Sandy continues to strengthen as it races toward the coast.

Sandy’s pressure has been dropping all weekend long, and continues to drop Monday.  That is significant because it’s a sign that Sandy is still intensifying.  At the 2 p.m. update, the central pressure is down to 940 mb.  Just to put that in perspective, o ur record low pressure for Baltimore is 965.5 mb and that was with the winter storm from March 1993.

Since the pressure keeps dropping while the storm keeps expanding, the winds have been rising.  They were up to 90 mph with the last update, and maybe even increase more before Sandy makes landfall this evening along the New Jersey coast.

Winds have been increasing Monday and will continue to ramp up through the afternoon.  Gusts have come close to 60 mph along the beach in Ocean City, while we have seen gusts up to 37 mph at BWI-Marshall.  Rainfall is also really adding up.  There is nearly 5″ of rain in Ocean City and nearly 2.5″ of rain around Baltimore already at 1 p.m..  Again, all of these numbers will keep going up.

Sandy is racing off to the northwest now at 28 mph.  At this pace, landfall will be in about 3-5 hours.  The peak of this storm will occur during and just after Sandy’s landfall between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m.  What that means for us: winds gusting 50-80 mph, intense rainfall & flooding, power outages to increase, and rain to change over to snow in western Maryland.  In fact, a blizzard warning goes into effect at 6 p.m. for Garrett County, continuing through Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The surge of water at the beaches will be this evening, up to 6′.  High tides throughout the Bay will range 1-3′ higher between this push of water, the full moon, and all the rain that is falling.  Northerly winds will turn more southerly Monday night/early Tuesday,  bringing another push of water up the Bay – but NOTHING like Isabel.  Then, there will be higher water levels for the northern Bay later this week, when all of the heavy rain falling over PA makes its way down the Susquehanna.

Conditions will start to back off their peak Tuesday, although we are still looking at a rough day – and one that will limit cleanup.  Cold air will overspread the state, dropping temperatures and bringing the rain/snow line down to Carroll County.  The winds will still be gusting to 30 mph Tuesday afternoon, making it feel even colder.

You can also check out our updates on  Twitter @WJZWeather.


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