Worst of Hurricane Sandy Storm Surge, Wind NYC, NJ

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
October 30, 2012; 4:36 AM
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Play video AccuWeather.com meteorologists give their expert analysis on Sandy.

AccuWeather.com meteorologists expect Sandy to bring much worse conditions to New York City, when compared to Irene.

According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Steve Wistar, "Sandy could wind up being the area's Katrina in terms of impact and damage."

This is a potentially life-threatening and devastating situation for portions of the New York metropolitan area. Schools have closed and public transportation has being shut down.

Severe coastal flooding, damaging winds, power outages, and major travel delays and disruptions are hitting the area.

The Hudson River swells and rises over the banks of the Hoboken, N.J. waterfront as Hurricane Sandy approaches on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

According to the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center Sandy will continue to push westward across southern New Jersey Monday evening.

According to AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers, "Sandy is a hurricane wrapped in a winter storm."

The path of Sandy into central New Jersey is about the worst case scenario for storm surge flooding in the New York Metropolitan area. Major flooding already occurred with the high tide Monday midday. Another round of high astronomical tides will coincide with Sandy's landfall Monday evening resulting in historic flooding.

In this path water is funneled into the western end of Long Island Sound and in general into the bite of the coast between the mid-Atlantic and southern New England.

A dangerous coastal flooding storm surge of 5 to 10 feet is forecast, but water levels will be locally higher, especially during times of high astronomical tide Monday evening. Some areas could experience a storm surge of 12 to 15 feet.

The record water level at Battery Park set in 1960 of 13.3 feet has been broken.

Salt water can spread over some rail yards and perhaps into subway stations. Some low-lying communities will take on feet of water.

Flash, small stream and urban flooding can occur to the west over interior New Jersey, where an average of 2 to 4 inches of rain. Rainfall of 1 to 2 inches is forecast on non-coastal flooding areas, which can lead to minor urban flooding issues.

Wind gusts in the neighborhood of 70 to 80 mph will frequent the New York City area, coastal New Jersey and portions of Long Island. Gusts reaching 90 to 100 mph are possible in some locations.

The strength of the winds can down trees and send loose items airborne. A funneling effect between the buildings can make walking extremely difficult. Windows could be dislodged from some skyscrapers, as the winds will be much stronger several hundred feet above the ground as opposed to the streets below. In between and over top of the buildings, gusts near 100 mph are possible.

Some roads may not only be blocked by water, but also fallen trees. Scores of trees can be downed in the region, not only near the coast, but well inland. Power outages could last for days in some wooded neighborhoods.

Avoid parking under or walking under trees during and for a time after the storm as large limbs may come crashing down with no notice.

Even as Sandy diminishes and moves inland during the middle of this coming week, damage, power outages and travel impact may linger much longer.

AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski contributed to the content of this story.

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