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Megastorm could wreak havoc across eastern US

 Beachgoers walk in the wind and rain as waves generated by Hurricane Sandy crash into Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 as ...
 A vehicle drives along the beach as waves generated by Hurricane Sandy crash ashore in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. Hurricane Sandy, upg...
 Huge waves crash as onlookers peer from Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C.,  as Hurricane Sandy churns up the east coast  Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. Hu...
 Large waves generated by Hurricane Sandy crash into Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 as the storm moves up the east coast....
 Hannah Smith, 4, looks over a pile of sandbags as her dad, Charles, checks their stability in front of their home along Ocean View Avenue Saturday, O...
 Richard Caguilat, left, William Disburger, right, and Carol Seymour remove a large sign from the Sea Shell Ice Cream shop in Wildwood, N.J., Saturday...
 Vehicles drive across Roanoke Sound leaving Hatteras Island in Nags Head, N.C., as as Hurricane Sandy churns up the east coast Saturday, Oct. 27, 201...
 Annemarie Jarman, and her dog "Bruges," walk along the edge of the beach that is mostly empty as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the east coast, Saturd...
 Cody Billotte walks through the high water as he loads his car to go to work as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, ...
 Waves pound Carolina Beach pier in Carolina Beach, N.C., Saturday, Oct 27, 2012 as Hurricane Sandy churns in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Sandy, upg...
 Cody Billotte walks through the high water as he gets in his car to go to work as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012...
 High winds blow sea foam into the air as a person walks across Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, as wind and rain from Hurri...

Superstorm

Beachgoers walk in the wind and rain as waves generated by Hurricane Sandy crash into Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 as ...

Superstorm

A vehicle drives along the beach as waves generated by Hurricane Sandy crash ashore in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. Hurricane Sandy, upg...

Superstorm

Huge waves crash as onlookers peer from Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., as Hurricane Sandy churns up the east coast Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. Hu...

APTOPIX Superstorm

Large waves generated by Hurricane Sandy crash into Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 as the storm moves up the east coast....

Superstorm

Hannah Smith, 4, looks over a pile of sandbags as her dad, Charles, checks their stability in front of their home along Ocean View Avenue Saturday, O...

Superstorm

Richard Caguilat, left, William Disburger, right, and Carol Seymour remove a large sign from the Sea Shell Ice Cream shop in Wildwood, N.J., Saturday...

Superstorm

Vehicles drive across Roanoke Sound leaving Hatteras Island in Nags Head, N.C., as as Hurricane Sandy churns up the east coast Saturday, Oct. 27, 201...

Superstorm

Annemarie Jarman, and her dog "Bruges," walk along the edge of the beach that is mostly empty as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the east coast, Saturd...

Superstorm

Cody Billotte walks through the high water as he loads his car to go to work as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, ...

Superstorm

Waves pound Carolina Beach pier in Carolina Beach, N.C., Saturday, Oct 27, 2012 as Hurricane Sandy churns in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Sandy, upg...

Superstorm

Cody Billotte walks through the high water as he gets in his car to go to work as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012...

APTOPIX Superstorm

High winds blow sea foam into the air as a person walks across Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, as wind and rain from Hurri...

Tens of millions of people in the eastern third of the U.S. in the path of a massive freak storm had braced Sunday for the first raindrops that were expected later in the day, to be followed over the next few days by sheets of rain, high winds and even heavy snow.
The warning from officials to anyone who might be affected was simple: Be prepared and get out of the way.
Hurricane Sandy was headed north from the Caribbean, where it left nearly five dozen dead, to meet a winter storm and a cold front, plus high tides from a full moon, and experts said the rare hybrid storm that results will cause havoc over 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.
The danger was hardly limited to coastal areas. Forecasters were far more worried about inland flooding from the storm surge than they were about winds. Rains could saturate the ground, causing trees to topple into power lines, utility officials said, warning residents to prepare for several days at home without power.
States of emergency were declared from North Carolina, where gusty winds whipped steady rain on Sunday morning, to Connecticut. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities by 8 p.m. Sunday.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered New York City's transit service to suspend bus, subway and commuter rail service starting at 7 p.m. (2300 GMT) Sunday in advance of the storm. The city closed the subways before Hurricane Irene last year, and a Columbia University study predicted that an Irene surge just 1 foot (30 centimeters) higher would have paralyzed lower Manhattan.
Sandy was at Category 1 strength, packing 75 mph (120 kph) winds, about 260 miles (418 kilometers) southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and moving northeast at 10 mph (16 kph) as of 8 a.m. (1200 GMT) Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was about 395 miles (635 kilometers) south of New York City.
The storm was expected to continue moving parallel to the Southeast coast most of the day and approach the coast of the mid-Atlantic states by Monday night, before reaching southern New England later in the week.
The storm was so big, however, and the convergence of the three storms so rare, that "we just can't pinpoint who is going to get the worst of it," said Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was criticized for not interrupting a vacation in Florida while a snowstorm pummeled the state in 2010, broke off campaigning for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in North Carolina on Friday to return home.
"I can be as cynical as anyone," said Christie, who declared a state of emergency Saturday. "But when the storm comes, if it's as bad as they're predicting, you're going to wish you weren't as cynical as you otherwise might have been."
Up and down the Eastern Seaboard and far inland, officials urged residents and businesses to prepare in ways big and small.
Amtrak began canceling passenger train service Saturday night to parts of the East Coast, including between Washington and New York. Airlines started moving planes out of airports to avoid damage and adding Sunday flights out of New York and Washington in preparation for flight cancellations on Monday.
The Virginia National Guard was authorized to call up to 500 troops to active duty for debris removal and road-clearing, while homeowners stacked sandbags at their front doors in coastal towns.
President Barack Obama was monitoring the storm and working with state and locals governments to make sure they get the resources needed to prepare, administration officials said.
In North Carolina's Outer Banks, there was some scattered, minor flooding at daybreak Sunday on the beach road in Nags Head. The bad weather could pick up there later in the day, with the major concerns being rising tides and pounding waves.
In New Jersey, hundreds of coastal residents started moving inland. Christie's emergency declaration will force the shutdown of Atlantic City's 12 casinos for only the fourth time in the 34-year history of legalized gambling there. City officials said they would begin evacuating the gambling hub's 30,000 residents at noon Sunday, busing them to mainland shelters and schools.
"I've been here since 1997, and I never even put my barbecue grill away during a storm," Russ Linke said shortly before he and his wife left the Jersey shore barrier island town of Ship Bottom on Saturday. "But I am taking this one seriously. They say it might hit here. That's about as serious as it can get."
He and his wife secured the patio furniture, packed the bicycles into the pickup truck, and headed off the island.
The storm also forced the presidential campaign to juggle schedules. Romney scrapped plans to campaign Sunday in Virginia and switched his schedule for the day to Ohio. First lady Michelle Obama canceled an appearance in New Hampshire for Tuesday, and Obama moved a planned Monday departure for Florida to Sunday night to beat the storm. He also canceled appearances in Northern Virginia on Monday and Colorado on Tuesday.
___
Breed reported from Raleigh, North Carolina. Contributing to this report were AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington; Emery Dalesio in Nags Head, North Carolina.; Karen Matthews and Samantha Bomkamp in New York; Randall Chase in Lewes, Delaware.; Jessica Gresko in Arlington, Virginia; and Nancy Benac in Washington.


Updated : 2021-03-09 03:44 GMT+08:00