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The scenes are straight out of a disaster blockbuster: A killer storm takes aim at one of the most populated regions of the country.

Hundreds of thousands are forced from their homes. New York City is brought to a standstill. The nation’s capital is emptied of government workers. And thousands of National Guard troops are called up.

Such was the story playing out early Monday from North Carolina to Maine as Hurricane Sandy took aim at the Mid-Atlantic coastline, where forecasters said it was likely to collide with a cold front and spawn a “superstorm” that could generate flash floods, snowstorms and massive power outages.

“It could be bad,” said U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Steven Rattior, “or it could be devastation.”

A state-by-state breakdown of hurricane preparation efforts, impacts

Sandy has already proven her deadly wrath, claiming at least 67 lives, 51 in Haiti alone, as it smashed through the Caribbean last week.


For days, government and emergency management officials have been pleading with residents to be prepared, take precautions and heed warnings.


“The last time we saw anything like this was never,” Connecticut Gov. Dannell Malloy said Sunday. “I don’t know how to say it any clear than that is the largest threat to human life our state has experienced in anyone’s lifetime.”


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put it even more bluntly: “Don’t be stupid. Get out!”


Taking the turn


Some 50 million people from Virginia to Massachusetts are expected to feel the effect of Sandy, whose hurricane-force winds span roughly 175 miles out from either side of the eye of the storm.


Early Monday morning, Sandy started to make its turn toward the United States, putting it on course for landfall late Monday or early Tuesday along the famed Jersey Shore, according to the National Hurricane Center.


At 5 a.m., Sandy, a Category 1 hurricane, was 385 miles south-southeast of New York City and moving at about 15 mph, the center said.

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