Hurricane Sandy is barreling toward a southern New Jersey landfall early tonight—packing heavier rains, longer-lasting winds and the most dire flood forecast in 40 years.
The National Weather Service’s most recent update had the center of the storm 315 miles east of Washington, DC, at 11 a.m., moving northwest at 18 mph and packing maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.
Winds locally will get stronger throughout the day, reaching sustained speeds of 30 to 50 mph—and hitting gusts of 60 mph—late this afternoon that will last until sunrise on Wednesday. Hurricane-force gusts of 70 mph and possibly 80 mph could come between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
NWS upped its rainfall prediction to 5 to 10 inches for metro DC. The Baltimore region may see 8 to 12 inches, with some isolated areas likely to see even more.
The rains will lead to “extensive and dangerous flooding” of small streams and creeks today, reaching the Potomac River by Wednesday, according to NWS. Flood levels will last through Friday. Such flooding hasn't been seen in the region since Hurricane Agnes in 1972, according to NWS.
Blizzard conditions with zero visibility and 18 to 24 inches of heavy, wet snow are forecast at elevations above 2,000 feet.
NWS will issue its next update at 5 p.m.