[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.
See which superstorms make the list of the top 10 most intense hurricanes in U.S. history in the gallery below.
Correction: The story was edited to include the infographic.