Hurricane Sandy is seen churning towards the east coast of the United States is this NOAA handout satellite image taken on October 27, 2012. Image taken October 27, 2012. (Photo : Reuters/NOAA Handout)
Hurricane Sandy is slowly moving away from the Bahamas and Florida as it makes its way north along the East Coast, the National Hurricane Center said on Saturday morning. According to the Miami-based center, Sandy has extended tropical storm force winds up near the North Carolina coast. As of Saturday morning, the death toll in the Caribbean in the wake of Sandy stood at 43 people.
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Despite losing strength Friday night into Saturday morning, Sandy strengthened back up to hurricane status, regaining its Category 1 level. The NHC reported that the hurricane reached maximum sustained winds of nearly 75 mph and was not expected to experience any changes in strength in the next few days. Hurricane force winds extend out up to 105 miles, the center said in its 11 a.m. ET advisory. Tropical storm force winds extend up to 450 miles from the center.
Hurricane Sandy is expected to continue moving north-northeast near 9 mph, with "a general northeastward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected on Sunday," the center said. The NHC reported that a turn towards the north is expected by Sunday night as it moves parallel to the southeast coast of the U.S.
On Saturday, the NHC discontinued its tropical storm watches and warnings along Florida's east coast and made updates to its tropical storm warning and watch advisories. The updated tropical storm warning was issued for South Santee River, S.C. to Duck, N.C., Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, and Great Abaco and Grand Bahamas Islands. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Savannah River to South Santee River and Bermuda. The NHC added, "In addition, gale storm and high wind watches and warnings are in effect for areas north of the tropical storm warning areas."
The National Hurricane Center warned that storm surge could lead to eight feet of flooding in some parts of the East Coast. According to the Miami-based center, parts of North Carolina could see up to five feet of flooding while parts of the Mid-Atlantic states, as far north as Connecticut, could see up to eight feet of flooding.
Apart from storm surge, Sandy is expected to produce up to 12 inches or rainfall along the East Coast. The NHC warned that rainfall totals of up to eight inches were possible in North Carolina and parts of the Mid-Atlantic States, "with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches possible."
People along the East Coast are preparing for Hurricane Sandy, dubbed the Frankenstorm, which is expected to bring high winds, heavy rain, major coastal flooding, beach erosion and even wet, heavy snow to some Mid-Atlantic states.
The National Hurricane Center will release the next complete advisory at 2 p.m. ET. Look out for continuous updates from Latinos Post throughout the day.
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