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Frankenstorm gathers steam, could inflict $1 billion in damage

October 26, 2012|By Joseph Serna

"Sandy Frankenstorm" could inflict $1 billion in damage on the Northeast, forecasters warn -- but $1 billion isn't what it used to be. 

The financial toll and effect on Americans from the tropical storm-cold depression combo that is expected to hit the Northeast  next week  could reach historical proportions, National Weather Service meteorologist Paul Kocin told the Los Angeles Times.

Forecasting the outcome of weather systems -- particularly in a circumstance like this with a cold front flowing south over the Great Lakes and a tropical storm snaking up the Eastern Seaboard, combined with rising tides from a full moon -- is an inexact science, Kocin said.

“With that said, the storm coming up has the potential to have about as large an impact as anything we’ve ever seen,” he said. “This one definitely has the potential for at least $1 billion" in damage.

The storm has been dubbed “Frankenstorm” because it is predicted to merge two dissimilar weather systems into a monster.

Kocin, a meteorologist for nearly 40 years who was previously a winter weather expert for the Weather Channel, classifies  Sandy Frankenstorm on the scale of a pair of 2010 blizzards called “Snowmaggedon” and “Snowpocalypse” that buried cities, inundated roads and crippled air travel in the Northeast.

Snow, however, was aptly kept out of Sandy’s nickname, because much of the Northeast is more likely to instead experience wind, rain and tidal flooding. Any snow will likely hit the mid-Atlantic and Ohio Basin.

 “There’s a lot of storms these days that cause $1 billion” in damage, Kocin said. “It won’t take that much of a hit on a very populated part of the country with a huge coastline and a lot of development for a billion dollars or several billion dollars [in damage] to occur.”

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 joseph.serna@latimes.com@josephserna

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