The problems with a once in a lifetime storm is that there are no previous experiences to gage exactly what will happen. What is clear is that models are within 50 miles of each other and most likely Sandy will hit around central or northern New Jersey.
Unfortunately, that is the worst possible scenario for the larger New York City metropolitan area. Especially Long Island and New Jersey can expect possible massive destruction along the coast line. Storm surges are projected in some areas to be from five to ten feet with waves of 15 feet on top of the surge! That surge could also hit Connecticut, Rhode Island and Cape Cod quite hard.
To put that in perspective the storm surge at Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan was a mere 3.8 feet doing Hurricane Irene two years ago. That mild storm surge almost topped the flood wall and came close to flooding all of lower Manhattan.
The intensity of the storm will be similar to Hurricane Ike which hit the Texas Coast in 2008 (see photograph above) which killed well over 100 people and wiped entire towns off the map. Houston saw a shower of glass from its skyscrapers in that storm. The barometric pressure will be close to that of the Great New England Hurricane of 1938.
Winds could blow out thousands of windows in the metro area skyscrapers. Expect trees to fall into house and unto cars. Roofs could blow off less secure and built homes.
Power will be out for tens of millions of people in the area and could be out for days. Rainfall will be somewhere in the five to seven inch neighborhood.
With can most likely now expect hurricane forces winds in New York City and tropical storm force winds for maybe as long as two days.