'Historic' Sandy Whirls Offshore

8:42 PM, Oct 27, 2012   |    comments
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USA TODAY

Hurricane Sandy has one-sixth of the nation on edge.

As 50 million people in the storm's path await the outcome, Sandy is making its way slowly along the Eastern Seaboard from the sea off North Carolina.

Evacuations are being considered in low-lying areas. In southeast Wilmington, Del., 3,000 residents are under an order to leave by noon Sunday. Mayor James Baker said the area could get higher-than-normal water levels that may threaten safety.

In Delaware City, school buses are lined up and ready to be called into action.

Officials issued a mandatory evacuation for New York's Fire Island. About 200 permanent residents of the summer haven have until 2 p.m. Sunday to leave the island that officials say is prone to flooding. "It's a thin strip of land and it borders two sides of water," says Inez Birbiglia, spokeswoman person for the Town of Islip, which has partial jurisdiction over the area. "They need to evacuate so that resources during the emergency can be allocated to other needy places on the mainland."

Sandy took a short breather early today and weakened into a tropical storm, but only for a couple of hours before it roared back to hurricane status.

It is expected to push heavy rains into most of the region by Monday. The storm's center is likely to make landfall somewhere along the New Jersey or Delaware coast late Monday, according to computer forecasting models.

In Rehoboth Beach, Del., city workers are on the beach, removing benches, trash cans and anything else that could become a dangerous missile.

The storm's winds, rains and potential snow could cause widespread havoc. Weather forecasters predict up to 10 inches of rain in some regions, snowstorms in others and widespread wind damage that could down power lines.

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