UPDATE: Hurricane Sandy on track to hit tri-state area

While Hurricane Sandy’s winds have decreased and the storm has become less organized after passing over the western Bahamas, forecasters expect it to reorganize and strengthen as it barrels toward the East Coast.

Tropical storm warnings were issued Friday for the Carolinas and are expected to be extended northward as the current path of the storm, now with 80 mph winds, has Sandy making landfall anywhere from North Carolina to New Haven.

The National Weather Center Friday afternoon still had the center of Sandy’s path as Delaware Bay, which is on the border of Delaware and New Jersey. The National Hurricane Center’s models continue to show Sandy’s predicted path moving south and west of the Nutmeg State.

But what could be bad news for Connecticut is that the hurricane’s big thunderstorms are in the northern part of the storm. So if the storm’s center hits south of here, it could mean the worst of the hurricane — which is 1,500 miles wide — could wreak havoc on southwest Connecticut.

Some forecasts say that Connecticut could now get up to 9 inches of rain when the storm hits.

Winds could start picking up in Connecticut between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning and continue to increase for the next 24 to 36 hours.

All this could be combined with the wintry storm moving this way from the West and an arctic system moving south from Canada.

In New Canaan, the town’s Emergency Operations Center has been set up and sits empty until it is activated, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi told the Advertiser Friday afternoon.

He met with other town officials Friday morning and said the town is prepared for whatever happens.

“We’re going to keep talking over the course of the weekend,” Mallozzi said. “A lot was done yesterday. CL&P has been in touch with us. We are confident with the lines of communication. We are prepared to take this storm on.”

New Canaan residents are also encouraged to set up a profile with SmartPrepare, a way for residents and commuters to get specific emergency management and public health officials for disaster planning and response activities. You can set up your profile at SmartPrepare.com <http://smartprepare.com/> .

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