Sandy Speeds Up, Risk of Deadly Winds Increases Onshore

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
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The storm surge from Hurricane Sandy leaves much of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland under water, including this boat ramp along the Assateague Channel, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012..

Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall hours earlier than previously expected, likely reaching the coast of southern New Jersey or central Delaware early this evening.

According to the National Weather Service, Sandy is racing toward the coast at 28 miles per hour (44 kilometers per hour). The storm is blowing with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph). Landfall is now estimated at between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. EDT, hours earlier than previous forecasts of midnight or so.

Already, coastal areas are feeling the effects of the storm. Along the coast of New Jersey, winds have been gusting more heavily all day, with one station in the barrier island community of Harvey Cedars recording a 69 mph (111 km) gust. In New York City, a crane atop a partially-constructed high-rise collapsed, forcing evacuations in nearby buildings. The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for New York City and its suburbs, forecasting sustained winds of 35 to 45 mph (56 to 72 kph) with gusts up to 80 mph (129 kph). 

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