One by one, local school systems — including those in the District and Fairfax and Montgomery counties — said they did not plan to open Monday. Some took the rare step of announcing they would not open on Tuesday or Wednesday either. Early voting in the District and Maryland was canceled for Monday.
People were encouraged to stay indoors and off the roads. And Halloween figured to be a washout.
Cities north along the Eastern Seaboard took similar action.
New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) ordered the evacuation of Coney Island and Lower Manhattan, and authorities shut down the city’s schools and its subway system, effectively bringing the nation’s largest city to a near halt. More than 60 miles inland, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D) urged people to leave low-lying neighborhoods.
Thousands of flights in and out of eastern cities were canceled, and utility crews were summoned from distant states after it was predicted that 10 million people might lose electricity.
In the Washington area, utilities used robo-calls to warn people to prepare to be without power for days or weeks. Some people spent Sunday gathering sandbags and supplies. Coastal resorts in Maryland and Delaware were evacuated.
Weather forecasters and governors spent Sunday warning that Hurricane Sandy and its co-conspirators — a jet stream barricade to the west, a strong nor’easter and a full moon that drives tides to abnormal heights — were not be be trifled with.
“This storm is a killer storm that will likely take more lives as she makes landfall,” said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). “This is a very large and unprecedented storm. It will be a couple of days before it will be even safe to get linemen out on the streets [and] up in the bucket trucks and reconnecting people to power.”
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said Sandy “is unlike any storm I’ve seen in 20 years in office. It’s a very unique weather event this late in the season for the people of Virginia.
“This is going to be a long haul,” he said. “We will no doubt have rain and high winds through Tuesday and in Northern Virginia significant wind and rains into Wednesday. People are going to have to be patient.”
D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said the storm was “unique, large, dangerous and unlike anything our region has ever experienced in a very a long time.”
In New Jersey, where the core of the storm is anticipated to arrive late Monday or early Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie (R) warned the most densely populated state in the nation that the storm’s menace was real.