and even dump snow as far inland as Ohio. It also threatens to disrupt air travel along the U.S. east coast.
Sandy has been blamed for 41 deaths in several Caribbean countries, including 11 in Cuba. Most were killed by falling trees and building collapses.
'Frankenstorm' Sandy could hit 70% of Canada - Canada - Canoe.ca