via NOAA

Yesterday the storm scaremongering began, with word that some sort of freak of nature hybrid was headed straight for us. So let's check in on this monster. Last night Hurricane Sandy was weakened to a category 1 before hitting the Bahamas early this morning, but that doesn't mean it's not going to pack a punch once it arrives in New York. Meteorologists are predicting this could be "the most widespread, damaging system of the last two decades," NBC reports, adding that so far "the storm has left a total of 29 dead in its path across the Caribbean."

Meanwhile, over at Weather Underground, Bryan Norcross is trying to make sense of this thing:

"This is a beyond-strange situation. It's unprecedented and bizarre. The strong evidence we have that a significant, maybe historic, storm is going to hit the east coast is that EVERY reliable computer forecast model now says it's going to happen... there IS going to be an extraordinarily unusual confluence of events that results in a massive storm... upper level wind, instead of weakening the storm and simply absorbing the moisture... is merging with the tropical system to create a monstrous hybrid vortex. A combination of a hurricane and a nor'easter."

Norcross says that "Right now, it looks like the storm center will land between the Delmarva and New Jersey, which would put the entire Tri-State area of NJ, NY, and Connecticut on the bad side of the storm. The Jersey Shore, Long Island, and New York City itself would be exposed to the brunt of the storm surge." He expects coastal flooding, high water levels for extended periods of time, power outages, and of course mass transit problems—this is probably a good time to stock up on booze, candles, and plan a Full Moon Blackout Party.

The city is taking the threat of the Frankenstorm very seriously, and Mayor Bloomberg will be speaking about it today at 3 p.m., which will be streamed on