By Kate Bilo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Well, it’s happened, Hurricane Sandy has been picked up by that strong advancing trough to the west and this has doubled its forward speed. It’s a clear indication of just how strong that western disturbance is, that it can take a massive storm and pick it up like a stone, sling-shotting it toward the eastern seaboard.
Sandy is undergoing some sort of transition from a warm-core tropical system to more of a cold-core nor’easter, but the impacts will be the same and it’s likely that the storm will make landfall still classified as a hurricane.
The problem is that Sandy will come onshore as a strengthening system, and winds are still sustained at 90 mph with gusts as high as 110 mph. We’ve already gotten some reports of hurricane-force winds down the shore, and as the storm rapidly moves inland, it may not have time to weaken enough to keep those hurricane-force gusts away from inland areas. We have to plan for hurricane-force gusts even through inland areas, likely between 4 and 7 p.m., and this is when the worst of the tree and power line damage can occur.
Again, we expect the storm to make landfall between 5 and 6 p.m., perhaps even earlier, anywhere from Cape May to Atlantic City. The storm surge will then be joined by high tide through the 7 p.m. hour, causing the threat for record tidal flooding down the shore.