Sandy made landfall along the New Jersey coast, earlier this evening. The storm has already wreaked havoc across the Mid-Atlantic and northeast and its expected to affect millions more Americans as it moves northwest, dumping rain and kicking up winds of up to 80 mph.
We’ll update this post with the latest news about the storm, which forecasters warn is historic in size and intensity.
Update at 8:04 p.m. ET. The Story So Far:
Here are the highlights of the story so far:
— The storm, which has spread rain and high winds from North Carolina up into New England and west into Pennsylvania and upstate New York, continues to head northwest. The National Hurricane Center says the storm is now a post-tropical cyclone but it is still packing 90 mph winds.
— Gusts of about 88 mph have already been recorded in southern New Jersey, and even stronger — hurricane force — winds will be lashing New York City, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C., from tonight into Tuesday.
— The AP estimates that already more than 1 million are without power across the northeast. That number will surely rise.
— Forecasters also warning about huge surges of water along coastal areas, including in New York City. Some parts of Lower Manhattan are already flooded and the electric company has cut off power to a large part of it.
The New York Times reports that 70 to 80 percent of Atlantic City, N.J. was under water. The chief of emergency services told the paper the city was “under siege.”
— President Obama and other officials have urged anyone in the path of Sandy to listen to local authorities and heed all warnings and orders. The president and his Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, have both asked all Americans to donate what they can to the American Red Cross, which is collecting to help those in harms’ way. More than 60 million people live in areas where Sandy is expected to have an impact.
— The storm is already a deadly one. The AP reports Sandy has been blamed for at least 69 deaths when it rumbled through the Caribbean.
— Travel will continue to be a headache. Some 8,000 flights have been cancelled and public transportation has been shut down from Washington to Boston.
Update at 8:12 p.m. ET. Atlantic City:
Post-tropical cyclone Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, the National Hurricane Center says, citing data from aircraft and surface radar.
In its latest advisory, it says that New York and New Jersey are being pounded. It reports:
“NATIONAL OCEAN SERVICE TIDE GAUGES HAVE RECENTLY REPORTED STORM SURGE HEIGHTS OF 11.9 FEET AT KINGS POINT NEW YORK…8.4 FEET AT THE BATTERY NEW YORK…AND 8.6 FEET AT SANDY HOOK NEW JERSEY.
“WITHIN THE PAST HOUR OR SO…A SUSTAINED WIND OF 49 MPH WITH A GUST TO 73 MPH WAS REPORTED AT JFK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN NEW YORK. A WIND GUST TO 71 MPH WAS RECENTLY OBSERVED AT FARMINGDALE NEW YORK.”
Update at 7:42 p.m. ET. Lower Manhattan Is Now Dark:
New York City’s power company Consolidated Edison Inc. has shut down power to a large part of Lower Manhattan.
The New York Times says it is an unprecedented step done to “try to prevent damage to equipment stored underground so that power could be restored more quickly after the storm.”
Alex Goldmark, of NPR member station WNYC, just tweeted a picture of the darkened skyline.
Update at 7:23 p.m. ET. Another Record:
Another record has fallen today, according to the Weather Channel. It reports:
Update at 7:18 p.m. ET. Scene In New Jersey:
NPR’s Jeff Brady is in the southern New Jersey town of Vineland. He tells our Newscast unit that the rain and wind have been relentless. And officials have been disappointed that some people chose not to evacuate.
Now, Jeff says, they will only make an attempt at a rescue if the rescued doesn’t put emergency personelle in danger.
Update at 7:10 p.m. ET. A Post-Tropical Cyclone:
Sandy is no longer a hurricane. It is a “post-tropical cyclone.” Note this doesn’t mean that Sandy has lost any steam, it means that it has lost its tropical characteristics,” the National Hurricane Center says in its latest advisory.
Update at 6:53 p.m. ET. Atlantic City:
The Wall Street Journal reports that in Atlantic City, officials are trying to rescue about 490 people. Of the city’s 40,000 residents, only about 3,000 did not evacuate.
The paper reports:
“This is a hurricane. This is what happens,”” Tom Foley, the city’s director of emergency management told the paper. “The people who chose to stay here did not heed the warnings of emergency management and National Weather Service.”