Hurricane Sandy's winds are expected to be worst here from Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon, according to a high-wind watch just issued Saturday afternoon by the National Weather Service, which is getting a better idea of what to expect from the storm.

Northeast winds are expected to increase to 30 to 40 mph with gusts of 50 to 60 mph Monday morning, becoming east winds at 50 to 55 mph with gusts of 70 to 80 mph Monday afternoon and evening, according to the weather service. The winds will then become southeast at 35 to 45 mph with gusts of 50 to 60 mph late Monday night into Tuesday.

These winds, according to the weather service, pose "a significant threat to life and property."

With winds this strong — stronger than what Irene brought last year — expect the downing of trees and large tree branches, causing power outages — road blocks — that could last for days. "Minor structural damage to buildings and homes is possible," according to the weather service.

A coastal flood watch remains in effect from Sunday through Monday night. An inland flood watch has been issued for southern Connecticut from early Monday through Tuesday afternoon.

Sandy is expected to bring two to six inches of rain from early Monday through Tuesday, according to the weather service. "The highest rainfall amounts are expected in the higher elevations — and in areas that experience prolonged heavy rain bands," according to the weather service. "Rainfall rates of one to two inches per hour are possible in the heaviest bands."

These rainfall amounts would cause "widespread urban and poor drainage flooding Monday morning into Tuesday — with flooding of flashy, fast-responding streams likely as well."

Flooding could be increased by fallen leaves clogging drains.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, Sandy continued to pick up speed a bit, now moving northeast at 13 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Earlier today it was moving at 9 mph.

Sandy is expected to continue moving northeast through Sunday then turn toward the north Sunday night before turning toward the north-northwest on Monday. It is still expected to move parallel to the Eastern Seaboard before turning toward New Jersey.

Its hurricane-force winds extend up to 105 miles from the eye of the storm. And the tropical storm force winds extend up to 520 miles from the center.