Hurricane Sandy (category one status) is now barreling along at 27 mph and it will make landfall in southern New Jersey later this evening. Sustained winds remain at 90 mph with gusts reaching 115 mph and the central pressure is now down to an incredible 940 millibars (27.75 inches)- lowest pressure ever recorded at this latitude. After landfall this evening, the storm will continue on an inland track moving westward to near northern Delaware/southeastern Pennsylvania on its way towards central Pennsylvania by later tomorrow. Sandy will also undergo a transformation after landfall from a tropical system to an extra-tropical system.
Winds have begun to rapidly intensify up and down the east coast as the storm approaches the South Jersey shoreline. Some of the highest wind gusts reported in recent hours include 76 mph at Groton, CT, 65 mph at Barnegat Inlet, NJ, 60 mph on Long Island, NY, and 59 mph in Milford, MA. There are already over 700,000 people without power across seven states with New Jersey reporting the most - and the worst is still yet to come.
The most intense time of weather for the Mid-Atlantic region from DC to Philly to NYC will be over the next ten hours or so from the early evening until early tomorrow morning. Rain will continue to be intense with inland and coastal flooding, and the winds will pick up in intensity as the center heads inland with widespread power outages. There will be wind gusts of 60-80 mph in the Mid-Atlantic region during this intense weather time period and even some higher readings to 100 mph are possible; especially, closer to the coast. Very high wind gusts of 60-80 mph will also extend inland to the Appalachians and northward into New England. The one piece of good news is that, given the faster movement of Sandy in recent hours, the duration of damaging winds will likely be somewhat less than originally feared.