Sandy heads toward New Jersey coast
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 11:10
PHILADELPHIA -- A hyperbole-generating Hurricane Sandy, almost 1,000 miles across now, has turned toward New Jersey and is already having a major impact.
It is expected to land Monday night on the New Jersey coast with historic flooding expected, but heavy rain and advancing wind gusts are causing problems 11 hours before landfall.
Severe damage is almost a certainty, forecasters say.
At 8 a.m. EDT, Sandy was 265 miles southeast of Atlantic City but was already starting to have a major impact after dumped several inches of rain in some areas. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.
Sandy started to make a left-turn about 5 a.m., churning in a massive sweep straight toward Alantic or Cape May counties in meteorologists say should be a storm of historical proportions. It was traveling about 20 mph.
Dean Iovino, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Monday morning that the northern part of the New Jersey coast will bear the brunt when it makes landfall Monday night because of the counter-clockwise rotation of the storm.
But all of the Jersey Shore will be battered as the storm barrels in just after high tide. The surge is already flooding the coast. Rain has been steady. Winds are expected to increase through the evening with gusts reaching 60 mph around 9 p.m. Sustained winds should be in the 30 to 40 mph range throughout the day.
"It looks like we're not only going to exceed record levels, but exceed them substantially," Iovino said of flooding, "especially at the North Jersey shore _ which is not to say that there's not going to be bad flooding south of that.
"They might experience something we haven't seen before, perhaps in recorded time."
Worse, is the timing that will coincide with high tide. Officials were attempting to get Shore residents to take the storm seriously, but about 70 percent of Brigantine's 9,500 residents have remained on the island, police said.
And, there are already reports that the bay is meeting the Atlantic Ocean near Longport, N.J. Emergency officials in Ventnor said people were calling throughout the night desperate to get out. The Atlantic City Expressway is still open.
The Breaking News Network reported that members of the Atlantic City Fire Department firehouse at North Annapolis and Crossan avenues were stuck in the station because of flooding.
And severe flooding has been reported on Second and Third Avenues in North Wildwood, N.J.
A range of 5 to 10 inches of rain is expected to fall through Tuesday, coupled with high winds _ a combination that has utility companies expecting downed trees and power lines, plunging thousands into darkness, and swamping basements with water.
Though winds were still weak, trees were already falling in some areas. In Cherry Hill, N.J., a tree fell on a car on southbound Interstate 295. And, In Delaware County, Pa., outside Philadelphia, a tree fell on a house in Upper Darby. The impact damaged a room where an infant was sleeping.
The baby was transported to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, according to Ed Truitt, emergency Services Director for Delaware County. He did not know the extent of the baby's injuries.
Staff Writers Mari A. Schaefer and Peter Mucha also contributed to this story.