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Sandy may miss the race
Wind expected to be the biggest problem here
Sunday, October 28, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Today’s TUMS Fast Relief 500 NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway should be over before rain and high winds from Hurricane Sandy hit the area.
Wind likely will be the biggest problem in Henry County and Martinsville, according to the National Weather Service.
On Saturday afternoon, Sandy was centered off Florida’s coast and moving to the northeast. After weakening to a tropical storm, it became a hurricane again with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. Forecasters said they think the storm will make landfall early Tuesday near the Delaware coast.
However, Sandy was expected to combine with an upper-level low pressure system approaching from the west to form an intense storm bringing heavy rain and high wind to much of the East Coast — and even snow to some mountainous areas as far south as North Carolina.
Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency in Virginia. But the most severe effects of the storm are expected to occur north of the state, said Peter Corrigan, a hydrologist at the Blacksburg weather service office.
Southside “will be missing out on most of the rain,” Corrigan said, with no more than an inch expected to fall across the region.
There is a slight chance of rain locally today and Monday, but the best chance of rain across Southside is Tuesday, the forecast showed.
If the hurricane tracks farther south than expected, there could be more rain, Corrigan said.
Yet the wind “certainly will be strong into Wednesday or Thursday,” he said, with the highest wind expected Monday and Tuesday.
Sustained wind of 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph is expected, the weather service said. Winds of those speeds over a sustained period are enough to bring down trees and power lines, meteorologists noted.
Emergency officials advise area residents to secure outdoor furniture, decorations, trash cans and other items that could blow away.
In Virginia, the worst effects of the storm are expected across eastern portions of the state.
Arctic air moving down from Canada is expected to combine with the storm system and bring colder temperatures to the area throughout this week. High temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday will only reach the upper 40s, with overnight lows in the low- to mid-30s, the forecast showed.
High temperatures are expected to warm up into the 60s by next weekend, according to the forecast.