The East Coast is bracing for the full impact of Hurricane Sandy that experts are calling “life-threatening” and currently off shore gaining strength.
The 900 mile wide storm has so far sent 12 foot surges over beaches and boardwalks, as well as 90-mph winds, from Delaware to New York a full 12 hours before the storm’s eye is supposed to make landfall. Widespread evacuations along the coast have been ordered and public transportation shut down in metropolitan areas. Meteorologists closely watching the storm say as many as 60 million people could face power outages in the coming hours and days.
Airports are expected to shut down Monday afternoon and the National Guard was deployed along the Atlantic coast. Experts are calling this weather system the “Frankenstorm.” The hurricane is on a collision course with a winter storm and a cold front that could create a massive hybrid storm that could be felt as far as the Midwest.
The storm surge is so great that many are reporting their homes on stilts have been threatened.
Forecasters warned the New York City region could face the worst of the hurricane. As of 9 a.m. Monday, the storm was centered around 300 miles southeast of the city, moving to the north at 14mph with hurricane-force winds extending 175 miles from its center.
The Nation Hurricane Center said early Monday the storm has intensified and Sandy has already been blamed for 65 deaths in the Caribbean before it began traveling northward, parallel to Eastern Seaboard.
States of emergency have been declared from North Carolina to Connecticut. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities on Sunday.
Authorities warned that NYC could be hit with an 11-foot wall of water that has the potential to swamp parts of lower Manhattan. Many fear subway tunnels will flood and that the network of underground electrical and communications lines will be crippled.