Sandy Gains Strength As it Approaches Coast
October 29, 2012- Hurricane Sandy, the huge storm that is bearing down on the northeast coast of the U.S. gained strength on Monday. At the same time, thousands of people were heading to higher ground, the stock market was shuttered for the first time in 27 years due to the weather and public transportation along the coast came to a standstill.
Close to 50 million residents between the Mid-Atlantic coast and Canada were facing the huge storm that is close to 1,000 miles wide and which forecasters are saying could be the largest storm to hit the U.S. mainland in history. The storm is expected to knock down trees, cause large power outages, damage structures and trigger widespread flooding.
On Monday, the National Hurricane Center in the U.S. said the storm, which is a Category 1 hurricane, had gained strength and had veered toward the coast. It is currently moving at about 15 mph and was expected to bring in a storm surge that could be life threatening, hurricane winds along the coast and a heavy blanket of snow in the mountains.
A state of emergency has been declared by nine states in the U.S. and President Obama has warned people in the U.S. to brace themselves for the storm.
Along its path through the Caribbean, the storm killed 66 people before hitting coastal areas in the U.S. with heavy rain and snowfall in the higher elevations. The latest forecast on Monday morning said the storm would make landfall along the New Jersey coast on Monday night near Atlantic City.
Winds are currently 85 miles per hour with winds that were sustained at 35 mph extending out nearly 485 miles from the storm’s center.
Transit systems were close in New York and other large cities, while schools were closed and large evacuations were taking place in areas that could be affected by storm surge and flooding.