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US east coast braces for worst from "Sandy"

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US authorities have warned millions of Americans to prepare for gale-force winds and life-threatening floods, as Hurricane Sandy churned up the Atlantic coast on Sunday, threatening to make landfall somewhere between Virginia and Connecticut by late Monday or early Tuesday.

Sandy's winds are set to intensify as it merges with a wintry storm from the western US. 

Sandy's winds are set to intensify as it merges with a wintry storm from the western US. A number of states have declared a state of emergency as it is expected to bring life-threatening storm surges to the mid-Atlantic coast, Long Island Sound and New York harbor.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the Category 1 hurricane is about 400 kilometers south-east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and 635 kilometers south of New York City. New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has ordered the immediate and mandatory evacuation of 375-thousand people living in low-lying coastal areas. Earlier, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced the suspension of public transport services including subways, buses, and railways. Up to 50 million people could be affected by the storm.

Flooding and power outages are said to be the top risks. President Barack Obama has urged residents in the path of Hurricane Sandy to take the storm seriously.

Barack Obama said, "Obviously all of us across the country are concerned about the potential impact of Hurricane Sandy. This is a serious and big storm and my first message is to all the people across the eastern seaboard, Mid-Atlantic, going north that you need to take this very seriously."


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