Millions Prepare as Superstorm Nears East Coast

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Hurricane Sandy is slowly moving parallel to the East Coast, with its size and power continuing to grow.

Packing sustained winds of up to 90 miles an hour, the storm spans a thousand miles and it's taking aim at the most populous part of the United States.

Speaking from the White House briefing room, President Barack Obama warned those in Sandy's path not to delay in following state and local instructions for safety, including evacuation orders.

Adrienne Green of AccuWeather offered more information about the developing superstorm. Click play to see the forecast and CBN News' team coverage.

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"This is going to be a big and powerful storm," he said, adding that millions of people will be affected.

"Please listen to what your state and local officials are saying," he said. "When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate. Don't delay, don't pause, don't question the instructions that are being given because this is a powerful storm."

While he expressed confidence that emergency resources are in position, he warned that "this will be a difficult storm."

"The public should anticipate that there are going to be a lot of power outages," he said. "Transportation is going to be tied up for a long time. We anticipate that there are going to be a lot of trees down, a lot of water.

Travel along much of the East Coast is already on hold. The Washington region's entire public transit system is shut down.

Many major highways are closed, and all air travel is cancelled until Sandy passes.

"When there are flight cancellations in major hubs, it affects travelers all over the country," ABC News Travel Editor Genevieve Shaw Brown explained.

"As the storm continues on its track, millions of people are being affected from the Carolinas to Canada and west to the Great Lakes.

"This storm is going to have the worst characteristics of a hurricane and the worst characteristics of a nor'easter. That is, we are going to get a large area of flooding rains and damaging winds," AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno explained.

Heavy rain and high tides are already flooding areas of Virginia.

CBN's Operation Blessing International is at work in one Virginia neighborhood, providing sandbags and protecting one church from the high waters.

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The aid group is also making preparations to go wherever it's needed most after the storm makes landfall.

The worst of Sandy's wrath is expected to come ashore late Monday or early Tuesday along the New York/Jersey Coast. Weather experts say storm surge is the greatest concern.

"Right now the most likely scenario has a storm surge in Long Island Sound of 7 to 10 feet," Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said. "We've seen estimates as high as 11 feet above typical high tide. That would lead to unprecedented flooding. In fact, the last time we saw anything like this was never."

Officials expect massive power outages and power crews from across the country are on standby. An estimated 10 million people could lose power.

With landfall just hours away, New York City officials are in the thick of preparations.

Power company workers diligently placed sandbags near the Big Apple's underground electrical grid, which is vital to the nation's financial center.

Heavy rain, strong winds and massive flooding are expected to hit the nation's most populous city -- hard.

New York's lower Manhattan is expecting a storm surge of 4 to 8 feet; many low lying areas are under mandatory evacuations. The city's subway stations have been boarded up after being ordered shut down by Gov. Michael Bloomberg in preparation for the storm.

"If you don't evacuate, you're not just putting your own life in danger, you're also endangering the lives of our first responders who may have to come in and rescue you," Bloomberg said.

New York joins a long list of other states to declare states of emergency ahead of Sandy. After hard lessons learned from Hurricane Irene, many New Yorkers are taking this storm seriously.

But one couple, despite darkening skies and warnings to get ready for the storm, pressed ahead with their wedding plans. And tourists also seemed unfazed by the approaching hurricane.

Meanwhile, Sandy has shown no signs of weakening and is sure to leave a lasting mark on the city that never sleeps.

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CBN News
Charlene Israel and Mark Martin

Charlene Israel and Mark Martin

CBN News

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