BOSTON (CBS) – Sandy is a very powerful hurricane with maximum winds of 90 mph and is now closing in on the New Jersey coastline and a landfall this evening.
As of 1 p.m. it was located just over 100 miles southeast of Atlantic City and moving at a speed of 20 mph.
At this rate, Sandy will make landfall between 5 and 6 p.m.
The storm is very impressive on radar and satellite imagery.
The center of Sandy is like a small ball of insanity, about 300 miles across with winds peaking at 90 mph.
But it extends well beyond its tight center. From west to east, Sandy stretches for nearly 1,000 miles – it is literally like a hurricane with a giant nor’easter!
This will go down as one the largest tropical systems ever in the Atlantic and one of lowest central barometric pressures this far north.
This is going to be a devastating blow for the New Jersey coastline northward to New York City where several hours of hurricane force winds (75 mph+) will occur. Record setting coastal flooding and widespread structural damage is expected from Atlantic City to New York City. It will take days and weeks for them to recover.
IMPACT ON SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND
Closer to home, we are now approaching the peak of what Sandy has to offer for New England. The winds will peak between now and 8 p.m. Monday, frequently gusting 30-60 mph inland and 40-70 along the coast.
Check: Highest Wind Gusts In Mass.
Power outages are already in the tens of thousands and will continue to climb through this evening.
Widespread wind damage will also continue, worst along the coast where gusts are highest. By the time we wake up Tuesday morning roads and backyards will be littered with leaves and limbs.
Gallery: Hurricane Sandy Photos
We are also concerned about Monday night’s high tide cycle, which is around 9 p.m. for the South Coast west of New Bedford and closer to midnight for Cape Cod and the east coast.
Winds will be shifting to the southeast this evening, so south facing beaches will take more of a beating, the South Coast being the primary concern.
An additional storm surge of 3-to-6 feet is currently forecast and wave heights just offshore will grow as high as 30 feet or greater.
Overnight, as Sandy moves inland, it will gradually weaken and winds will slowly lower.
For most of the day Tuesday we expect to see periods of rain and winds gusting 20-to-30 mph, but very little additional damage.
You can follow Terry on Twitter at @TerryWBZ.