WASHINGTON (AP) — Another messy — and wintry — storm may cause post-Election Day problems for an already weather-weary East Coast, forecasters say.
But meteorologists add that it's six days out, so that's rather early to get too worried. The forecast could change before it hits late next week.
The National Weather Service's forecast center in College Park, Md., which watches winter storms, put out a long-range notice Thursday saying a nor'easter was possible for mid-Atlantic and New England states by Election Day through next Thursday.
Forecaster Bruce Sullivan said it wouldn't be as bad as Superstorm Sandy and isn't tropical. But it could include snow in interior New England and New York, beach erosion and high winds for areas hit by Sandy and moderate or heavier rainfall. Winds could be about 30 to 40 mph.
"I wouldn't get too alarmed yet," Sullivan said. "But it's something we're going to be watching over the next few days and fine-tuning. Anything that could hamper clean-up efforts is something that could be watched."
The same European computer model that first noticed and correctly called Superstorm Sandy a week in advance has forecast this potential nor'easter to come along the East Coast and then hit, Sullivan said. Another computer model also said the same thing, but then lessened that chance, he said.
Unlike Sandy, this doesn't have a tropical component. This would be a normal wet storm coming through land in the Southeast U.S. and going into the water, combining with cold air coming south from the Great Lakes and then curving back into the mid-Atlantic, Sullivan said.
The same high pressure system that blocked then-Hurricane Sandy from heading north and east out to sea like most tropical systems is likely to be part of the steering system that would take this storm inland to the same area Sandy struck, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director for the private service Weather Underground.
The fact that it's six days out means "there's room for optimism," Masters said, but he added: "From what I'm Iooking at, there's a concern."
The National Weather Service's hydrometeorological prediction center forecast: http://1.usa.gov/RJrxjM
Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears