It's watch and wait as Hurricane Sandy approaches
October 28th, 2012
10:55 PM ET

It's watch and wait as Hurricane Sandy approaches

Editor's Note:  The danger cannot be overstated. Hurricane Sandy has already claimed at least 67 lives - including 51 in Haiti. In the United States, schools are closed, businesses shuttered and mass transit suspended. Residents are being told to hunker down - and wait .  Here is the full story.

Here are the latest developments:

[Update 4:49 a.m. ET] Anna Kate Twitty, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, was just on CNN and said the organization has multiple shelters across seven states where evacuees can find "a safe place, a warm meal and emotional support." To find a shelter, go to redcross.org, call 1-800-Red-Cross or download the free Red Cross hurricane app for iphone and android users.

[Update 3:54 a.m. ET] The Coast Guard  is responding to a distress call from a ship that is part of the popular culture. The  HMS Bounty, a tall ship built for the 1962 movie "Mutiny on the Bounty," is taking on water off the coast of North Carolina - about 160 miles from the center of Hurricane Sandy.  The Coast Guard says it has “diminished search and rescue capabilities due to the storm.” Seventeen people are on board.

[Update 2:56 a.m. ET] The questions remain ...

[Update 1:55 a.m. ET] Various primetime shows that are produced in New York (such as, 30 Rock, Smash, Elementary, Person of Interest) are being shut down Monday, according to Deadline.com,  but the opposite appears to be the case with late night shows. Deadline says Letterman, who once taped a show during a blizzard, will go on - as will Jimmy Fallon.

[Update 1:50 a.m. ET] The MTA has posted some incredible photos of a deserted New York on its Flickr feed. Sandbags piled on Broadway. Grand Central Terminal with not a soul in sight. An eerie feel.

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[Update 1:29 a.m. ET] CNN goes live a half hour early this Monday morning, but we will be providing regular weather updates throughout the night.

[Update 12:50 a.m. ET] The National Hurricane Center says Sandy is about to make its turn toward the north.  The forecast map shows the storm hitting the Jersey shore.

[Update 12:35 a.m. ET] 1.2 million: That's the number of college students who will stay home Monday, according to a count by CNN's Chandler Friedman of colleges in the regions likely affected by the storm.

[Update 12:10 a.m. ET]  President Barack Obama has approved Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey's request for emergency declarations. Earlier, several other states also requested such declarations, and the president signed them as well.  Among them: New York and Massachusetts.

[Update 12:02 a.m. ET] The New York Stock Exchange has announced it will close all markets – not just floor trading operations – on Monday. The stock exchange rarely shuts down for weather-related emergencies: Hurricane Gloria in 1985, and a snowstorm in 1969 mark brought the exchange to a halt.

[Update 10:55 p.m. ET] Dozens of iReporters are submitting video footage, still images and strong descriptions of how Hurricane Sandy is affecting them. Check them out here or submit your own. (Just remember to stay safe and always obey the law.)

[Update 10:04 p.m. ET] FEMA estimates that Hurricane Sandy has the potential to cause $2.5 billion to $3 billion in wind damage alone in the United States. The estimate, using standardized methodology called HAZUS, does not account for potential flood and other damage.

[Update 9:44 p.m. ET] All bus carriers serving the New York area's Port Authority Bus Terminal - including Greyhound, Trailways and airport shuttles - are suspended because of the hurricane, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced.

[Update 8:55 p.m. ET] New York's Staten Island Ferry and East River Ferry services are suspended at least through Monday, according to the city's severe weather Web page.

[Update 8:33 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in the District of Columbia ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, according to a release from the White House. Obama earlier declared states of emergency for Maryland, Massachusetts and New York.

[Update 8:28 p.m. ET] Hurricane Sandy has caused at least 67 deaths, including 51 in Haiti; the other deaths were in Cuba, Jamaica, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. As of 8 p.m. Sunday, Sandy still hadn't veered toward the United States and was centered 280 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and 485 miles south-southeast of New York. The CNN Weather Unit forecasts that it will make landfall late Monday near the Delmarva Peninsula - which includes Delaware and parts of Maryland and Virginia - and southern New Jersey.

[Update 7:53 p.m. ET] The closure of the public transportation systems in Washington, Philadelphia and New York means no subway rides for about 10.8 million commuters, according to average ridership numbers provided by the local transit authorities.

[Update 7:33 p.m. ET] Boston's MBTA transit system will operate normally Monday and for as long as safety permits, the system said on its website. Commuter boat service will be suspended until further notice.

[Update 7:15 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in the state of New York ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, according to a release from the White House.

Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged residents to evacuate coastal areas because of anticipated storm surge.

[Update 7:04 p.m. ET] Washington's Metro rapid transit system, the second-largest rail transit system in the country, will be closed Monday. It was unclear when the service, which supported 217 million trips in 2011, would resume.

[Update 6:10 pm. ET] President Barack Obama has declared an emergency for Massachusetts, according to a release from the White House.

[Update 5:55 p.m. ET] Federal offices in Washington and the surrounding area will be closed to the public Monday, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management said on its website.

[Update 5:38 p.m. ET] Hurricane Sandy is disrupting the plans of both major presidential candidates. President Barack Obama canceled a trip to Colorado in order to stay in Washington to monitor the storm, although a visit to Florida is still on the schedule for Monday. Both he and Republican nominee Mitt Romney canceled events in Virginia. Romney canceled a campaign stop slated for Tuesday in New Hampshire. He is scheduled to campaign in Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin, safely away from the storm, on Monday.

[Update 5:24 p.m. ET] Philadelphia will suspend all public transit services with the end of service Sunday night.

[Update 5:15 p.m. ET] The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it will have on-site inspectors at all nuclear power stations that could be affected by Hurricane Sandy. The inspectors will be in place ahead of the storm and will stay at the power plants until the event is over.

No power station has been taken offline at this point, but each station has protocols and procedures for going offline, NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said.

[Update 5:07 p.m. ET] The National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. update placed the center of Hurricane Sandy about 300 miles southeast of Virginia Beach, Virginia, moving northeast at about 15 mph. The storm is expected to turn first to the north and then to the northwest early Monday. Maximum sustained winds at 5 p.m. were 75 mph, with higher gusts.

[Update 4:50 p.m. ET] The New York Stock Exchange has revised it storm response plan and now says there will be no live trading Monday on the stock exchange's floor in Manhattan. Electronic trading by computer, which is how most trading takes place, will continue as usual, the exchange says. New York has declared a state of emergency and New York City has suspended subway service starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

[Update 4:47 p.m. ET] Updated figures indicate classes have been canceled Monday for at least 2.1 million public school K-12 students along the East Coast in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy.

[Update 3:30 p.m. ET] Stores along the Eastern Seaboard are running out of essential supplies such as batteries, water, generators and flashlights as people in Hurricane Sandy's path scramble to prepare for power outages and other effects of the storm.

[Update 3:20 p.m. ET] At least 1.8 million students in major East Coast districts will be affected by school closings related to Hurricane Sandy, according to data compiled by CNN. The total is likely much higher when smaller districts are taken into account.

[Update 3:14 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama interrupted his re-election campaign Sunday to meet with federal emergency officials at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington. After the briefing, he said resources were in place and warned people in the affected area not to take this storm lightly:

[Update 3 p.m. ET] New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says his state will begin a gradual shutdown of all bus, rail, light rail and Access Link service in New Jersey beginning at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray announced that all public schools in the district will be closed Monday.

[Update 2:53 p.m. ET] U.S. stock exchanges will open for trading on Monday as usual, even as Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall in New York, the epicenter of global finance. The New York Stock Exchange is located on Wall Street in lower Manhattan, which is in a flood zone. However, not much stock trading takes place in the floors of the exchange itself, because investors trade from computers globally. The exchange said it plans to be open for trading on Monday.

[Update 2:45 p.m. ET] Boston officials announced that city schools will be closed Monday because of Hurricane Sandy, according to the city website. The schools serve more than 56,000  pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 135 schools, according to the website.

[Update 12:53 p.m.] The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says all its trains and stations will close at midnight until further notice.

[Update 12:13 p.m.] Gov. Lincoln Chafee has declared a state of emergency in Rhode Island and said he will speak with President Obama about storm preparations this afternoon.

[Update 11:51 a.m.] Bus service in Connecticut will halt at midnight and stay closed for the duration of the storm, Gov. Dan Malloy announced.

[Update 11:42 a.m.] Why could Hurricane Sandy send waters as high as 11 feet rushing inland? Because of its size, not its intensity, said Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center.

“The system is so large that I would say millions of people are at least in areas that have some chance of experiencing either flash flooding or river flooding,” he said.

Follow CNN's list of state-by-state preparations.

[Updated 11:34 a.m.] People in parts of New York City are under mandatory evacuation orders, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The rule applies to people in "Zone A."  To find out whether you or someone you know is in Zone A, click here.  Evacuation centers have been opened in 72 public schools, Bloomberg said.

All schools in the city are closed tomorrow.

[Updated 11:02 a.m.] Sandy is holding onto hurricane strength and has picked up speed.  As of 11 a.m. ET, its maximum sustained winds were at 75 mph as the storm barreled northeast at 14 mph.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for coastal areas including a line from Cape Fear to Duck, North Carolina.  Hurricane force winds are expected along parts of the coast from Virginian up through Massachusetts.

On the current track, Sandy's center is expected to be near the coast Monday night, the National Hurricane Center said. When Sandy becomes a "wintertime low pressure system prior to landfall," it may strengthen a bit before weakening as it moves over land.

See the latest NHC update here.  And check out our coverage of how the storm could affect transportation throughout the Northeast.

[Updated 10:11 a.m.] All New York City train service will stop today at 7 p.m. in advance of Hurricane Sandy, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced.

The closure applies to subways and commuter rail service.  The final Metro North and Long Island Rail Road trains will leave at 7 p.m. , he said.

Bus service in New York City will continue until 9 p.m., Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

[Posted 8:31 a.m.] Hurricane Sandy is barreling its way northeast, and residents of the mid-Atlantic coast should expect life-threatening storm surges, the National Hurricane Center said this morning.  Areas in its path include Long Island Sound and New York Harbor.

Sandy is expected to be near hurricane force at landfall.  As of 8 a.m. ET, the storm was about 260 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and about 395 miles from New York City, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.  It was moving 10 mph.  Sandy is expected to move parallel along the Southeast coast today and tonight, and approach the mid-Atlantic coast by Monday night, the NHC said.

Read the latest NHC warning here.

Follow CNN's full coverage of the potential "superstorm."

For state-by-state plans, advice on how to prepare, photos, Sandy's already deadly path in the Caribbean, and more, follow CNN.com.

soundoff (710 Responses)
  1. Jeff

    It is really sounding bad bad. I hope no trees fall. That makes a real mess.

    October 29, 2012 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. One World

    Time for Americans to forget their political, racial, religious differences and manage the situation effectively. All the best and hope each one of you turn out to be better humans in crisis.

    Also hope that all the above is not needed and Sandy passes away quietly.

    October 29, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Reality Checker

      Thank you. Nicely stated.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kevin

    This is so much fun! I'm from Central New Jersey, where the eye of the storm is expected to hit, and I'm huddled down in the house. My parents don't like this fact so much, so I think it's kind of cool to see the power of nature in one's own state, since we don't have tornadoes like Kansas or earthquakes like California. My house is in the mountains of Somerset County, not along the shore, so I okay. There is just going to be a lot of flooding for people not in the mountains, but I don't have a problem due to my location 🙂

    October 29, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. HuwwuH

    So pursue them with thy storm, and terrify them with Thy hurricane. Psalm 83:15

    October 29, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joel Mangosteen

    So much for a live blog. It didn't update since 4:49 ET and it's already 11 ET. So I assume all the servers are already underwater? That doesn't look good.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Muhamad23

    This happens to you fullish Americans, because your seens to the great Muslim nations.
    Know you see the real power of Hallha!!!

    October 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cuervo Jones

      bla bla bla

      October 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Snarf

    Dammit.
    HMS Bounty is down. It sunked a few minutes ago. 2 crew are still missing and 1 lifeboat has not been located for now. 15 crew members already on dry land. 3 more helis arriving to try to find the 2 missing crew members.
    Sad point for now, the loss of a magnificient ship. The navy has the video of the sinking. We hope to find the 2 missing crew still alive since there is a lifeboat that was launched and remains unaccounted for.
    Everyone: Stay out of the low lands. We are seen surges of over 25 feet. And they are moving to land. So the water will raise and it´s not just 1 feet or 2. Count with 6 to 10 feet raising in 4 to 6 hours. And that is the lowest prediction we can make... since the storm is still gathering stronger winds.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralph Mouth

      Do you get a refund if ship sinks?

      October 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dave Chatterjee

    Spoke to few people in NJ coastal area. Power is down already. Will take may be a week or more than that to recover. Test for the administration, who spent trillions in Wars outside US – time to focus on your own country.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    Dave- thing is we will never find out whether democrats would solve iraq situation differently...

    October 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Niko

    Please update 'Live blog: Follow latest developments' International Edition, currently last updated October 28th, 2012
    10:55 PM ET

    October 29, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Andrej77

    hah.. category 1 hurricane and such panic.. do not fall under sensationalist media so easy.
    Anyhow, hope that everything goes well for east coasters. All the best from Serbia.

    October 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harsh

      Yes, goverment is spending billions just like that, isnt it? This hurricane is a freak of nature and there are many factors combining which make it deadly. God forbid, if many people die and extensive damage is caused, you will feel like such a fool, wouldnt you?

      October 29, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Flights Care Travels

    All international flights and normal business practices have been cancelled in the region suspected to be affected by Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy is going to directly affect 60 million people. Amtrak has cancelled north-east trains. President Obama has urged citizens to evacuate as authorities order the evacuation. So far, 300,000 people are now without power. The latest on Hurricane sandy is expected to hit USA in five hours and this 3:30 Pm New Jersey. President Obama has cancelled all election campaign appearances. We have started to upload news from CNN on flightscaretravels.co.uk/Blog

    October 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. doabitofhomework

    This is a big storm. Even if it started moving out to sea right now, it'll still pack a wallop. Right now, injecting politics into the matter will distract those leaders whose jobs are to prepare for it and later on, deal with it. Campaigning, for both sides, should cut those leaders some slack and bug off, so the leaders can concentrate entirely on minimizing casualties and destruction. Can't we, as a PEOPLE, lay off the snarkiness in this campaign long enough to see the people in the danger areas through this? Many of our fellow citizens are likely to be harmed or killed. They need our support, too, even if only to let them know we're there for them.

    Oh, well, one can hope...

    October 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lars Hansen

    Dear anchorpersons,: will you please stop shouting?1 You are sitting in a studio for goodness's sake!

    October 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bluemountain

    That great American patriot, I mean windbag Newt G, is already using the storm as an opportunity to criticize the Pres about the tragedy in Libya. Apparently the Pres is hypocritical to be concerned about Americans in harms way in the US because of what foreign terrorists did in Libya. I'm sure in his inimitable shameless style he could go on for hours on the topic.
    Newt, don't go away mad, just go away.

    October 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
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