Forecasters say a big storm that is an unusual mix of a hurricane and a winter storm is headed our way with the worst of it possibly focused around New York City and New Jersey.

Forecasters on Thursday said there's a 90 percent chance that the East will get steady gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and maybe snow starting Sunday and stretching past Wednesday.

The hurricane part of the storm is likely to come ashore somewhere in New Jersey on Tuesday morning.

NOAA forecaster Jim Cisco said the storm is so massive that the effects will be felt along the entire coast from Florida to Maine and inland to Ohio.

There's the potential for heavy rain, strong winds, rough seas, beach erosion and coastal flooding beginning Sunday and into early next week.

However, forecasters say the impact will depend on how Sandy interacts with a deepening upper level low pressure system that's approaching the coast.
Jersey Central Power & Light, which was criticized for itsresponse to a major storm last year, says it has placed itemployees on alert to be prepared for extended shifts and is monitoring Sandy.


On its Facebook page, the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly warns that no matter the final track, New Jersey will be affected in some way. "This storm will not be a purely tropical system, so the wind field and heavy rain with this regardless of landfall is going to be expansive."

NWS Meteorologist Gary Szatkowski tells  the Star Ledger, "This is a very dangerous  Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean, an early winter storm in the West, and a blast of arctic air from the North are predicted to collide, sloshing and parking over the country's most populous coastal corridor starting Sunday. The worst of it should peak early Tuesday, but it will stretch into midweek.

Forecaster Jim Cisco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says "We don't have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting."

It is likely to hit during a full moon when tides are near their highest, increasing coastal flooding potential. Some meteorologists fear that with some trees still leafy and the potential for snow, power outages could last to Election Day. They say it has all the earmarks of a billion-dollar storm.

Some have compared it to the so-called Perfect Storm that struck off the coast of New England in 1991, but Cisco says that one didn't hit as populated an area and is not comparable to what the East Coast may be facing.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.