AUSTIN (KXAN) - Hurricane Sandy continues to impact the northeastern United States with driving rain, flooding storm surges, and damaging winds.
As of the latest National Hurricane Center advisory, Sandy is packing maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour. While this wind speed only makes Sandy a Category 1 storm, the enormous scope of the wind field churning up the Atlantic Ocean actually makes the flooding potential more dangerous than any Category 5 the US has ever seen—including Hurricane Katrina.
Tropical storm-force winds extend nearly 1,000 miles in diameter, impacting an enormous expanse from North Carolina to Maine.
As the storm makes landfall this evening along the coast of New Jersey, the northeastern US can expect the following impacts:
- Rain of 8-12"+
- Storm surge (the rise in the level of the ocean) of up to 12 feet in the New York Harbor, possibly flooding parts of the New York City subway system
- Snow amounts up to 2-3 feet in some parts of the Appalachians
The size of Hurricane Sandy is not the only unusual thing about it.
Also making this system unique is the fact that it has maintained its strength so far north, where colder ocean temperatures traditionally weaken hurricanes.
Researchers say this may be caused by the changing climate .
"The fact that we're seeing temperatures off of the northeast coast this late summer and fall are three, four, even five degrees warmer than normal means that if a hurricane comes up here, which it has, that it's able to survive," Rutgers University climate researcher Dr. Jennifer Francis said.
Track Hurricane Sandy's progress on KXAN's Tropical Tracker .
KXAN Meteorologist David Yeomans earned his Master's of Science from the University of Miami specializing in hurricane research. He was a guest scientist aboard the NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft.
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