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Posted at 09:10 PM ET, 10/29/2012

Sandy making landfall, rain and damaging wind continue in D.C. area

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Radar of extratropical storm Sandy around 7 p.m. October 29. The storm had sustained 85 mph winds at the time.

9:10 p.m.: The National Weather Service is warning of the worst flooding on the Potomac River since 1996 due to all this rain from Sandy. Further north, things aren’t looking too good in New York City, where much of lower Manhattan is taking on water, including subways. Much of the city is also without power. Power outages in this area are now about 150,000 with more than 3 million across the northeast in the dark.

8:15 p.m.: Sandy made landfall around 8 p.m. in Atlantic City, NJ according to the National Hurricane Center.

From 7:14 p.m.: Sandy is on its way to landfall near the southern NJ or the Delaware Bay. And really, it doesn’t look much like a hurricane anymore. That fact, plus a number of others, prompted the National Hurricane Center to classify it as post-tropical (or no longer a hurricane) in their last major update. As we’ve said here all along, the classification doesn’t matter with this one.

Winds have become damaging across the area late today and into the early evening. That trend should continue over at least the next several hours. Perhaps around or after midnight, sustained winds will peak and very slowly wane, but gust potential will remain high through the night before dwindling a bit tomorrow. The prolonged nature plus increasingly saturated ground means tree failure will continue for a long time.

Those gusts have been quite high recently as well. National has reached at least 58 mph, which surpasses the criteria needed to verify a severe thunderstorm warning and indicates high potential for tree downing as well as other damage. Gusts between 60-80 mph remain possible. There’s no reason to venture out there, please stay safe!

Not surprisingly, rain continues to pour down over the area. That’s set to persist, though it’s possible a brief break may rotate into at least northeast parts of the area over the coming hours. However, given the way the low is supposed to track (largely westward), precipitation overhead should also pivot around the storm. As long as the low center does not get too close, rain may continue unabated. And even if there is a lull, it’s just that and more is to come.

Recent models suggest another widespread 2-4” of rain is possible and that may be conservative in spots. Generally, between 3-5” of rain has fallen so far with some spots less and others more.

High tide is on its way across the coastline, and places north of the landfall point — including NYC — are on the verge of historic flooding. Storm tide in Battery Park, NYC is already past the old record as waters continue to rise.

Record pressures: As of 7 p.m., Baltimore was down to 969 mb and D.C. was at 974 mb. Baltimore is already very close to its record lowest pressure of 965.9 mb, and D.C. isn’t far behind to catch its record of 966.5 mb. Both of these were set during the March 1993 Superstorm. There’s much reason to believe that Sandy will set the record given its current pressure and reports in other cities, like Philadelphia, that have already set new all-time pressure records.

By  |  09:10 PM ET, 10/29/2012

 
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