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Hurricane Sandy Barrels Toward Eastern Seaboard

Hurricane Sandy gained strength on Monday as it barreled north across the Atlantic and began an expected sharp turn west toward New York, New Jersey, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. It was expected to make landfall by Monday evening.

As of 8 a.m. ET Monday, the superstorm was a category 1 hurricane, 260 miles southeast of Atlantic City, producing sustained winds of 85 miles per hour and traveling at 20 mph toward the eastern seaboard, according to the National Hurricane Center. Watch its progress here.

The center of the storm is expected to make landfall along the heavily-populated New Jersey and Long Island late Monday, delivering heavy rain, hurricane-force wind gusts, life-threatening storm surge and power outages that could last for several days. It is spans an unusually large area, stretching more than 700 miles wide, with hurricane-force winds expected to stretch 175 miles from the storm’s center. You can track the storm’s progress with this Google map.

Sandy’s sheer strength is due to a convergence of factors. As one storm moved west from the Bahamas, a system known as a midlatitude trough moved across the country from the west expecting to add energy. Plus, “a blast of arctic air is expected to sweep down through the Canadian Plains just as the two storms converge,” the New York Times reported. Monday’s full moon will add to high tide levels.

Greg Postel of the Weather Channel describes it this way: “It’s almost like we have a hurricane-like feature inside of a Nor’easter.”

By Monday morning, public transit systems in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., had all shut down and hundreds of thousands had been ordered to evacuate including all of Coney Island and Lower Manhattan, low-lying areas in Philadelphia and many coastal cities.

The NewsHour kept a live blog to follow Monday’s events. View it below:

You can also follow storm updates on this twitter feed: