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Hurricane Sandy: Atlantic City flooding

StaffThe Christian Science Monitor

Monday 9:10 a.m. With the arrival of the morning high tide, flooding has begun in the streets of Atlantic City. There are unconfirmed reports that parts of Atlantic City's boardwalk have collapsed. In Atlantic City, winds are gusting to tropical storm strength. All 12 casinos were shut down at 4 p.m. Sunday after Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency for the entire state.

By 7:30 a.m., the streets immediately around the new Revel casino and hotel were covered with more than a foot of water, witnesses said.Parts of Black Horse Pike in West Atlantic City, Route 30 and Route 9 in Absecon, Route 559 in Somers Point and Route 322 in Hamilton are already flooded, county officials said. Roads in Hamilton Township and Mays Landing were also impassable, reports NJ.com.

In Cape May the ocean has also breached the main oceanfront drive, Ocean Avenue, near the city's southern end, the Associated Press reports

New Jersey is also seeing power outages. As of 3:30 a.m., PSE&G is reporting 829 customers without power due to the early effects of Hurricane Sandy. Of that total, 794 of the outages are located in Deptford Township in Gloucester County. As of 5 a.m., JCP&L reported about 5,000 customers without power in Burlington and Ocean county, including more than 4,000 in Toms River, reports NJ.com.

Monday 8:40 am.

The National Hurricane Center 8 a.m. report indicates that Hurricane Sandy is now starting to pick up speed (moving at 20 mph) and turn west. The blocking high pressure area in the north Atlantic will send Sandy on a sharper turn toward the coast later Monday morning.

Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft have clocked Sandy's sustained winds at 85 mph, with higher gusts, as far as way as 175 miles from the eye of the hurricane. As we've said this is a BIG storm. Tropical storm force winds (above 39 mph) extend almost 500 miles from the center of the storm. That means tropical force winds are now pummeling the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, and Easter Virginia.

From the National Hurricane Center report: WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS...OR GALE FORCE WINDS...ARE ALREADY OCCURRING OVER PORTIONS OF THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES FROM NORTH CAROLINA NORTHWARD TO LONG ISLAND. GALE FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO SPREAD OVER OTHER PORTIONS OF THE MID-ATLANTIC COAST...NEW YORK CITY...AND SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND LATER THIS MORNING. WINDS OF HURRICANE FORCE COULD REACH THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES...INCLUDING NEW YORK CITY AND LONG ISLAND...LATER TODAY. WINDS AFFECTING THE UPPER FLOORS OF HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS WILL BESIGNIFICANTLY STRONGER THAN THOSE NEAR GROUND LEVEL.

Storm Surge Outlook

Monday 8:15 a.m.

As predicted, Hurricane Sandy has strengthened in the last 24 hours. It has begun it's turn toward the East Coast. The barometric pressure has dropped to record levels, the winds have picked up to about 85 miles per hour, and Sandy has grown in size. Sandy now spans 1,000 miles. While it's still at least 300 miles from landfall, tropical storm strength winds (sustained winds above 39 mph) are already being felt on shore.

Record storm surges are expected, which is why hundreds of thousands of residents from Maryland to Connecticut were ordered to leave low-lying coastal areas. Some 375,000 people were ordered to leave lower Manhattan and other parts of New York City.

NOAA and the National Hurricane Center are predicting storm surges of 6-11 feet in the New York City area. How bad is that? For context, during Hurricane Irene last year, the storm surge at Battery Park hit 4.4 feet. The maximum surge during Irene was 4.5 feet in the New York City area, at Kings Point.

Currently, the storm surge is already at 4 feet at Kings Point, according to the Weather Channel.

Here's the National Hurricane Center 8 a.m. outlook on storm surge:

NC NORTH OF SURF CITY INCLUDING PAMLICO/ALBEMARLE SOUNDS...4 TO 6 FT SE VA AND DELMARVA INCLUDING LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY...2 TO 4 FT UPPER AND MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY...1 TO 3 FT LONG ISLAND SOUND...RARITAN BAY...AND NEW YORK HARBOR...6 TO 11 FT ELSEWHERE FROM OCEAN CITY MD TO THE CT/RI BORDER...4 TO 8 FT CT/RI BORDER TO THE SOUTH SHORE OF CAPE COD INCLUDING BUZZARDS BAY AND NARRAGANSETT BAY...3 TO 6 FT CAPE COD TO THE MA/NH BORDER INCLUDING CAPE COD BAY...2 TO 4 FT MA/NH BORDER TO THE U.S./CANADA BORDER...1 TO 3 FT