An early morning forecast from the National Hurricane Center in Miami on Sunday showed forecast models agreeing that New Jersey is the likely victim of a direct hit by the storm currently known as Hurricane Sandy.
"There is no change in the track forecast philosophy," an update from the hurricane center said.
Sandy is expected, forecasters said, to move northeasterly for the next 18 hours, or so, then make a northwesterly turn toward the Jersey Shore. The exact point of landfall is still up in the air, but the massive physical size of the storm means the entire New Jersey coast – as well as inland areas – are in for a serious weather event.
The storm is expected to remain at hurricane strength through late Monday night, packing winds of 80 m.p.h. when it comes onshore.
"Options for the storm to miss our area are rapidly dwindling," a summary from the National Weather Service office in Mount Holly said in a late-night update. "Confidence on the storm having a major impact on our region continues to increase. The focus of efforts should be on when Sandy hits our region, not if Sandy hits our region."
As it mentioned in a previous advisory, the hurricane center said it would not lengthen the watch or warning area northward toward the mid-Atlantic region since Sandy may no longer be considered a tropical system once it reaches the area.
Instead, official advisories for the storm would come in the form of high wind warnings and various marine warnings issued by local National Weather Service offices.
The latest official tracking map shows Sandy will make landfall somewhere in the southern Ocean County area, near Long Beach Island or Brigantine, in Atlantic County.