Massive, soon-to-be historic Hurricane Sandy continues to expand over the Atlantic Ocean. It is centered 270 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and is moving to the northeast at 15 mph:
Maximum sustained winds remain 75 mph and are not forecast to weaken before landfall.
The wind field continues to expand. Hurricane-force winds extend up to 175 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 520 miles.
The forecast track from the National Hurricane Center continues to show Sandy making landfall Monday night near central New Jersey:
Storm surges of 6 to 11 feet are forecast for the area in and around New York City, driven by the strength and size of the storm and also by a high tide enhanced by the pull of the full moon. And those surges will be topped by very large, wind-driven breaking waves.
Evacuations have been ordered for some low-lying areas including parts of New York City. Subway, bus and train service are scheduled to halt in New York and New Jersey this evening. Amtrak has cancelled most service in the Northeast for Monday including the line between Washington and New York.
Winds of hurricane force (75 mph) are forecast for portions of the Atlantic Coast from northeast Virginia to Massachusetts. Long Island might be one area particularly susceptible to the combination of storm surge, waves and wind.
As Sandy gets closer to the coast, it will take on extra-tropical characteristics; that is, transition into a powerful mid-latitude cyclone. That extra energy is likely to cause continued growth even as the storm weakens inland while continuing to dump heavy rain.
Inland flooding is likely to be widespread and severe. The GFS model shows rain continuing over parts of Pennsylvania and New York state through at least next Thursday and possibly lingering as light rain into Friday.
Thousands of airline flights have been or will be cancelled. Schools and businesses will be closed. Many residents of the Mid-Atlantic states are likely to will lose power and might not get it back very quickly.
Hopefully, sufficient preparations have been made.
And, on the west end of the storm, 2 to 3 feet of snow is forecast for the mountains of West Virginia.