(Photo: Reuters/Randall Hill)
Major East Coast cities – including Washington, Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia and Boston – are bracing for the impact with Hurricane Sandy moving up the Atlantic coast early Sunday amid fears that it might meet two other powerful winter storms to form a hybrid "superstorm" spanning over 700 miles.
As of early Sunday, Sandy remained on track to become a historical storm, according to AccuWeather.com.
National Hurricane Center said Sandy was located about 275 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with top sustained winds of 75 miles per hour early Sunday. It was moving over the Atlantic parallel to the U.S. coast at 14 miles per hour, but was forecast to make a tight westerly turn toward the coast on Sunday night.
Sandy is expected to make U.S. landfall on Monday night between Delaware and the New York/New Jersey area.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in some areas of Delaware. Washington, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina have declared states of emergency, according to Reuters.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the storm could cause the worst flooding the state has seen in more than 70 years.
Direct impacts, including damaging winds, flooding rains, significant storm surge, and heavy snow, are expected for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast United States, forecasters said.
CNN said computer models predict portions of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia could see up to a foot of rain, and communities in and around the Appalachian Mountains could be socked by heavy snow.
The storm is expected to affect tens of millions of people in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
What makes Sandy exceptional is its width. Its hurricane force winds extended 105 miles from its center while its lesser tropical storm-force winds reached across 700 miles.
Sandy killed at least 66 people making its way through the Caribbean islands, including 51 in Haiti.
President Barack Obama canceled a campaign trip to Virginia scheduled on Monday, and also to Colorado on Tuesday. Republican challenger Mitt Romney also rescheduled campaign events planned for Virginia.