Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter
Image Caption: NOAA Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy threatening millions of people living along US Eastern Seaboard. See NASA satellite imagery below. Credit: NOAA
Hurricane Sandy, a powerfully monstrous and unprecedented late season storm, is barreling mightily towards the US Eastern Seaboard, menacing tens of millions of residents living in the path of her sustained destructive winds, rains and life threatening storm surges.
Mandatory mass evacuations involving hundreds of thousands of people are already in progress in anticipation of a devastating storm strike on Monday (Oct 29).
First effects from Sandy are expected on Sunday night (Oct 28) in the New York/ New Jersey/Connecticut/Pennsylvania metropolitan area. Wind gusts are already exceeding 40 MPH as of Sunday afternoon, here in New Jersey – and steadily worsening.
Coastal Wave heights of 6 to 11 feet are predicted – possibly breaking records.
Public transit systems in New York City/New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. have been ordered to shut down later today – Sunday – by the Governors’ of the affected states. Most schools and government offices will also be closed on Monday.
Amtrak has just announced it will shutdown trains in the Northeast Corridor.
Image Caption: Hurricane Sandy off the southeastern United States was imaged at noon Eastern Daylight Time (16:00 UT) on October 28, 2012, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Credit: NASA Terra satellite
As of Sunday afternoon (Oct. 28) Sandy is predicted to make a dramatic, sharp left hook on Monday morning and most likely will make a violent direct hit slamming somewhere along the Jersey shore which borders from Maryland to New York City and beyond – sending high waves surging into coastal towns and cities overwhelming protective barriers.
Image Caption: Predicted path of Hurricane Sandy. Credit: NOAA
Inland areas will also suffer widespread destruction and power losses as Sandy slowly moves onshore and lingers over an extraordinarily wide path spanning several hundred miles in diameter.
Heavy rains and hurricane force wind gusts will soak the ground, taking down trees and power lines. Leaves may block storm drains.
Hurricane Sandy is currently classified as a Category 1 Hurricane. Its effects could be catastrophic and should not be taken lightly.
Making matters even worse, Sandy will hit during a full moon and the astronomical highest tides.
The National Hurricane Service warns that major flooding effecting millions of homes and businesses is expected along the US East Coast stretching from North Carolina to New England.
Millions and millions of people have more than a 50% chance of losing power.
Local power companies learned hard lessons from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irene just 1 year ago, which caused widespread and serious misery, flooding and deaths throughout the Northeast. Some people went without power for more than 2 weeks in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in 2011. This author lost power for several days and now we are in for another direct hit.
Additional Power crews have been called in from across the country and prepositioned as a precautionary measure. NEVER touch any downed power lines.
States of Emergency have been declared in 9 eastern States from North Carolina to Maine as well as the District of Columbia.
Mandatory evacuations of low lying coastal areas have been ordered by the Governors’ of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. State Shelters are being opened now.
Ocean wave heights of 20 to 50 feet have already been reported near the Hurricane’s eye.
Even the US Presidential election is being affected by Hurricane Sandy. Campaign events by both candidates Obama and Romney have been cancelled in several key battleground states. It is possible that polling stations may lose power – and the consequences are unknown on the closely contested election that could hinge on a handful of votes !
Stay tuned to NOAA, NASA and local and national news for continuing Hurricane updates.