As of the 10:00 am advisory, Hurricane Sandy has strengthened and now has maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (a strong category one hurricane) and it’s pressure has dropped to 943 mb. Sandy is currently moving north-northwest at 18 mph & is expected to turn completely northwest this afternoon.
Sandy is still over 200 miles off of the East Coast, but sustained winds to tropical storm force are already occurring from Long Island south, along the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware and eastern Virginia. Tropical storm force winds currently extend as far inland as the central and southern Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay areas. Even though Sandy has stayed off shore and paralleled the East Coast over the past couple of days, the storm has already caused extensive travel disruption, damage & flooding issues, and unfortunately the worst is yet to come. Sandy is expected to make landfall late this evening along or just south of the southern New Jersey coast.
As Sandy nears the shoreline the storm is expected to lose its tropical characteristics before making landfall, but that transition will not diminish the impacts, with hurricane force winds still expected, with potentially life-threatening storm surge and flooding. What makes Sandy so dangerous is the fact that it is such a large, powerful system, with a wind field expanding over 1000 miles! Hurricane force winds are expected along portions of the East Coast between Chincoteague, Virginia and Chatham, Massachusetts, with tropical storm force winds stretching farther than that. The storm is not expected to move out of the Northeast until Friday, meaning prolonged impacts, with likely widespread power outages, flooding and heavy snow in parts of the Appalachians. Also major travel disruption will likely continue for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Sandy is already a historic storm and will be one for the record books. If you have friends and family who live in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, make sure they are prepared for the storm and possible power outages. Also make sure they pay attention to local media in their area. If you need to contact your friends and family that are being impacted by the storm, text or use social media to try and get a hold of them to help prevent tying up phone lines for emergency crews. We will continue to update Valleywx.com with the latest weather information, so you know the latest.