As we come on this air, you can see it swirling right over my shoulder here. What's being called a superstorm tonight. Hurricane sandy is more than 200 miles off the coast, about to crash into two... See More
As we come on this air, you can see it swirling right over my shoulder here. What's being called a superstorm tonight. Hurricane sandy is more than 200 miles off the coast, about to crash into two other systems when it makes landfall. And look at this picture tonight. This is from space, from nasa. It's a massive storm, 1,000 miles across. Long before it makes landfall sometime tomorrow night, it is already being felt tonight all along the coastlines. Whipping winds and rains have flooded many communities. The number of americans impacted by this storm will be enormous. 60 million people, really anyone east of the mississippi, will be affected. Hundreds of thousands have already been evacuated tonight. And this evening, we've learned schools are already closed for 2 million children tomorrow across seven states and washington, d.C. As they all ask now, what about halloween? And, tonight, the potential danger zone, reaching 800 miles inland from the east coast. This evening, blizzard warnings have gone up in some parts of some states. And the 3d view, you can see our extreme weather team on all of this tonight. Sam champion has the track in just a moment here, but let's begin with abc's matt gutman. Matt? Reporter: Good evening, david, from a very wet, loud and surprisingly cold north carolina. We've been feeling these 50-mile-per-hour gusts of wind. Now, hurricane sandy, this is not a glancing blow, even though it's over 260 miles offshore. We've been feeling the rain and wind and you can see the waves exploding onto the pier behind me. Now, a number of communities here in the outer banks have been cut off, like cape hatteras because of flooded eas. And you notice the white foam, it kind of looks like snow. This has all been churned up by that rising sea. A lot of people consider tropical systems, they are warm, but this is cold. All this icy air is pushing northward. David? All right, taking a beating there in north carolina, matt gutman, our thanks to you tonight. Why is everyone calling this a superstorm, and where is the track right now? Let's bring in abc's sam championship, he's in lower manhattan tonight, where there could be a huge storm surge. And sam, if you will, let's start with the track. Where is sandy right now? Reporter: Yes, sir, david. Hey, david, that picture you showed behind you on the cloud canopy. I just have to mention that the clouds stretch from the carolinas all the way to hudson bay and almost to the arctic circle. This is an impressive, incredible cloud canopy. One of the largest we've seen in the atlantic hurricane basin. Let me show you the track. We've only seen a little wobble, a little change in the last few forecast paths, and still expected to make the turn toward the coastline and find the spot right around atlantic city, by 2:00 in the morning. That's been the spot that's been going up and down the jersey shore a little bit. But right now, that's where it settled. Follow it, running all the way into maine, just north of maine, david, by the time we get to friday. All right, the latest track tonight, sam. So, why is this a superstorm? Why is combining here to create such a massive system? It Reporter: That's a really good question. It is kind of easier to show you, so, here is what we did, david. We took a couple of things, put it into a 3d graphic, and here is what makes this storm a superstorm. All night long, sandy marches up the east coast, practically parallel. More than 200 miles offshore. It will collide with an arctic front, coming in from the west. Throwing a new dose of energy into this storm and expanding its already monster size and reach. Then, inject the 1 150-mile-an-hour plus winds of the jet stream. And forecasters think sandy explodes into a superstorm. So, it's difficult to categorize this storm other than a superstorm. It's a hurricane and then some. But it has all the affects that a hurricane would have. Let's start with surge. First, where I'm standing right here could have an 11, 11.5 feet of additional water in new york harbor. We looked it up to see if that had happened before. We only found 10 feet in new york harbor in 1960 as a surge. So, it seems to be unprecedented. Look at the storm surf and its reach, all the way up from rehoboth beach well north into the coast of maine. Then, look at the winds. We think the winds will be hurricane force, as they go from norfolk to washington and all the way up to boston. 60 to 80-mile-an-hour winds go all the way to pittsburgh. Driving rains will be a problem, lots of it, from pittsburgh to new york to washington, d.C. To norfolk. 6 to 8 inches of rain. Some people will see more than a foot of rain from this storm. Sam, just before we came on the air, you told me about blizzard warnings just up tonight? Reporter: Yeah, that's unbelievable. National weather service in charleston, west virginia, put this out. One to two feet above 3,000 feet expected in the mountains there of west virginia, virginia and maryland. Six states, pennsylvania, virginia, west virginia, north carolina, tennessee, kentucky, already have issued winter storm watches or warnings for the snow that will be on the back cold side of this system. As it pulls away, david. All right, sam. Look for you later in this broadcast. In the meantime, as you heard sam report there, sandy will most likely come ashore right near atlantic city in new jersey sometime tomorrow night. Major evacuations under way tod today. Abc meteorologist ginger zee right there in a very wet atlantic city tonight. Ginger, good evening. Reporter: David, you can see the boardwalk is just lined with sandbags. The casinos, they're empty. We're in the 9 to 11 foot storm surge zone. We could get 10 to 20 foot w56 waves. This whole thing could be under water tuesday morning. We really are at ground zero when that beast comes onshore. It's a mandatory ghost town in atlantic city. The iconic boardwalk, boarded up. The customary ka-ching of casino floors, silent. Tolls were waved to get people out fast. Buses lined up to take those who couldn't leave on their own to the shelters around the city. They're preparing here for a direct hit. We got to get the boards up because of the weather. Reporter: You don't intend to leave? We couldn't find anywhere to go. We didn't want to be in a shelter. So, the best place is the house right now. Reporter: We found john and his friend borrowing sand from the beach and bringing it home. Try to block up the house and not let the water in, you know? Reporter: So, you figured, just come grab it from the beach? Right, right. We have to use these trash bags from now. Reporter: Dan lives right on the shore but he's getting out. You're worried? Yeah, I'm really worried. Because they just told -- a friend of mine said that they think it's going to hit the bay, the bay and the ocean is going to come together. Reporter: Much of the more than 200 miles of the jersey shore is a series of sliver-like barrier islands, with water on both sides. So, the concern isn't just about storm surge piling up from the ocean. It's also about storm surge coming off of bays just like this one, pushing into homes like these on the other side of these narrow islands. The storm arrives at a bad time, too, when there's a full moon. That means tides will be e p especially high and any surge will be especially dangerous. Lancaster, baltimore, those are all areas that will have inland flooding. It won't just be coastal. Remember that, too. David? Ginger zee tonight, thank you. The federal government announcing just a moment ago, it will shut down washington
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