Hurricane Sandy Menaces East Coast: Americans on Alert for Rain, Snow, Wind

66 million Americans are in path of "super storm" that may land in New Jersey Tuesday.
3:00 | 10/26/12

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Transcript for Hurricane Sandy Menaces East Coast: Americans on Alert for Rain, Snow, Wind
As we head into this weekend together, 66 million americans are bracing for impact. Hurricane sandy, lumbering up the east coast and threatening to come ashore as an unprecedented superstorm. It means epic winds, snow, flooding rain rida to the carolinas, maryland to maine. And the storm is so wide, it could cover two-thirds of the united states. The fierce winds at the center cover an area almost the size of texas. Our extreme weather team is in the storm zone tonight and abc's weather editor sam champion starts us off right now from miami. Sam? Reporter: Good evening, diane. Tonight, sandy is running parallel to the florida coastline, but creating a stir in places really far north from here. Like washington, d.C., States like new york, virginia, maryland, have all declared a state of emergency, ahead of this storm. Even the u.S. Navy is taking this storm seriously, pulling 21 ships out of the harbor in norfolk, feeling they'll be safer in the open water when this storm comes on shore. Where is this storm? You'll see in the track that it is still expected to run up the coastline, going out a little bit, then coming back in making a sharp left turn on monday, toward the shoreline. Spaghetti models indicate we don't know exactly where this storm will make landfall yet. We will pinpoint as we get closer. Wherever this storm is going, it's going to make even more headlines. Sandy's already killed at least 30 people in its march across the caribbean. Seen from space, this storm is monster-sized. Clouds stretch 2,000 miles. Tropical storm-force winds extend almost 500 miles. And it will likely get worse before it's over. As sandy marches up the east coast, it will collide with an arctic front coming in from the west, pumping in new energy. Inject the 150-mile-per-hour plus winds of the jet stream, and it explodes into a superstorm. Spinning off hurricane force wind gusts, up to a foot of rain, possibly record surging tides and even inland snow as far as ohio. Extreme conditions could start sunday, peak on tuesday and could last for days, as the when you factor in the unshl track that it's going to be taking, that is coming in from the east, across the jersey coast, it's a once in a lifetime storm. Reporter: It's like combining the destructive power of hurricane irene, which did $14 billion in damage last year, with the punishing nor'easter of 2009 that brought catastrophic flooding. And then, add in a freezing cold winter temperature, all in one storm. This storm is going to be destructive, historic and unfortunately, life-threatening. Reporter: Another fear, the extreme coastal surge that's expected. Anywhere from 4 to 10 feet. Areas like washington, d.C. Are already vulnerable to flooding, and because of the full moon monday, which means higher than normal tides, places like atlantic city could see a swamping ten-foot storm surge. That's possible for new jersey and new york, where evacuation orders may be enforced in coastal areas. Even new york city's subways are at risk of flooding. Mayor bloomberg says they may be closed as sandy approaches. For more on the damage sandy is already doing, we go up the florida coast to ginger zee. Ginger? Reporter: Sam, cocoa beach is one of the widest beaches in florida, but not tonight. It's been cut in half thanks to the breakers coming in. 60-mile-an-hour wind gusts, this all from a storm that's almost 200 miles away. So, if sandy hasn't impressed you enough, check out these hurricane facts. The average hurricane has enough energy to power the world 200 times over. And during its life cycle, it can release as much energy as 10,000 nuclear bombs. It will interact with another trough in the northwest, a system in greenland and inject itself from the mid-atlantic to coastal new england. That's the area we're most concerned about, the area we find our linsey davis in new jersey. Reporter: That's right, ginger. Along the jersey shore, emergency manage officials are banking on sand dunes like this that they just moved into place today as the front line of defense. Up and down the east coast, utility companies are out in full force preparing for potentially extensive power outages. States are calling in hundreds of extra workers. There's even concern about entire cities losing power. As for residents, they're getting ready in case they have to spend days or weeks in the dark, stocking up on essentials like flashlights and generators, which many stores sold out in a matter of hours today. Some of the prices that would normally go for $400, we saw them online for sale for $1,400. But generators are not the big concern in coastal areas like this. The big concern here is storm surf. Voluntary evacuations are already taking place in areas not far from here. Diane? Our thanks to linsey, ginger and sam. Sam will lead our team and track the storm all weekend. And hurricane sandy could throw a curve ball into the

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