SHIP BOTTOM, N.J. — Forget distinctions like tropical storm or hurricane. Don't get fixated on a particular track. Wherever it hits, the rare behemoth storm inexorably gathering in the eastern U.S. will afflict a third of the country with sheets of rain, high winds and heavy snow, say officials who warned millions in coastal areas to get out of the way.

"We're looking at impact of greater than 50 to 60 million people," said Louis Uccellini, head of environmental prediction for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As Hurricane Sandy barreled north from the Caribbean – where it left nearly five dozen dead – to 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."

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.

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.

Sandy weakened briefly to a tropical storm early Saturday but was soon back up to Category 1 strength, packing 75 mph winds about 355 miles southeast of Charleston, S.C., as of 8 p.m. Experts said the storm was most likely to hit the southern New Jersey coastline by late Monday or early Tuesday.

Governors from North Carolina, where heavy rain was expected Sunday, to Connecticut declared states of emergency. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities by 8 p.m. Sunday.

Christie, who was widely criticized for not interrupting a family 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," the pugnacious chief executive said in a bit of understatement 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."

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 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 canceled appearances in Northern Virginia on Monday and Colorado on Tuesday.

In Ship Bottom, just north of Atlantic City, Alice and Giovanni Stockton-Rossini spent Saturday packing clothing in the backyard of their home, a few hundred yards from the ocean on Long Beach Island. Their neighborhood was under a voluntary evacuation order, but they didn't need to be forced.

"It's really frightening," Alice Stockton-Rossi said. "But you know how many times they tell you, `This is it, it's really coming and it's really the big one' and then it turns out not to be? I'm afraid people will tune it out because of all the false alarms before ... (but) this one might be the one."

A few blocks away, Russ Linke was taking no chances. He and his wife secured the patio furniture, packed the bicycles into the pickup truck, and headed off the island.

What makes the storm so dangerous and unusual is that it is coming at the tail end of hurricane season and the beginning of winter storm season, "so it's kind of taking something from both," said Jeff Masters, director of the private service Weather Underground.

Masters said the storm could be bigger than the worst East Coast storm on record – the 1938 New England hurricane known as the Long Island Express, which killed nearly 800 people. "Part hurricane, part nor'easter – all trouble," he said. Experts said to expect high winds over 800 miles and up to 2 feet of snow as far inland as West Virginia.

And the storm was so big, 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.

Officials are particularly worried about the possibility of subway flooding in New York City, said Uccellini.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to prepare to shut the city's subways, buses and suburban trains by Sunday, but delayed making a final decision. The city shut the subways down before last year's Hurricane Irene, and a Columbia University study predicted that an Irene surge just 1 foot higher would have paralyzed lower Manhattan.

Up and down the Eastern Seaboard and far inland, officials urged residents and businesses to prepare in big ways and little.

On Saturday evening, Amtrak began canceling train service to parts of the East Coast, including between Washington, D.C., and New York.

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. At a Home Depot in Virginia Beach, employee Dave Jusino said the store was swamped with customers.

"We have organized chaos, is what I call it," Jusino said. "We organize a group of 10 associates, give them certain responsibilities and we just separate the lines, organize four customers at a time, load up their cars and get them out the door and then take the next customers."

Utility officials warned rains could saturate the ground, causing trees to topple into power lines, and told residents to prepare for several days at home without power. "We're facing a very real possibility of widespread, prolonged power outages," said Ruth Miller, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

Warren Ellis, who was on an annual fishing pilgrimage on North Carolina's Outer Banks, didn't act fast enough to get home. Ellis' 73-year-old father managed to get off uninhabited Portsmouth Island near Cape Hatteras by ferry Friday. But the son and his camper got stranded when high winds and surf forced the ferry service to suspend operations Saturday.

"We might not get off here until Tuesday or Wednesday, which doesn't hurt my feelings that much," said Ellis, 44, of Amissville, Va. "Because the fishing's going to be really good after this storm."

Last year, Hurricane Irene poked a new inlet through the island, cutting the only road off Hatteras Island for about 4,000.

In Connecticut, the Naval Submarine Base in Groton prepared to install flood gates and pile up sandbags to protect against flooding while its five submarines remain in port through the storm.

Lobsterman Greg Griffen in Maine wasn't taking any chances; he moved 100 of his traps to deep water, where they are less vulnerable to shifting and damage in a storm.

"Some of my competitors have been pulling their traps and taking them right home," said Griffen. The dire forecast "sort of encouraged them to pull the plug on the season."

In Muncy Valley in northern Pennsylvania, Rich Fry learned his lesson from last year, when Tropical Storm Lee inundated his Katie's Country Store.

In between helping customers picking up necessities Saturday, Fry was moving materials above the flood line. Fry said he was still trying to recover from the losses of last year's storm, when he estimates he lost $35,000 in merchandise.

"It will take a lot of years to cover that," he said.

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 here. The approach of Hurricane Irene shut down the casinos for three days last August.

Atlantic City officials said they would begin evacuating the gambling hub's 30,000 residents at noon Sunday, busing them to mainland shelters and schools.

Tom Foley, Atlantic City's emergency management director, recalled the March 1962 storm when the ocean and the bay met in the center of the city.

"This is predicted to get that bad," he said.

Eighty-five-year-old former sailor Ray Leonard said if he had loved ones living in the projected landfall area, he would tell them to leave. Leonard knows to heed the warnings.

He and two crewmates in his 32-foot sailboat, Satori, rode out 1991's infamous "perfect storm," made famous by the Sebastian Junger bestseller of the same name, before being plucked from the Atlantic off Martha's Vineyard, Mass., by a Coast Guard helicopter.

"Don't be rash," Leonard said in a telephone interview Saturday from his home in Fort Myers, Fla. "Because if this does hit, you're going to lose all those little things you've spent the last 20 years feeling good about."

___

Breed reported from Raleigh, N.C. Contributing to this report were AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington; Emery Dalesio in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.; Karen Matthews in New York; Glenn Adams in Augusta, Maine; Randall Chase in Lewes, Del.; Rodrique Ngowi in Boston; Ron Todt in Philadelphia and Nancy Benac in Washington.

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  • Seaside Heights, N.J.

    John Okeefe walks on the beach as a rollercoaster that once sat on the Funtown Pier in Seaside Heights, N.J., rests in the ocean on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 after the pier was washed away by superstorm Sandy which made landfall Monday evening.

  • Ocean City, M.D.

    A National Guard humvee travels through high water to check the area after the effects of Hurricane Sandy Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Ocean City, Md. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses. (Alex Brandon, AP)

  • Lower Manhattan

    Water is pumped on to the street in lower Manhattan in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. The New York region is replacing a rail network built over a century with a patchwork constructed day-by-day to move its 8 million people again as it struggles back to life after Hurricane Sandy.

  • Queens, N.Y.

    People walk by a destroyed section of the Rockaway boardwalk in the heavily damaged Rockaway section of Queens after the historic boardwalk was washed away during Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 31, 2012 in the Queens borough of New York City. With the death toll currently at 55 and millions of homes and businesses without power, the US east coast is attempting to recover from the affects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by Hurricane Sandy. JFK airport in New York and Newark airport in New Jersey expect to resume flights on Wednesday morning and the New York Stock Exchange commenced trading after being closed for two days.

  • Brooklyn Bridge, N.Y.

    Commuters cross New York's Brooklyn Bridge, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. The floodwaters that poured into New York's deepest subway tunnels may pose the biggest obstacle to the city's recovery from the worst natural disaster in the transit system's 108-year history.

  • Storm-Damaged Communities On East Coast Hit By Nor'Easter

    NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 08: Alex Vila, 2, carries a box of cereal after visiting an aid station for people affected by Superstorm Sandy on November 8, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Household supplies and groceries were distributed to Red Hook neighborhood residents by Catholic Charities at the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary church. Meanwhile a nor'easter storm plunged temperatures to below freezing, bringing more misery to many Red Hook residents still without power, heat nor running water in their public housing apartments. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

  • US-WEATHER-STORM-SANDY

    Boats and docks damaged by Hurricane Sandy are seen at the Mansion Marinia on the shores of the Great Kills community November 7, 2012 on Staten Island, New York. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday announced a limited evacuation of some neighborhoods ahead of harsh weather barreling toward a city still recovering from superstorm Sandy. The national weather service forecast heavy rain and likely snow on Wednesday and Thursday, accompanied by gale force winds gusting as high as 43 mph (69 kmh). Though barely half the strength of Sandy, the autumn storm will lash already damaged buildings and bring lower temperatures for tens of thousands of people still struggling without electricity. Bloomberg told a news conference that parks and beaches would close. The worst-hit patches of waterfront neighborhoods, including Rockaways in the Queens borough, and in Staten Island, were being asked to evacuate again. AFP PHOTO/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Storm-Damaged Communities On East Coast Hit By Nor'Easter

    LONG BRANCH, NJ - NOVEMBER 08: Debris from Superstorm Sandy is seen on a beach November 8, 2012 in Long Branch, New Jersey. Meanwhile a nor'easter storm plunged temperatures to below freezing, bringing more misery to many residents throughout New York and New Jersey still without power. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

  • Long Island Residents, Many Still Without Power, Continue To Clean Up After Superstorm Sandy

    OCEANSIDE, NY - NOVEMBER 09: (L-R) James Vouloukos and William Ferris sort through donated clothes at a site maintained by the Town of Hempstead in cooperation with FEMA at Oceanside Park during in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on November 9, 2012 in Oceanside, New York. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said that the economic loss and damage to homes and businesses caused by Sandy could total $33 billion in New York, according to published reports. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • Funeral Held in Brooklyn For Two Young Brothers Killed During Superstorm Sandy

    NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: New York sanitation department workers watch as a hearse arrives with a casket carrying the bodies of two brothers killed during Superstorm Sandy for a funeral at the St. Rose of Lima Catholic church on November 9, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Brandon Moore, 2, and Connor Moore, 4, were swept away from the arms of their mother Glenda Moore as she fled Superstorm Sandy floodwaters in New York's Staten Island borough to seek safety with family in Brooklyn. She is married to New York Sanitation worker Damian Moore, and dozens of workers and officials from the sanitation department attended the funeral ceremony. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

  • Long Island Residents, Many Still Without Power, Continue To Clean Up After Superstorm Sandy

    ISLAND PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: (L-R) Residents Paul and Donald Zezulinski and their dog 'Plywood' of Island Park show their appreciation to first responders during their clean up efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on November 9, 2012 in Island Park, New York. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said that the economic loss and damage to homes and business caused by Sandy could total $33 billion in New York, according to published reports. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 file photo, people stand next to a house collapsed from Superstorm Sandy in East Haven, Conn. While Connecticut was spared the destruction seen in New York and New Jersey, many communities along the shoreline, including some of the wealthiest towns in America, were struggling with one of the most severe storms in generations. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

  • Meg Dolan holds her dog "Nellie" during Sunday mass at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Breezy Point, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in New York. With overnight temperatures sinking into the 30s and hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses still without electricity six days after Sandy howled through, people piled on layers of clothes, and New York City officials handed out blankets and urged victims to go to overnight shelters or daytime warming centers. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • A representative of the Salvation Army walks past homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in Breezy Point, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in New York. The beachfront neighborhood heavy populated by firefighters and police officers was devastated during the storm when a fire pushed by Sandy's raging winds destroyed 100 or more homes and buildings. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Ginny Flanagan, right, and her sister go through photographs and mementos that were recovered from Flanagan's flooded bungalow in Breezy Point, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in New York. The beachfront enclave heavy populated by firefighters and police officers was devastated during the storm when a fire pushed by Sandy's raging winds destroyed 100 or more homes and buildings. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • US-WEATHER-STORM-SANDY-MARATHON

    Runner Jonathan who would have run the ING New York City Marathon, spend the afternoon volunteering by unloading and organizing emergency supplies near Midland Beach as New York recovers from Hurricane Sandy on November 4, 2012 in Staten Island, New York. AFP PHOTO / Mehdi Taamallah (Photo credit should read MEHDI TAAMALLAH/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A woman with her groceries passes a group of National Guardsmen as they march up 1st Avenue towards the 69th Regiment Armory, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in New York. National Guardsmen remain in Manhattan as the city begins to move towards normalcy following Superstorm Sandy earlier in the week. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)

  • Patrons on foot carrying gas canisters line up for gasoline at a Hess station in the New Dorp section of the Staten Island borough of New York, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. Those on foot reported waits up to 40 minutes while motorists lined up for two hours as Staten Islanders fueled up to run their generators and automobiles in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Eileen AJ Connelly)

  • Girls hold hands during Sunday mass at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Breezy Point, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in New York. With overnight temperatures sinking into the 30s and hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses still without electricity six days after Sandy howled through, people piled on layers of clothes, and New York City officials handed out blankets and urged victims to go to overnight shelters or daytime warming centers. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

  • Many streets in the Silver Lake section of Belmar, N.J., remain underwater Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, Neighbors and volunteers clean out homes Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in Belmar, N.J., five days after the storm surge by superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Ben Nukols)

  • Water from superstorm Sandy is pumped from a flooded basement of an office building near New York's Battery Park, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. The massive storm that started out as Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast and morphed into a huge and problematic system, killing at least 96 people in the United States. The cost of the storm could exceed $18 billion in New York alone. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Cars that were uprighted and submerged by Superstorm Sandy remain at the entrance of a subterranean parking garage in New York's Financial District, as the water is pumped out, Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. . The cost of the storm could exceed $18 billion in New York alone. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • National Guard in Lower Manhattan

    The National Guard 827th Engineer Company helps hand out MREs to Lower Manhattan residents at the Alfred Smith Playground on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • National Guard in Lower Manhattan

    The National Guard 827th Engineer Company helps hand out MREs to Lower Manhattan residents at the Alfred Smith Playground on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Grand Central Terminal, New York City

    People walk through Grand Central Terminal as the sun rises during a subdued morning rush on Nov. 1, 2012 in New York City. Some trains are back up and running into Grand Central following shutdowns in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Subway train service in the city is back in a limited capacity, but with much of lower Manhattan still with out power, trains are not running there and busses are replacing them.

  • Seaside Heights, N.J.

    A roller coaster sits in the Atlantic Ocean after the Fun Town pier it sat on was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy on Nov. 1, 2012 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. With the death toll continuing to rise and millions of homes and businesses without power, the U.S. east coast is attempting to recover from the effects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by Superstorm Sandy.

  • National Guard in Lower Manhattan

    The National Guard 827th Engineer Company helps hand out MREs to Lower Manhattan residents at the Alfred Smith Playground on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Charging Station Provided By AT&T

    Phillip Melly charges the phones of Hurricane Sandy victims at Kimlau Square in Lower Manhattan on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. The generators used were brought in by AT&T to help out the residents of Lower Manhattan in New York City who currently have no power. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Stocking Up On Ice

    United City Ice Cube Company workers who refer to themselves as "Icemen" take in a shipment of ice into their 45th and 10th ave. store on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. The workers who asked not to be identified by name said there had been a run on ice purchases due to Hurricane Sandy and they were stocking up in anticipation of more demand in the coming days. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Car Crash Due To Power Outage

    The power outage in Lower Manhattan due to Hurricane Sandy has created a gauntlet of dangerous street intersections as can be seen by this car accident at the Houston and Varick Street crossing on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Car Crash Due To Power Outage

    The power outage in Lower Manhattan due to Hurricane Sandy has created a gauntlet of dangerous street intersections as can be seen by this car accident at the Houston and Varick Street crossing on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Clean Drinking Water

    Pedestrians fill up on water at a drinking station that had been setup at the corner of Centre and Canal Streets in Chinatown on Friday Nov. 2, 2012. The stations use water from fire hydrants and have been erected due to the blackout caused by Hurricane Sandy in Lower Manhattan. (Damon Dahlen, AOL)

  • Trash Picking In Chinatown

    A pedestrian looks through discarded food near a supermarket located at Henry and Market Streets in Chinatown New York on Friday Nov. 2, 2012.

  • Fort Lee, N.J.

    People wait in line for fuel at a Shell Oil station on Nov. 1, 2012 in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The US death toll from Hurricane Sandy rose to at least 85 as New York reported a major jump in fatalities caused by Monday's storm. Fuel shortages led to long lines of cars at gasoline stations in many states and the country faced a storm bill of tens of billions of dollars.

  • New York City

    Commuters ride the F train Nov. 1, 2012 in New York City. Limited public transit has returned to New York. With the death toll continuing to rise and millions of homes and businesses without power, the U.S. east coast is attempting to recover from the effects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by Superstorm Sandy.

  • Toms River, N.J.

    A gas station displays a "No Gas" sign on November 1, 2012 in Toms River, New Jersey. With the death toll continuing to rise and millions of homes and businesses without power, the U.S. east coast is attempting to recover from the effects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by Superstorm Sandy.

  • Fort Lee, N.J.

    Cars wait in line for fuel at a Gulf gas station on Nov.1, 2012 in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The US death toll from Hurricane Sandy rose to at least 85 as New York reported a major jump in fatalities caused by Monday's storm. Fuel shortages led to long lines of cars at gasoline stations in many states and the country faced a storm bill of tens of billions of dollars.

  • Brooklyn, N.Y.

    New Yorkers wait in traffic as they head into Manhattan from Brooklyn as the city continues to recover from superstorm Sandy on Nov.1, 2012, in New York, United States. Limited public transit has returned to New York and most major bridges have reopened but will require three occupants in the vehicle to pass. With the death toll currently over 70 and millions of homes and businesses without power, the US east coast is attempting to recover from the effects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by superstorm Sandy.

  • Hoboken, N.J.

    Mud and debris liiter a street on Nov.1, 2012 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Hurricane victims continue to recover from Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall along the New Jersey shore, and left parts of the state and the surrounding area flooded and without power.

  • Washington, D.C.

    Firefighters shoot water into a building in the 1200 block of 4th St., NE, near the recently opened Union Market, after responding to a blaze that broke out around 9pm Wednesday night.

  • Seaside Heights, N.J.

    Debris lies on the boardwalk in front of the Casino Pier, which was partially destroyed by Superstorm Sandy on Nov.1, 2012 in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. With the death toll continuing to rise and millions of homes and businesses without power, the U.S. east coast is attempting to recover from the effects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by Superstorm Sandy.

  • Long Island Residents, Many Still Without Power, Continue To Clean Up After Superstorm Sandy

    LONG BEACH, NY - NOVEMBER 09: A man walks past a destroyed section of the boardwalk at the base of Lincoln Boulevard as Long Islanders continue their clean up efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on November 9, 2012 in Long Beach, New York. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said that the economic loss and damage to homes and business caused by Sandy could total $33 billion in New York, according to published reports. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, N.Y.

    A New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer looks over flood waters at the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery tunnel in New York, U.S., on Nov. 1, 2012. The New York region is replacing a rail network built over a century with a patchwork constructed day-by-day to move its 8 million people again as it struggles back to life after Hurricane Sandy.

  • New York City

    Residents charge their cell phones and computers on the East River esplanade in New York, U.S., on Nov. 1, 2012. The New York region is replacing a rail network built over a century with a patchwork constructed day-by-day to move its 8 million people again as it struggles back to life after Hurricane Sandy.

  • Toms River, N.J.

    An American flag flies in front of a home damaged by Hurricane Sandy on Nov. 1, 2012 in Toms River, New Jersey. With the death toll continuing to rise and millions of homes and businesses without power, the U.S. east coast is attempting to recover from the effects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by superstorm Sandy.

  • North Bergen, New Jersey

    A woman leaves an Exxon gas station which was out of gas on Nov. 1, 2012 in North Bergen, New Jersey. The US death toll from Hurricane Sandy rose to at least 85 as New York reported a major jump in fatalities caused by Monday's storm. Fuel shortages led to long lines of cars at gasoline stations in many states and the country faced a storm bill of tens of billions of dollars.

  • Manhattan from Hoboken, N.J.

    People board the NY Waterways ferry with the Manhattan skyline in the background Nov.1, 2012 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall along the New Jersey shore, left parts of the state and the surrounding area without power including much of lower Manhattan south of 34th Street.

  • South Ferry 1 Train Station, New York City

    Joseph Leader, Metropolitan Tranportation Authority Vice President and Chief Maintenance Officer, shines a flashlight on standing water inside the South Ferry 1 train station in New York, N.Y., Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the wake of superstorm Sandy. The floodwaters that poured into New York's deepest subway tunnels may pose the biggest obstacle to the city's recovery from the worst natural disaster in the transit system's 108-year history.

  • Grand Central Terminal, New York City

    People exit a Metro-North train arriving in Grand Central Terminal during the morning rush on Nov. 1, 2012 in New York City. Some trains are back up and running into Grand Central following shutdowns in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Subway train service in the city is back in a limited capacity, but with much of lower Manhattan still with out power, trains are not running there and busses are replacing them.

  • Brooklyn, N.Y.

    Pedestrians look over a fence at a pile of boats flooded inland at the Varuna Boat Club on Oct. 31, 2012, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Sandy, the storm that made landfall Monday, caused multiple fatalities, halted mass transit and cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses.

  • Queens, N.Y.

    Damage is viewed in the Rockaway neighborhood where the historic boardwalk was washed away during Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 31, 2012 in the Queens borough of New York City. With the death toll currently at 55 and millions of homes and businesses without power, the US east coast is attempting to recover from the affects of floods, fires and power outages brought on by Hurricane Sandy. JFK airport in New York and Newark airport in New Jersey expect to resume flights on Wednesday morning and the New York Stock Exchange commenced trading after being closed for two days.

HuffPost's Katie Bindley reports:

Like all the competitors who trained for the 2012 NYC Marathon, Hannah Vahaba will not be running the race this year. But she also will never forget her moment at the finish line. After traveling in from Atlanta, Vahaba picked up a marriage proposal in Central Park on Saturday without having to traverse the 26.2-mile course.

"This is my fiance," said Vahaba, 31, who had tears running down her face as she stood in Central Park where the race would have ended, just moments after Martin O'Donoghue had proposed.

marriage proposal cancelled nyc marathon

Photo by Damon Scheleur

Read the full story here.

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Be sure to check donation lists to see what items are needed. For example, at one Staten Island donation center, there is a critical need for batteries batteries batteries, candles, matches, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, pet food, baby supplies, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner. Clothing isn't needed as much at that center.

-Catharine Smith, HuffPost

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HuffPost's Tim Stenovec reports:

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which killed at least 48 people in New York when it battered the Northeast last week, frustrated residents in this corner of South Brooklyn are coping without electricity, heat and running water.

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Huntington Patch reports:

At a massive food distribution event at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Cuomo said power has been restored to 60 percent of the New York metropolitan area.

LIPA reported Saturday evening that 460,000 customers remained without power, down from more than 900,000 initially.

"I've warned the utility companies repeatedly they operate under a state charter, essentially," Cuomo said. "The utility companies are not happy with my warning and frankly, I don't care."

"The customers are not happy. The bill payers are not happy and the people without power are not happy," Cuomo said. "People are suffering. It is an issue of safety and if the utilities were not prepared we will hold them accountable."

Read the full story on Huntington Patch.

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Even as power returns to parts of the region assailed by Hurricane Sandy, millions of drivers seeking gasoline appear likely to face at least several more days of persistent shortages.

Read the full story here.

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HuffPost's Bianca Bosker:

On Saturday, 27-year-old Kate Frasca was manning Con Edison’s Twitter account, @ConEdison, responding to customers’ frustrations, questions, praise and criticism at an average clip of one tweet every six minutes.

Read the full story here.

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@ USACE_HQ : Roughly 600 M gallons of storm water infiltrated the nation’s busiest and oldest underground mass transit system... http://t.co/5jMXDhRc

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@ MikeBloomberg : If you would like to donate: visit http://t.co/9w8egqxD So far $12 million has been contributed. 100% of funds go to #Recovery efforts.

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@ usNWSgov : Post #Sandy reminders: never touch a downed power line or anything touching one. Washing your hands prevents illness. #NWS #CDC

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@ NYCMayorsOffice : Volunteers Descend on Staten Island Neighborhood http://t.co/9aP3ggJN

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@ usNWSgov : Temps near the freezing mark expected tonight in areas affected by #Sandy. Those without power should prepare for a cold night. #NWS #nywx

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HuffPost's Ben Hallman reports:

For hours, giant waves crashed against Rockaway Beach, making a tremendous roar that could be heard up and down the 11-mile peninsula. "We kept constant watch on the boardwalk," said Diane Hudson, who lives on a high floor in a building about a half block from the Atlantic Ocean. "There was no water on it, so we thought we were OK."

Then she got a call from her boss, and close friend, David Gotthelf, who had just moved into a ground-floor apartment about a mile and a half away, on Beach 115th Street.

"The water is coming in," Hudson said Gotthelf told her. "What do I do? What do I do?"

Hudson looked out the window. In a matter of just a few minutes, the dark ocean had filled the parking lot. The boardwalk was gone. "Just get up on a high place," she said she told her friend. "Get on your bed."

That was the last time anyone talked to Gotthelf, who died Monday night or Tuesday morning, as far as Hudson knows.

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From The New York Times:

The L line from Manhattan to Brooklyn, however, remained flooded Saturday, from what Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, described as “wall to wall” inundation. The G train tunnel was flooded as well and is not expected to be back in service until later this week.'

Read the full story here.

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New Jersey voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy will be able to vote either electronically or by fax under an order issued by state officials on Saturday. Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R), who is also New Jersey's secretary of state, said that voters can request a ballot be sent to them by their local county clerk via email or fax and then return it to the county the same way.

“This has been an extraordinary storm that has created unthinkable destruction across our state and we know many people have questions about how and where to cast their vote in Tuesday’s election," Guadagno said in a statement. "To help alleviate pressure on polling places, we encourage voters to either use electronic voting or the extended hours at county offices to cast their vote."

Guadagno also said that first responders in the state who are stationed away from their home can use the same method to vote.

Guadagno's decision follows previous orders to extend early voting hours at county elections offices statewide over the weekend. Gov. Chris Christie (R) indicated that the state was printing additional provisional ballots to allow those displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote in another location due to the storm.

-- John Celock, HuffPost

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Francis Ng was ready to run a marathon in New York City on Sunday but now the Toronto marathoner is instead looking to pitch in as the region recovers from this week's massive storm.

He's just one of the many Canadian runners who found out too late that the New York City Marathon was canceled, a race that draws more than 47,000 entrants.

Other athletes from Canada and many from around the world were already on the way to the Big Apple when the mayor's office cancelled one of the world's largest marathons. The 2011 edition of the marathon drew 1,200 Canadians and more than half of the race's participants are from outside of the United States.

Ng found out at at the airport departure lounge in Toronto that the race was canceled, so instead of running through the five boroughs on Sunday morning, he's now looking to make a trip up to the Bronx to volunteer at Pelham Bay Nature Center.

Read the full story here

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HuffPost’s Betsy Isaacson Reports:

Even with bicycle generators to charge phones, people in downtown Manhattan did not have working internet through Friday, Nov. 2, when power finally started to return to the grids there. The massive New York City power outage caused by Hurricane Sandy left thousands of New Yorkers without connection to the outside world, unable to check on relatives or secure information unless they walked or took a cab uptown, where the city had power.

With power now back on in Lower Manhattan, age-old ways of trading information will likely give way to texting and wireless connections. A copy of The New York Times will no longer be worth more than $2. Will New Yorkers miss it?

Read the full story here.

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HuffPost's Gerry Smith reports:

Heavy flooding this week at Verizon’s headquarters in lower Manhattan -- a critical node of its network infrastructure -- has begun to subside, but the company's effort to repair damaged network equipment and restore service to customers after Hurricane Sandy continues.

Read the full story here.

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HuffPost's Lynne Peeples reports:

Among the wreckage removed in Joplin, Mo., after the 2011 tornado was 2,600 tons of asbestos debris.

"That was a small community," said Linda Reinstein, president of the nonprofit Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. "Do the math, and we can recognize that we have a significant public health risk with Hurricane Sandy."

With wind and water damage caused by Sandy compromising the integrity of homes, schools and other buildings along much of the East Coast, health experts warn of increased risks of exposure to a variety of environmental toxins. One of the most worrisome, they say, is asbestos. Much of the compromised construction materials, including roofing, piping and insulation, could contain the microscopic mineral fibers. And while a person generally can't see it, smell it or taste it, they can breathe it and ingest it -- and the consequences can be severe.

Read the full story here.

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@ AP : BREAKING: New York City mayor says gas station shortages could take a few days to fully be resolved -RJJ

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New York Magazine has released a sneak peek of its latest cover, and wow is it stunning.

The editors explain the photo choice here:

A photograph taken by Iwan Baan on Wednesday night, showing the Island of Manhattan, half aglow and half in dark, was the clear choice, for the way it fit with the bigger story we have tried to tell here about a powerful city rendered powerless. We crammed back into the conference room, raced to finish our pages, and hoped, like other New Yorkers, that everyone would find the lights on when they got home.

See the pic here.

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Photos have begun to emerge comparing regions of the East Coast before and after the storm. Click here to view an interactive set of photos documenting the disturbing contrast.

before after photos

-Jake Bialer, HuffPost

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If you're out volunteering, share your stories with us. Use Twitter or Instagram and tag your photos #volunteersandy. Or you can submit your photos here.

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From The Associated Press:

The government says the public should stay away from free New York fuel stations until emergency responders get their gas.

Long lines of vehicles and pedestrians formed Saturday after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the U.S. Department of Defense was opening the mobile fuel stations in New York City and on suburban Long Island.

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Under orders from President Obama through FEMA, the Defense Logistics Agency and National Guard, there are new shipments of fuel available at five locations in New York area and at four locations in New Jersey.

In New York, fuel is available at the Queens Armory, 93-05 160th St., Jamaica, NY 11433; Bronx Armory, 10 West 195th St.,Bronx, NY 10468, Brooklyn Armory, 1579 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225, the Staten Island/Elizabeth Armory, 321 Manor Rd., Staten Island, NY 10314, and the Freeport Armory, 63 Babylon Turnpike, Freeport NY 11520

In New Jersey, fuel is available at the Teaneck Armory,1799 Teaneck Road, Teaneck NJ 07666, the West Orange armory at1315 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange NJ 07052, the Freehold armory at 635 Park Ave., Freehold NJ 07728, and at the former Plainfield armory at Plainfield,NJ.

The New Jersey National Guard continues to deliver fuel to first responders, using nine tanker trucks provided by the Pennsylvania National Guard.

-- HuffPost's David Wood

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The owners of New Jersey's NJ Skateshop are desperately trying to collect winter clothes for neighbors without heat and members of their community who were left homeless by Hurricane Sandy, as a Nor'easter is forecast to hit the stricken area next week.

Co-owner Chris Nieratko reports two of the shop's four stores have electricity and have been stocked with power strips to allow residents to charge their phones and "pretend things were normal if only for a while." But many are ill-equipped to handle the incoming storm, he writes, and are already struggling: "Seeing your children cold and hungry is a feeling I never want any of you to experience."

Nieratko is asking for shipments of any winter clothing to the store's New Brunswick location, from which they will distribute to people in need:

I have no TV so I don't know what you're hearing on the news, but let me tell you, it's bad. Very bad..we've opened to the door to anyone with children. For days we ran generators sparingly because there was no gas...

There's another storm coming. Temperatures are dropping. Things are getting colder and even scarier. I am writing to you to ask for your help in clothing the displaced, homeless, under-dressed skaters in our community and their families...If you have anything warm (socks, sweatshirts, jackets, beanies, gloves, shoes, tees, ANYTHING) doesn't matter if it's 5 seasons ago...there are many in need from very young to very big XXL. Anything you can spare to help people stay warm will be appreciated.

Please send whatever you're able to (and there's no box too small) to our New Brunswick shop:

NJ TWO 29-B Easton Ave

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Label the box HURRICANE RELIEF

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Photo of National Guard in South Beach, Staten Island, today.

hurricane

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Deer Park-North Babylon Park Patch reports:
Harold Jamison will make it to the Tanger Outlet center this afternoon to see Ben Affleck's "Argo."

"That movie is so good, I have to see it. I'm not missing it. It's about the 1979 Iran conflict and there is old TV video clips and everything," Jamison said.

But first, he was living his own 1970s-style flashback, a nearly three-hour wait to get gas in Deer Park in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Jamison was in line to get gas at the Deer Park Express station on the corner of Deer Park and Long Island avenues. He was still idling around the corner on Lake Avenue and E. 4th Street. In 90 minutes, he had moved two blocks.

Read the full story, and check out Mark's excellent "Sweet Daddy" jacket on Deer Park-North Babylon Park Patch.

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HuffPost's Sam Stein reports:

WASHINGTON -- Before hitting the campaign trail for his final swing before the election, President Barack Obama on Saturday stopped by the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington for a briefing on Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.

"We still have a long way to go to make sure that the people of New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and some of the surrounding areas get their basic needs taken care of and we get back to normalcy," Obama said, adding that the situation continues to be his "number one priority."

The president emphasized five components of recovery: getting power back on as quickly as possible, pumping water out of flooded areas, making sure people's basic needs are taken care of, debris removal and getting transportation systems up and running again.

"Our hearts continue to go out to those families who have been affected, who have actually lost loved ones," Obama said. "That's obviously heartbreaking. But I'm confident that we will continue to make progress as long as state and local and federal officials stay focused."/blockquote>

Read more here.

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OurAmazingPlanet reports:

With coastal communities in New York and New Jersey still reeling from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, the last thing the area needs is another storm. But that's exactly what it might get.

A nor'easter is predicted to potentially hit the East Coast next Wednesday (Nov. 7), and beach erosion experts are concerned about further damage to shorelines devastated by Sandy.

Read the full story here.

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