- uploaded: Oct 29, 2012
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New York City workers were working to protect the country's largest public-transit system and New Jersey declared a state of emergency as monster Hurricane Sandy churned up the Eastern Seaboard toward landfall.Tens of millions of on-edge residents awaited what could be the worst storm in the region's history as governments, businesses and citizens continued to make emergency preparations for torrential rain, high winds and flooding.Enlarge ImageHurricane Sandy's projected path as of Saturday morning.Officials in the East, New England and the Midwest were taking preparatory steps ahead of the storm, which was dubbed "Frankenstorm" by weather forecasters because Hurricane Sandy could collide with a cold front coming from the West and with cold air streaming down from Canada.Sandy could grow into a fiercer storm by tapping into the energy of the two other weather systems."Definitely, tens of millions will see effects from Sandy, and some of the heaviest effects will be, unfortunately, from I-95 eastward to the coastline," including densely populated metro areas such as New York City, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, said Alan Reppert, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.com, on Saturday. Read: Hurricane Sandy: What homeowners need to know."We're looking at impact of greater than 50 to 60 million people," The Associated Press quoted Louis Uccellini, head of environmental prediction for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as saying.As Hurricane Sandy barreled north from the Caribbeanwhere it left nearly five dozen deadto meet two other powerful winter storms, experts said it didn't matter how strong the storm was when it hit land: The rare hybrid storm that follows will cause havoc over 800 miles 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."On Sunday, the storm was packing 75-mph winds and was expected to create a significant storm surge, a 2 a.m. Eastern update from the National Hurricane Center said.Sandy was centered 260 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and hurricane-force winds extended 105 miles out from the center, the NHC reported. Tropical-storm-strength winds extended as far as 520 miles, the agency said.Gale-force winds were expected to arrive along portions of the mid-Atlantic coast by late Sunday or Sunday night, and reach Long Island and Southern New England by Monday morning, said the NHC update. Click here for National Hurricane Center."There will be school closures, travel will be messed up for days and major airports will be closed," said Henry Margusity, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather, on Saturday. "This could be a disaster of biblical proportionsa multibillion-dollar disaster."Under a worst-case scenario, New York could face the most intense storm in its history. See related story by meteorologist Eric Holthaus on how storm has potential to break weather records.The storm could bring in high winds and heavy rain to New York City that could make operating transit lines, tunnels and bridges dangerous. Nearly 15 million people in a 5,000-square-mile area stretching from New York City through Long Island, southeastern New York state and Connecticut.