Ohio is bracing for a superstorm threatening some 50 million people from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.
The National Weather Service warned people living in low-lying areas and along the Lake Erie shoreline to watch for flooding early in the week.
High wind warnings for gusts up to 65 mph have been posted across parts of Ohio, threatening utility lines and trees. Rain is forecast through mid-week.
Hurricane Sandy is headed north from the Caribbean toward the mid-Atlantic coast and a collision with a wintry storm moving from the west.
Electric utilities that make up the East Coast operating areas of Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. are preparing for the storm. Akron-based FirstEnergy, with six million customers in six states, asked customers to take all necessary precautions.
From Washington to Boston, big cities and small towns Sunday buttoned up against the onslaught of a superstorm that could endanger 50 million people in the most heavily populated corridor in the nation, with forecasters warning that the New York area could get the worst of it — an 11-foot wall of water.
“The time for preparing and talking is about over,” Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate said as Hurricane Sandy made its way up the Atlantic on a collision course with two other weather systems that could turn it into one of the most fearsome storms on record in the U.S. “People need to be acting now.”
Airlines canceled more than 5,000 flights and Amtrak began suspending train service across the Northeast. New York and Philadelphia moved to shut down their subways, buses and trains Sunday night and announced that schools would be closed on Monday. Boston, Washington and Baltimore also called off school. And non-essential government employees in the nation’s capital were told not to report for work in the morning.