The National Weather Service warned on Sunday afternoon that Hurricane Sandy brings with it a "life-threatening" storm surge that will hit the Mid-Atlantic coast, Long Island Sound and New York Harbor.
As of Sunday afternoon, Sandy was lumbering along at 14 mph, its center still 575 miles south of New York City. But the storm's hurricane-force winds extend out 175 miles from the center, so its effects will be felt in Connecticut long before it hits landfall Monday, likely now in Central New Jersey.
Carl Parker, the Weather Channel's Hurricane Specialist, emphasized Sunday that this is a historic storm that may cause unprecedented damage to a large swath of the heavily populated Northeastern United States.
Parker said the low pressures recorded from the storm are hitting levels never seen before, which is "a measure of how strong and energetic this storm is."
Connecticut shoreline towns continued to issue evacuation orders throughout the day on Sunday, and many towns further inland have canceled school for up to three days. New York City is evacuating 375,000 people from lower-lying areas and shutting down the transit system on Sunday evening.
Amtrak and Metro-North trains will halt at 7 p.m. and CT Transit buses will stop at midnight Sunday, according to The Hartford Courant.
Fox CT Chief Meteorologist Joe Furey said Sunday that some minor flooding had already occurred in some shoreline areas because winds were elevating the levels of water in Long Island Sound. "It's not good," he said.
Forecasters are calling for rain to begin Sunday night, with conditions deteriorating on Monday. Connecticut should be experiencing the worst of the storm on Monday night into early Tuesday, though winds will continue to gust through Wednesday and rain may linger into Thursday.
Rainfall forecasts for inland parts of Connecticut have decreased, along with the threat of flooding. While forecasters on Saturday were talking about up to 6 inches of rain, the forecasts are now to 1-3 inches with 4 inches in some spots.
Wind gusts of up to 60 mph will still be a problem, however, across the state and will likely cause widespread power outages as trees and branches fall across power lines. If Sandy makes its turn west at a point further north than New Jersey, Connecticut will feel even stronger winds.