Frankenstorm—a nickname for the potential combination of current Category 1 Hurricane Sandy and other storm systems in the North Atlantic and over the continental United States—is almost here, and for much of the East Coast, that means it’s time to get ready for lots and lots of rain, wind, snow and general meteorological mayhem.

Hurricane Sandy has been picking up steam for several days now, having walloped the Bahamas with 100-mile-per-hour winds Friday morning, killing 21 people across the Caribbean. It remains uncertain exactly when or where the storm will make landfall, though somewhere between Washington, D.C., and Boston seems most likely. As you can see from the National Weather Service image above, as many as 10 states seem likely to feel Sandy’s effects by sometime early next week.

The effects of the storm, which will include a good amount of snow once it combines with a cold-weather front in the west, will not be over quickly, according to James Franklin of the National Hurricane Center.“We expect a long-lasting event—two to three days for most people," Franklin said. "[It is] a very large system.”

Some are even proposing that what we are seeing is very similar to the conditions that led to the “perfect storm” in the Atlantic Ocean almost exactly 21 years ago:

The chain of events that would make Hurricane Sandy develop into a grave threat to the coast involves a storm system known as a midlatitude trough that is moving across the country from the west. If the systems meet up, as many computer models predict, the storm over land could draw the hurricane in.

“Essentially, all of the major models are now showing some form of phasing event similar to the perfect storm occurring sometime next week,” said William A. Komaromi, a graduate student at the University of Miami who posted an essay online on Thursday comparing Hurricane Sandy to the 1991 event.

Officials in coastal states and cities are already ramping up preparations and warning residents not to panic, but to get ready for what could be serious damage if their area is directly hit.

Here are some tips on how to deal with any potential power outages caused by the storm.

On Twitter, follow the hashtag #Frankenstorm for further updates. 

[CNN, New York Times, National Weather Service]