Hurricane Sandy is just hours away from making landfall in New Jersey, and weather conditions on Long Island are quickly deteriorating.
The National Weather Service’s 5 p.m. update said that the storm has maximum sustained winds of around 90 mph with higher gusts and is moving toward the west-northwest near 28 mph. It is expected to continue in this direction until the center makes landfall along or just south of the New Jersey coast. Meteorologists say that this landfall will occur within the next few hours.
The worst of the storm for Long Island will be wind and storm surge, officials said. Storm surges on Long Island are expected to be a record 6 to 11 feet on the North Shore and 5 to 10 feet on the South Shore. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s environmental protection chief, Louis Uccellini, called the projected storm surge “the worst-case scenario.”
“This storm has intensified and it’s arriving earlier than we had expected,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.
Sandy is also forecast to transition into a frontal or wintertime low pressure system right before it hits land, but even though it won’t officially be a hurricane, hurricane force winds extend outward of up to 175 miles from the center of the system and tropical storm force winds extend 485 miles from the center.
A wind gust of up to 84 mph has already been recorded on Plum Island.