Deadly Hurricane Sandy menaced the East Coast Sunday, with millions of people in at least seven states and the District of Columbia under emergency warnings.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 8 a.m. EDT advisory that the Category 1 hurricane, blamed for at least 58 deaths in the Caribbean, had sustained winds of 75 mph with higher gusts as it raked the Eastern Seaboard
The storm was centered about 260 miles east-southeast of Charleston, S.C., as it headed northeast at 10 mph.
A tropical storm warning was in effect from the South Santee River in South Carolina to Duck, N.C.; for Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds and Bermuda, the hurricane center said.
High wind warnings were in place for parts of southeastern Virginia, and watches and warnings were raised for many of the Mid-Atlantic states and southern New England.
"On the forecast track, the center of Sandy will move parallel to the southeast coast of the United States today and tonight and approach the coast of the mid-Atlantic states by Monday night," the center said.
Hurricane force winds were reaching out from Sandy's eye up to 175 miles and tropical storm-strength gales pushed out up to 520 miles.
The forecasters warned of dangerous coastal storm surges that will cause flooding.
Up to 8 inches of rain are possible in parts of North Carolina and the Mid-Atlantic states. Isolated pockets could get up to a foot of rain. New York and New England could see up to 5 inches.
Massachusetts joined New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, New York and the District of Columbia in declaring a state of emergency, The Boston Globe reported. Gov. Deval Patrick warned people in Massachusetts to get ready for power outages and coastal flooding beginning Sunday evening.
"While we continue to hope for the best, we're preparing for the worst," Patrick said.
Sandy, which the Globe said was blamed for at least 58 deaths as it passed over Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas, is "going to be a storm of great impact and magnitude," National Weather Service meteorologist Kim Buttrick said.
Buttrick said the coming together of various meteorological factors portend to make the storm memorable.
"All these ingredients coming together -- it's history-making," she said.
The New York Times reported thousands of people were evacuated from low-lying areas ahead of Sandy's arrival and more than 50 million people would be affected by the storm.
More than 60,000 National Guard troops in nine states were on alert, the Times said.
New York City officials had plans in place to shut down subway trains and other rail lines Sunday night if conditions warranted. Mayor Michael Bloomberg told residents lay in food and other supplies and to stay out of city parks starting Sunday. All construction projects were put on hold as of Saturday night.
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