Tens of millions of East Coast residents are preparing for what may be one of the “biggest storms to ever hit the U.S.” Hurricane Sandy, dubbed “Frankenstorm” is still many miles out to sea, moving up the coastline at 15 mph, but effects of the “megastorm” are already beginning to be felt. With hurricane-force winds of 75 mph, the exceptional size of Hurricane Sandy means the heavy rains and winds will start Sunday and last as late as Wednesday. For more on how to be prepared and keep your family safe during Hurricane Sandy, please read this preparation guide.
Hurricane Sandy is expected to produce a high storm surge on Monday, combining a high tide with the full moon. The combined water height and high tide is will most likely effect the coast running from Ocean City, Maryland to Connecticut and Rhode Island according to Richard Knabb, the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The worst of the Hurricane Sandy is expected between 3 p.m. Monday and 3 a.m. Tuesday. The Atlantic Ocean, amped up with giant waves, a full moon, and high tides will combine with drenching rains and is expected to trigger inland flooding. Sandy’s “destruction potential”, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or the NOAA, has been judged at 5.8 on a 0 to 6 scale.
In Ocean City, Md., a mandatory evacuation was ordered by Mayor Rick Meehan. He said that last year, Ocean City was lucky dodging Hurricane Irene, but he doesn’t think Ocean City will be this lucky this time. “I think we’re probably already further along with this storm than we were with Irene,” he said. “The ocean is angry right now and we’re going to see a storm surge.” Police are urging people in the evacuation zone to leave, but not forcing them. Thousands of residents and tourists are heading for shelters on higher ground. The Ocean City pier already has retained some structural damage. Sunday evening at 9:30 p.m., one of the few working outdoor streaming webcams in Ocean City showed the waves already reaching up to the boardwalk.
On Sunday, in Dewey Beach, Del., roads are already so flooded that bridges have been closed and even a state trooper’s car stalled in the middle of a flooded highway. Many areas along the Delaware coast already show signs of flooding. All residents within three-quarters of a mile of the ocean and Delaware Bay were evacuated Saturday and Sunday.
All-in-all, Hurricane Sandy is expected to affect 50 million people along the eastern shore. It is difficult for many along the eastern shore to think about the fact that this is only day one of a three day storm. There are still five high tides and a full moon to go.
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