While government forecasters have called the projected storm surge on the New York metro area the "worst case scenario," Hurricane Sandy remains a category 1 hurricane.

[Scroll down for Infographic and slideshow]

Yet, the superstorm's climbing barometric pressure is more typical of category 3 or category 4 storms, making it likely that Hurricane Sandy will rank relatively high on the list of the most intense hurricanes to hit the U.S. since 1851.

According to a recent bulletin from NOAA's National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Sandy's minimum central pressure is hovering around 940 millibars. Comparatively, Hurricane Katrina, which hit Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005, was classified as a category 3 hurricane with a barometric pressure of 920 millibars -- making it slightly more intense than Hurricane Sandy's present levels.

most-intense-hurricanes-chart

See which superstorms make the list of the top 10 most intense hurricanes in U.S. history in the gallery below.

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  • No. 10: Texas -- Carla

    Year: 1961 Category: 4 Barometric Pressure: 931 millibars, 27.49 inches

  • No. 8: Florida, Mississippi, Alabama And Pensacola -- Unnamed

    Year: 1926 Category: 4 Barometric Pressure: 930 millibars, 27.46 inches (Source: <a href="http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf">NOAA</a>)

  • No. 8: Florida And Eastern U.S. -- Donna

    Year: 1960 Category: 4 Barometric Pressure: 930 millibars, 27.46 inches (Source: <a href="http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf">NOAA</a>)

  • No. 7: Lake Okeechobee, Florida -- Unnamed

    Year: 1928 Category: 4 Barometric Pressure: 929 millibars, 27.43 inches (Source: <a href="http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf">NOAA</a>)

  • No. 6: Florida Keys And Texas -- Unnamed

    Year: 1919 Category: 4 Barometric Pressure: 927 millibars, 27.37 inches (Source: <a href="http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf">NOAA</a>)

  • No. 5: Indianola, Texas -- Unnamed

    Year: 1886 Category: 4 Barometric Pressure: 925 millibars, 27.31 inches (Source: <a href="http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf">NOAA</a>)

  • No. 4: Florida And Louisiana -- Andrew

    Year: 1992 Category: 5 Barometric Pressure: 922 millibars, 27.23 inches (Source: <a href="http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf">NOAA</a>)

  • No. 3: Louisiana And Mississippi -- Katrina

    Year: 2005 Category: 3 Barometric Pressure: 920 millibars, 27.17 inches (Source: <a href="http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf">NOAA</a>)

  • No. 2: Mississippi, Louisiana And Virginia -- Camille

    Year: 1969 Category: 5 Barometric Pressure: 909 millibars, 26.84 inches (Source: <a href="http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf">NOAA</a>)

  • No. 1: Florida Keys -- Unnamed

    Year: 1935 Category: 5 Barometric Pressure: 892 millibars, 26.35 inches (Source: <a href="http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf">NOAA</a>)

Correction: The story was edited to include the infographic.

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