Sandy Still on Track to Strike New Jersey on Monday Evening
The massive, slow-moving storm will likely hit New Jersey Monday evening in earnest, although it may not be hurricane by then.
Hurricane Sandy is still packing 75 mph winds as a Category 1 storm on Sunday morning.
The massive storm was located 395 miles east of Charleston, SC, at 5 a.m. Oct. 28 and was traveling northeast at 13 mph over the open water of the Atlantic Ocean parallel to the East Coast.
Forecasters still expect the system to take a sharp left turn early on Monday morning and approach the New Jersey coastline by Monday night as a large and powerful storm with winds of near-hurricane force (74 mph). At that point, Sandy is not expected to be categorized as a hurricane, despite her widespread and powerful effects.
Follow Sandy's path as it heads toward South Jersey with this interactive map.
The National Weather Service predicts a storm surge of 4 to 8 feet throughut the Mid-Atlantic states, flooding areas that normally don't see water. It predicts 4 to 8 inches of rain in addition to the storm and tidal surge.
In his evening forecasts on Saturday, NBC40 meteorologist Dan Skeldon suggested that the storm could make landfall anywhere in New Jersey, but he favored an area somewhere in Ocean or Monmouth counties. The morning models from the National Hurricane Center match that prediction.
The strongest winds and greatest impact from a storm surge are predicted to be north of the storm. Skeldon—who has earned a strong reputation predicting local conditions for the southern New Jersey shore—predicts winds of 40 to 60 mph (with stronger gusts) on Monday in southern New Jersey.
Skeldon warned that the massive storm is very dangerous and will be "a record-breaking storm for somebody," and he emphasized that slight shifts in the forecast or track of the storm could lead to dramatic changes in potential damage.
With waves of 30 to 40 feet over the open ocean and pounding surf closer to shore, beach erosion will be one of the guarantees of Sandy.
The storm has led to a mandatory evacuation order for all of the barrier islands in New Jersey starting effective at 4 p.m. Sunday.