The models for Sandy now show the storm heading for landfall along the East Coast. The Weather Channel Hurricane Specialist Dr. Greg Postel says the storm is expected to bring widespread damage over a wide area.

Pennsylvania remained squarely in Hurricane Sandy's cross hairs early Saturday, with the dangerous storm forecast to make landfall and combine with winter weather systems late Monday.

Although there is uncertainty about the storm's precise path, Sandy is forecast to bring torrential rain and high winds to a large swath of the mid-Atlantic including the Lehigh Valley beginning late Sunday through Monday and into Tuesday.

The storm, which was responsible for 40 deaths in the Caribbean, was briefly downgraded to a tropical storm as it churned north off the Florida coast overnight Saturday. The storm was again classified a hurricane Saturday morning, with winds exceeding 75 mph,

National Weather Service forecasters say Sandy could make landfall anywhere from Virginia Beach to Long Island, N.Y., but it will most likely cross the coast near Cape May, N.J.

The weather service has issued a flood watch for much of Pennsylvania including the Lehigh Valley from Sunday evening into late Monday night.

Four to eight inches of wind swept rain, with larger amounts in some areas, will fall across southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, Delaware and eastern Maryland, the weather service reported.

Small streams and urban areas with poor drainage could begin to flood Monday morning. Larger rivers are likely to begin flooding later Monday.

The timing of the flooding depends on how fast the storm passes through the region, the weather service reported.

Winds could top 40 mph on Monday, the weather service forecast says.

peter.hall@mcall.com

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