NHC: 'Life Threatening' Storm Surge Predicted for Coastline
Forecast models agree on New Jersey strike
Hurricane Sandy's predicted track continued to home in on areas along the New Jersey coastline on Sunday afternoon, as the National Hurricane warned of a "life threatening" storm surge associated with the massive storm.
Barrier islands in Ocean County had already started to flood by late morning, and waves whipped up by already-gusty winds began eroding beaches.
On Long Beach Island, crews made quick work of last-minute checklist items in preparation for the storm, including taking away metal trash and recycling cans at beach entrances.
In Brick Township, officials ordered all residents off the barrier island section of town, and prepared a local state of emergency that would ban nonessential motor vehicle traffic in town after 11 p.m., Police Chief Nils R. Bergquist said.
Meanwhile, National Hurricane Center forecasters said at 11 a.m. Sunday that no significant changes had been made to the predicted track of the immense weather system, and landfall was still expected to occurr somewhere on the New Jersey coast.
Forecast model guidance was "tightly packed," meaning nearly all of the forecast models agreed on the storm's path.
A storm surge map showed a more than 50 percent chance of a four-foot surge in Monmouth, Ocean and Atlantic counties, and a 40 percent chance of a surge up to six feet.
The hurricane center warned the storm surge, a wall of water that rushes onshore as a storm makes landfall, could prove "life threatening."
"There is still some potential for Sandy to intensify slightly as a tropical system," a forecast released by the hurricane center said Sunday, before the storm turns into what is known as a hybrid, "extratropical system."
That hybrid system could prove just as dangerous as the named hurricane, however.
"This transition will not diminish the overall impacts of this dangerous weather system," forecasters noted.