Bill Read's Blog: Sandy moving into the Mid-Atlantic states

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HOUSTON - The center of Hurricane Sandy is beginning its anticipated turn to the northwest towards New Jersey.

At 6 p.m. CDT, the center was 20 miles south of Atlantic City. N.J. Sandy has strengthened to 90 mph and overnight, it's central pressure dropped to an amazing 946 mb. The big problem with Sandy is it's size -- hurricane force winds are possible out as far as 175 miles and tropical storm force winds extend out more than 450 miles.

To put this in perspective -- Hurricane Ike had hurricane force winds extending out 100 miles and tropical storm force winds out 250 miles as it approached our area. This means almost the entire Northeast and Mid Atlantic will experience damaging winds today, tonight and into Tuesday.

Tidal flooding and flash flooding began to impact the mid Atlantic region late Sunday. Severe coastal flooding is beginning to take hold this morning – at high tide along the coast the tides are forecast just below record levels. On the beaches, very large waves will add to the damage potential all the way from Long Island to Virginia Beach.

With the worst impact of Sandy expected overnight tonight when the center crosses the New Jersey coast and when the next high tide occurs, record tide levels are forecast in many locations. Tides in New York harbor and Long Island Sound are forecast up to several feet higher than in Irene just last summer.

Heavy rainfall has already occurred and up to 8 inches is expected in the major metropolitan areas from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. Further west, a blizzard will occur in the Appalachians with up to 2 feet of wind driven snow.

It's historic and it is happening now to almost 50 million people.

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