October 28, 2012 - 17:14 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Hurricane Sandy headed north from the Caribbean — where it left nearly 60 dead — to threaten the eastern U.S. with sheets of rain, high winds and heavy snow as officials warned millions in coastal areas to get out of the way of the behemoth storm, AP reported.
Sandy was expected to affect up to 60 million people when it meets two other powerful winter storms. Experts said it didn't matter how strong the storm was when it hit land: The rare hybrid that follows will cause havoc over 800 miles (1,300 kilometres) from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.
"This is not a coastal threat alone," said Craig Fugate, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "This is a very large area."
Governors from North Carolina, where heavy rain was expected Sunday, October 28, to Connecticut declared states of emergency. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities by 8 p.m. Saturday. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency Saturday as hundreds of coastal residents started moving inland and the state was set to close its casinos. New York's governor was considering shutting down the subways to avoid flooding and half a dozen states warned residents to prepare for several days of lost power.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Sandy will continue moving parallel to the Southeast coast most of the day and approach the coast of the mid-Atlantic states by Monday night. At 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT) Sunday, it was centred about 260 miles (418 kilometres) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The vast storm system was packing 75-mph (120-kph) sustained winds and little change in strength in the large and powerful storm was expected in coming days.
Forecasters say tropical storm conditions are spreading over North Carolina's coastline and gale-force winds should begin being felt along portions of the mid-Atlantic coast later Sunday with higher winds likely after that.
The storm forced the presidential campaign to juggle schedules. Romney scrapped plans to campaign Sunday in the swing state of Virginia and switched his schedule for the day to Ohio. First lady Michelle Obama cancelled an appearance in New Hampshire for Tuesday, and President Barack Obama moved a planned Monday departure for Florida to Sunday night to beat the storm.