Hurricane Sandy gaining strength, now a Category 2 storm as it made landfall in southern Cuba. Wind gusts are up to 114mph.
A tropical storm warning is now in effect for Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
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A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
At 11 p.m. the center of Hurricane Sandy was moving North at 13 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue through Thursday accompanied by a gradual increase in forward speed.
Sandy made landfall over southeastern Jamaica near Kingston Wednesday afternoon.
Maximum sustained winds are 90 mph with higher gusts.
Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles from the center.
Although it is unlikely that Sandy will make landfall in Florida, this storm will likely pass close enough to generate some unfavorable conditions for the end of the work week.
The track for Sandy has been very consistent, with the storm moving over Cuba and into the Bahamas. Cuba will have a little time to weaken the storm quite a bit. After the Bahamas, the storm may briefly head out into the Atlantic, but several of the reliable models have it swinging back west and slamming into the mid-Atlantic states or New England.
On the current track, Sandy will be the toughest on us Thursday night through late Friday/early Saturday morning.
What you can expect:
At this point in time it appears this will mainly be a wind and marine event, with at least Tropical Storm Force wind gusts, and huge seas in the 10-20 feet range.
Rainfall of one to three inches is possible along the coast, but the flooding potential is low.
The degree of impact on our area will large depend on whether Sandy travels on the east or west side of the error cone. The most likely scenario brings rain bands through Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast that will contain some periods of very heavy rain and very strong winds.
Sustained winds for our entire area will increase and become quite gusty even without passing rain bands. Additionally, boating and beach conditions will be very dangerous. Waves will be quite high and rip currents will be prevalent. Some beach erosion can be expected.