Sandy’s ‘Heartbeat has Stopped,’ Storm Breaks Up

Storm and flood alerts lingered across parts of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic as remnants of Sandy fell apart into a collection of “clouds and showers.”

Forecasters can’t detect a center of the superstorm that lashed the East Coast, pushed a record high wall of water into New York and New Jersey and killed at least 124 people in the Caribbean and the U.S. In order to sustain itself, a system must have circulation, said Chris Vaccaro, spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Essentially, Sandy is now just a cluster of clouds and showers,” Vaccaro said. “Its heartbeat has stopped.”

Sandy started life as tropical depression south of Jamaica on Oct. 22 and then roared across the Caribbean, gathering strength until it landed in New Jersey with hurricane-like power two days ago. The storm killed at least 69 people across the Caribbean and 55 in the U.S., the Associated Press said.

“A lot of bad things had to happen all at the same time and they did,” said Rob Carolan, a meteorologist at Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire. “I don’t foresee another one like this in my lifetime.”

Drifting Off

The winds and storms that have been circulating around Sandy’s center will stop and the foul weather will drift off to the northeast, Carolan said.

“It is more or less what they would say is officially dead,” Carolan said by telephone. “It is no longer a storm system.”

Winter storm warnings are in effect along the spine of the Appalachians from Pennsylvania through West Virginia, according to the National Weather Service. Flood warnings have been posted across northern New England.

Pockets of heavy rain will occur throughout the day from Michigan to New England, said Rick Knabb, director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Snow may linger in the Appalachians as well.

“All of that will be tapering off by tomorrow,” Knabb said.

As the rain diminishes, rivers from Ohio to Maryland that have swelled their banks will begin to recede, Knabb said during a conference call with reporters today.

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