Zombies? Pshaw. Yorkers who want a real fright on Halloween might just look out their windows instead of under their beds.
Last year, there was a snow so thick and heavy that some parts of York County went without power for a week. This year, there's "Frankenstorm," a pre-Halloween weather hybrid being sewn together by a low-pressure system and the undead Hurricane Sandy.
As of Friday morning, Frankenstorm was expected to dump about 5 inches of rain on the York area, with winds reaching 30 mph and higher gusts. Rain from the low pressure system hovering over the East Coast was expected to start Sunday, but the severe weather event isn't expected to start until the early workday Monday, said Matt Steinbugl, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College.
Sandy is moving north after her trip to the Bahamas, and she's expected to reach the coast of North Carolina by around midnight Monday, he said.
While hurricanes typically drift off into the ocean to die, the weakened tropical storm is expected to be pulled inland by the low pressure system, which will ingest the fading hurricane and intensify, Steinbugl said.
The impact on York is expected to intensify throughout the workday Monday, ramping up later Monday into Tuesday with heavy rain and high winds, leading to potential flooding, he said. Through Tuesday night, there's rainfall potential as high as 5 inches for the York area, the meteorologist said.
Meteorologists are saying the weather might not start clearing in the mid-Atlantic until the day after Halloween and Nov. 2 in the upper Northeast.
But there's little chance it will involve snow, with temperatures expected to be in the mid-50s Sunday, upper 40s Monday, and mid-40s Tuesday.
"It's definitely a cooling trend, but not cool enough for snow," Steinbugl said.
Keeping power: Utilities, road crews and emergency management personnel throughout the state are keeping a close watch on Sandy.
Utility workers have been told to cancel vacations, state transportation officials are plotting storm strategy, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency has been in touch with federal weather forecasters about the likely path of the storm.
First Energy, parent company of Met-Ed, which serves most of York County, has two full-time meteorologists tracking the hurricane's path, said Scott Surgeoner, First Energy spokesman.
"We have also alerted First Energy employees that we may begin to move those employees from areas that will not be impacted to areas that will be impacted by the storm," he said. "We reached out to other utilities and outside contractors who would provide us mutual assistance if needed."
Michael Wood, spokesman for PPL Corp. - which also has York County customers - said the utility has canceled personal time for its workers, asked hundreds of local contractors to remain on standby and reached out to its sister utility in Kentucky in case crews need to be brought in.
PPL's phone and computer systems were overwhelmed last year when Hurricane Irene and then a late October snow storm caused hundreds of thousands of customers to lose power.
Wood said the utility has since made upgrades, adding phone lines and call center staff, and is better prepared to handle a monster storm.
"We're in a much better place this year," he said.
Whole coast: Coastal areas from Florida to Maine will feel some effects, but the storm is expected to vent the worst of its fury on New Jersey and the New York City area. Eastern Ohio, southwestern Pennsylvania and western Virginia could get snow.
It is likely to hit during a full moon, when tides are near their highest, increasing the risk of coastal flooding.
And because many trees still have their leaves, they are more likely to topple in the event of wind and snow, bringing widespread power outages.
Eastern states that saw outages that lasted for days after last year's freak Halloween snowstorm and Hurricane Irene in late August 2011 are already pressuring power companies to be more ready this time.
To report power outages:
* First Energy/Met-Ed customers call 1-888-544-4877
* PPL Electric Utilities customers call 1-800-342-5775 (1-800-DIAL PPL) and, when prompted, press 1 for "power problem." Customers also can use the Outage Center online at www.pplelectric.com/outagecenter. The Outage Center also is available on smart phones or other mobile devices.
Storm safety tips from First Energy and PPL:
* Stay clear of downed power lines.
* Do not use gas ovens or ranges to heat homes.
* Use flashlights rather than candles. Get extra batteries for flashlights in case of prolonged power outages. Also, candles can cause a fire if tipped by animals or people, or if they come in contact with a combustible item.
* Have portable radios available for storm updates during outages
* Never run a generator in your home, basement or other indoor space where exhaust fumes may accumulate.
* Residents using well water should have extra drinking water available.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Christina Kauffman at email@example.com.