NEW YORK -- The nation's largest city braced for Hurricane Sandy as forecasters said the monster storm picked up strength and was headed toward the New York region, packing high winds and rain and a wall of water that could reach 11 feet. Sandy is starting to move faster and could make landfall in New Jersey as early as 5 p.m. ET, the Weather Channel reported. The storm has strengthened as it moves along the Eastern Seaboard threatening some 50 million people, many who have evacuated coastal cities. Winds have been measured at 90 mph, which is a strong Category 1 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. Wind gusts were reported as high as 115 mph. Sandy remains a monster storm as tropical-storm-force winds of at least 39 to 73 mph are being felt all the way from southern Maine to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.