Hurricane Sandy landfall expected between 6pm and 8pm

ATLANTIC CITY - October 29, 2012

The latest track for Hurricane Sandy puts the storm south of previous predictions, and Action News meteorologist Dave Murphy called it a "worst case scenario" for the New Jersey shore.

The newest track puts Sandy's predicted landfall between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Monday somewhere between Rehoboth, Delaware and Cape May, New Jersey.

Adding to the impact is that high tide is at 8:00 p.m.

The storm surge is forecasted to be from 4 feet to 8 feet at the southernmost Jersey shore and 6' to 10' from Atlantic City and points north.

Winds have climbed to 90 mph, making it a strong Category 1 hurricane. It is moving NNW at 18 mph.

Wind gusts are expected to be 60 to 100 mph across the region, with the heaviest gusts closer to the south Jersey shore.

The center of the storm is about 185 miles from the NJ coast.

Heavy rain has developed in parts of our region and coastal flooding has already developed along the Jersey shore.

Rising waters put most of Atlantic City under water Monday as the approach of Hurricane Sandy flooded towns up and down the New Jersey shore, knocked out power to thousands and left some people stranded in water-surrounded homes, forcing rescues.

Emergency officials said they expected conditions to get much worse at evening high tide and the center of the storm could hit at about the same time.

"The city's basically flooded," said Willie Glass, the city's public safety director. "Most of the city is under water."

The same could be said of much of the southern New Jersey shore. The storm surge went over the sea wall in Cape May with high tide early Monday and punched through dunes in other communities. The entire 35-mile stretch of the Garden State Parkway south of Atlantic City was shut down in both directions. Officials reported rescues in Pleasantville.

Sandy was just one component of a massive storm coming together over the eastern third of the U.S., bringing damaging wind and flooding and fears of prolonged power outages. By 11 a.m. Monday, the National Hurricane Center indicated that Sandy had strengthened with top sustained winds of 90 mph. The center was expected to make landfall in southern New Jersey late Monday night.

"It's going to be a slog through the history books but we're doing OK so far," Glass said.

Atlantic City and its casinos were ordered evacuated on Sunday. The city's historic boardwalk remained intact despite the rising floodwaters, though an old section at the north end broke up and washed away.

"It looks like it's going to be worse than the storm of '62, which was monumental," Glass said. "Saving lives and making sure everyone is safe is our priority."

State Emergency Management spokeswoman Mary Goepfert said about 115,000 residents were ordered to evacuate the state's barrier islands, and local officials ordered many more in their towns. It was not known how many heeded the warning. Goepfert said more than 2,200 people were in shelters statewide.

More than 8,000 people were without power across the state as officials braced for a storm surge that was expected to cause record-breaking flooding.

The streets of Atlantic City were mainly deserted.

In Philadelphia, more than 250 people had already evacuated to shelters by daybreak Monday Sheila Gladden evacuated from her home in Philadelphia's flood-prone Eastwick neighborhood and headed to a hotel, preferring not to take any chances.

"I'm not going through this again," said Gladden, who had five-and-a-half feet of water in her home after Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

"They're telling me this is going to be worse than Floyd because this is some superstorm," she said. "I'm not going back until the water's receded."

Mayor Michael Nutter told Action News early Monday that shelters are open and ready to help those who have to get out.

"If you have not relocated, if you are in one of those areas, the time to go is now, because things are only going to deteriorate as time goes on," Nutter said.

"We're going to all have to hang in there together."

The city remains under a state of emergency until 5:00 p.m. Tuesday.

Mass transit service was shut down, all flights were canceled out of Philadelphia International Airport and Amtrak stopped service.

Meanwhile, the Delaware River Port Authority said bridges would be closed to truck traffic at 2:00 p.m. Monday. Those bridges are the Commodore Barry, the Walt Whitman, the Ben Franklin and the Betsy Ross.

Also, the DRPA said the Commodore Barry Bridge will be closed to all traffic when sustained winds (not just gusts) reach 50 m.p.h.

Earlier Monday, the Pennsylvania National Guard activated 750 soldiers and expects to have a total of 1,600 placed on active duty to deal with damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Guard spokesman Staff Sgt. Matthew Jones says 50 guardsmen had already been on duty since Friday and 800 more based in Pittsburgh and Scranton expect to be activated by noon Monday.

The National Weather Service issued high wind and flood warnings for much of southeastern Pennsylvania, where winds of up to 75 mph and up to 10 inches of rain were possible.

Officials warned Sandy is a dangerous storm that promises to bring power outages that could last for days and cause rain-swollen waterways to rise over their banks.

Gov. Tom Corbett declared a state of emergency in anticipation of storm damage while utility companies called in reinforcements to deal with what could be massive power outages.

Officials are warning residents of flood-prone areas - like those affected by the remnants of Hurricane Irene last year - to be ready to move.

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