The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Saturday morning that a Hurricane Hunter aircraft found Sandy had sustained winds powerful enough to upgrade it to a Category 1 hurricane. It had been downgraded to a tropical storm just hours earlier.
Regardless of its official category, Sandy is expected to be a monstrous storm that poses a serious threat for the entire Eastern Seaboard.
Forecasters say Sandy is a massive cyclone, with hurricane-force winds recorded as far as 100 miles away from the eye of the storm.
Tropical storm conditions could be felt in the Carolinas by Saturday evening.