Hurricane Sandy: Latest developments

Storm surge hits a small tree as winds from Hurricane Sandy reach Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Conn., Oct. 29, 2012. AP Photo/Jessica Hill

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

As the center of Sandy makes landfall on the eastern seaboard, here's a breakdown of the storm and its impact:

Winds slowing: Sandy has weakened from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone Monday evening, with high-packing winds sustained at 85 mph. Forecasters warn the storm has hurricane characteristics and is still very dangerous.

Picking up speed: Just in the last few hours, Sandy has gone from traveling 18 mph to 28 mph, significantly pushing up its expected landfall. The center of the storm is coming ashore any moment now.

That means it is hitting land before high tides come in, but the impact of that on coastal flooding is still unclear.

Surge: Among the many dangers posed by Sandy, storm surge is possibly the most significant. Flooding has already been seen in parts of Maryland and New Jersey and water levels have risen around southern Manhattan.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said a fishing pier in the beach resort of Ocean City, not far from a popular boardwalk and amusement park, was "half-gone." The area had been ordered evacuated on Sunday.

Portions of Atlantic City, N.J., were flooded Monday afternoon. All the casinos in the city were ordered closed Sunday - just the fourth time that has happened.

Water was already a foot deep on the streets of Lindenhurst, N.Y., along the southern edge of Long Island, and the canals around the island's Great South Bay were bulging two hours before high tide.

Forecasters warned that New York City and Long Island could be on the dangerous northeastern edge of the tempest and bear the worst of the storm surge -- a wall of seawater up to 11 feet high that could swamp lower Manhattan, flood subway tunnels and cripple the network of electrical and communications lines that are vital to the nation's financial center.

Location: As 7:30 p.m. approached, the storm's center was moving west-northwest toward the southern New Jersey coast at 28 miles per hour, with landfall expected shortly.

Outages: More than a million-and-a-half customers are without power across several East Coast states and as many as 10 million might be affected by the time the storm's full affect is felt.

Travel: Nearly 10,000 flights have been canceled Monday and Tuesday, almost all storm-related, according to FlightAware. With major carriers canceling all flights at the three New York-area airports, a ripple effect of delays can be expected across the U.S. and worldwide.

After shutting down subway and train service in New York City, authorities also closed two major tunnels into Manhattan, the Holland and Brooklyn Battery.

Evacuations: Hundreds of thousands are under orders to evacuate coastal regions, including 375,000 in New York City, 50,000 in Delaware and 30,000 in Atlantic City. At a mid-morning news conference, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that time was running out for those ordered to evacuate, saying that those people "should have left already."

States of emergency: President Barack Obama has declared emergencies in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, authorizing federal relief work to begin well ahead of time. He promised the government would "respond big and respond fast" after the storm hits.

"My message to the governors as well as to the mayors is anything they need, we will be there, and we will cut through red tape," Mr. Obama said. "We are not going to get bogged down with a lot of rules."

Campaigns affected: Sandy has disrupted planned events for both presidential campaigns just over a week before Election Day.

In Virginia, one of the most competitive states, election officials eased absentee voting requirements for those affected by the storm. Three other closely contested states, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Ohio, were within Sandy's reach. Early voting was canceled Monday in Maryland and Washington, D.C., both reliably Democratic.

Not just the coast: The confluence of weather patterns is also expected to bring heavy snows in areas inland.

Parts of West Virginia are already blanketed with snow and could see up to three feet of snow.

HMS Bounty: A three-masted ship that looked straight from an earlier century got caught in Hurricane Sandy's wrath and began taking on water, forcing the crew into lifeboats in rough seas off the North Carolina coast. The Coast Guard rescued 14 people by helicopter Monday, but two people were missing.

The 180-foot HMS Bounty, which has been featured in Hollywood films such as "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," had left Connecticut last week en route to Florida.

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