Sandy brings flooding to south Merrick, south Bellmore before it strikes New Jersey

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“Reports from an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 85 mph, with higher gusts. The combination of an extremely dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters,” the hurricane center noted in its briefing.

Forecasters at the center said Sandy was expected to morph from a hurricane into a winter low-pressure system as it makes landfall, but they warned that it will remain as powerful as a hurricane and will only lose intensity as it churns north across New Jersey, and parts of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and upstate New York over the next three days.

According to hurricane center maps, Sandy should hook around Long Island, but officials said the storm would not spare the area. Flooding and downed trees and power lines are expected here, and New York City could bear the brunt of the heaviest tidal surges.

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