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Sandy a ‘unique, large, dangerous’ storm

  • Al Daisey walks in the floodwaters in front of his home in Fenwick Island, Del., on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Al Daisey walks in the floodwaters in front of his home in Fenwick Island, Del., on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • A maintenance worker named Vitto attaches plywood to a sidewalk grate at the 2 Broadway building of Lower Manhattan in New York, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, as a child walking by takes advantage of the temporary structure. Areas along the Northeast Coast are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy and a possible flooding storm surge. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)A maintenance worker named Vitto attaches plywood to a sidewalk grate at the 2 Broadway building of Lower Manhattan in New York, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, as a child walking by takes advantage of the temporary structure. Areas along the Northeast Coast are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy and a possible flooding storm surge. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
  • A news crew wades through sea foam blown onto Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 as wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy move into the area.  Governors from North Carolina, where steady rains were whipped by gusting winds Saturday night, to Connecticut declared states of emergency. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities by 8 p.m. Sunday. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)A news crew wades through sea foam blown onto Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 as wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy move into the area. Governors from North Carolina, where steady rains were whipped by gusting winds Saturday night, to Connecticut declared states of emergency. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities by 8 p.m. Sunday. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
  • A police officer sets up a road block on South Oregon Inlet Road as water from Hurricane Sandy covers the road in Nags Head, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)A police officer sets up a road block on South Oregon Inlet Road as water from Hurricane Sandy covers the road in Nags Head, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
  • Ocean water rolls over NC 12 at the north end of Buxton, N.C. at dawn on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. Waves from offshore Hurricane Sandy are battering Hatteras Island. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Steve Earley)Ocean water rolls over NC 12 at the north end of Buxton, N.C. at dawn on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. Waves from offshore Hurricane Sandy are battering Hatteras Island. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Steve Earley)
  • High winds blow sea foam into the air as a person walks across Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, as wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy move into the area. Governors from North Carolina, where steady rains were whipped by gusting winds Saturday night, to Connecticut declared states of emergency.  (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)High winds blow sea foam into the air as a person walks across Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, as wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy move into the area. Governors from North Carolina, where steady rains were whipped by gusting winds Saturday night, to Connecticut declared states of emergency. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
  • Skip Horney shields himself from the blowing rain after helping secure boats at Broad Creek Marina in Wanchese, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, as Hurricane Sandy moves up the East Coast. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)Skip Horney shields himself from the blowing rain after helping secure boats at Broad Creek Marina in Wanchese, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, as Hurricane Sandy moves up the East Coast. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
  • Mike Strobel fills sand bags for his business, Mike's Carpet Connection, as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Fenwick Island, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Mike Strobel fills sand bags for his business, Mike's Carpet Connection, as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Fenwick Island, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • Rehoboth Beach, Del., business owners Darryl Ciarlante, left, and Joe Zuber, center, board their windows as Hurricane Sandy approaches the area. (AP Photo/The News Journal, Suchat Pederson)Rehoboth Beach, Del., business owners Darryl Ciarlante, left, and Joe Zuber, center, board their windows as Hurricane Sandy approaches the area. (AP Photo/The News Journal, Suchat Pederson)
  • Tom Morehead, a driver with Ocean City, Md., public transportation, assists Evelyn Krainatc to a convention center on her way to a shelter, as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Ocean City, Md. Tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate coastal areas Sunday as big cities and small towns across the U.S. Northeast braced for the onslaught of a superstorm threatening some 60 million people along the most heavily populated corridor in the nation. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Tom Morehead, a driver with Ocean City, Md., public transportation, assists Evelyn Krainatc to a convention center on her way to a shelter, as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Ocean City, Md. Tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate coastal areas Sunday as big cities and small towns across the U.S. Northeast braced for the onslaught of a superstorm threatening some 60 million people along the most heavily populated corridor in the nation. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • A car goes through the high water as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Ocean City, Md.  Governors from North Carolina, where steady rains were whipped by gusting winds Saturday night, to Connecticut declared states of emergency. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)A car goes through the high water as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Ocean City, Md. Governors from North Carolina, where steady rains were whipped by gusting winds Saturday night, to Connecticut declared states of emergency. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • Residents still hang around the Rehoboth boardwalk as businesses board up their windows in preparation for the approaching Hurricane Sandy. (AP Photo/The News Journal, Suchat Pederson)Residents still hang around the Rehoboth boardwalk as businesses board up their windows in preparation for the approaching Hurricane Sandy. (AP Photo/The News Journal, Suchat Pederson)
  • Molly White, 9, from Frankford, Del., covers her head as she is pelted by blowing sand on the beach, as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast in Ocean City, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Molly White, 9, from Frankford, Del., covers her head as she is pelted by blowing sand on the beach, as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast in Ocean City, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • A worker with the Delaware Department of Transportation directs traffic off of Highway 1 at Fred Hudson Road as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Bethany Beach, Del. Highway 1 is closed northbound from this point with water over the road according to the Delaware State Police. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)A worker with the Delaware Department of Transportation directs traffic off of Highway 1 at Fred Hudson Road as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Bethany Beach, Del. Highway 1 is closed northbound from this point with water over the road according to the Delaware State Police. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • Passengers wait for their flight at at LaGuardia airport, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 in New York. Tens of thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate coastal areas Sunday as big cities and small towns across the Northeast buttoned up against the onslaught of a superstorm (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)Passengers wait for their flight at at LaGuardia airport, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 in New York. Tens of thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate coastal areas Sunday as big cities and small towns across the Northeast buttoned up against the onslaught of a superstorm (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
  • People line up looking for taxis, as they leave Battery Park City in lower Manhattan where a mandatory evacuation order is in place as Hurricane Sandy approaches the Northeast, in New York. (AP Photo/Santiago Lyon)People line up looking for taxis, as they leave Battery Park City in lower Manhattan where a mandatory evacuation order is in place as Hurricane Sandy approaches the Northeast, in New York. (AP Photo/Santiago Lyon)
  • Plywood covers part of the entrance to Bowling Green Station in Battery Park as storm preparation is done in New York. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)Plywood covers part of the entrance to Bowling Green Station in Battery Park as storm preparation is done in New York. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
  • Customers shop for food at a Supermarket in Manhattan.  (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)Customers shop for food at a Supermarket in Manhattan. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
  • A sign informs subway riders of changes in service in the hours before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy in New York Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. Areas in the Northeast Region prepared Sunday for the arrival of the hurricane and a possible flooding storm surge. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)A sign informs subway riders of changes in service in the hours before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy in New York Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. Areas in the Northeast Region prepared Sunday for the arrival of the hurricane and a possible flooding storm surge. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
  • A public shelter in Seward Park High School on the lower east side begins to fill in preparation of the storm in New York.  (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)A public shelter in Seward Park High School on the lower east side begins to fill in preparation of the storm in New York. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
  • A technician with the Battery Conservancy removes below-ground fountain operation equipment near the water's edge at Battery Park in New York. Areas in the Northeast are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy and a possible flooding storm surge. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)A technician with the Battery Conservancy removes below-ground fountain operation equipment near the water's edge at Battery Park in New York. Areas in the Northeast are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy and a possible flooding storm surge. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
  • Two pedestrians walk along the Atlantic City Boardwalk in Atlantic City N.J., as the area prepares for Hurricane Sandy. Tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate coastal areas Sunday as big cities and small towns across the U.S. Northeast braced for the onslaught of a superstorm threatening some 60 million people along the most heavily populated corridor in the nation. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)Two pedestrians walk along the Atlantic City Boardwalk in Atlantic City N.J., as the area prepares for Hurricane Sandy. Tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate coastal areas Sunday as big cities and small towns across the U.S. Northeast braced for the onslaught of a superstorm threatening some 60 million people along the most heavily populated corridor in the nation. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
  • One-year-old Ever Long and her dog, Bailey, peek out the back door of their boarded house for the coming storm as some prepare for the approaching Hurricane Sandy, in Bay View Beach, Del. (AP Photo/The Wilmington News-Journal, Suchat Pederson)One-year-old Ever Long and her dog, Bailey, peek out the back door of their boarded house for the coming storm as some prepare for the approaching Hurricane Sandy, in Bay View Beach, Del. (AP Photo/The Wilmington News-Journal, Suchat Pederson)
  • A surfer holds tight to his board against the strong winds and high surf of the Atlantic Ocean before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy on Sunday, Oct., 28, 2012, in Long Beach, N.Y.  (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)A surfer holds tight to his board against the strong winds and high surf of the Atlantic Ocean before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy on Sunday, Oct., 28, 2012, in Long Beach, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
  • Jeremy Seidel, of Waterford, Conn., covers storefront windows with plywood in the Watch Hill section of Westerly, R.I., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in preparation for high winds from the expected arrival of Hurricane Sandy.  (AP Photo/Steven Senne)Jeremy Seidel, of Waterford, Conn., covers storefront windows with plywood in the Watch Hill section of Westerly, R.I., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in preparation for high winds from the expected arrival of Hurricane Sandy. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
  • Michael Bolick works on the roof of his friend Chris Villarreal's house Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012,  in Sunset Park, N.C. Forecasters say Hurricane Sandy is a couple of hundred miles off the North Carolina coast and the center of the storm is expected to be near the mid-Atlantic coast on Monday night. The National Hurricane Center said Sunday afternoon that the storm has winds of 75 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend up to 175 miles from the storm's center. (AP Photo/The Star-News, Jeff Janowski)Michael Bolick works on the roof of his friend Chris Villarreal's house Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Sunset Park, N.C. Forecasters say Hurricane Sandy is a couple of hundred miles off the North Carolina coast and the center of the storm is expected to be near the mid-Atlantic coast on Monday night. The National Hurricane Center said Sunday afternoon that the storm has winds of 75 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend up to 175 miles from the storm's center. (AP Photo/The Star-News, Jeff Janowski)
  • A man walks the boardwalk in Ventnor, N.J., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, as the area prepares for Hurricane Sandy.  (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)A man walks the boardwalk in Ventnor, N.J., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, as the area prepares for Hurricane Sandy. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)
  • **FILE** Utility workers with Dominion repair damaged lines (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)**FILE** Utility workers with Dominion repair damaged lines (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg arrives at Seward Park High School on the lower east side, the site of one of many public shelters set up in preparation of the storm, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in New York.  (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)Mayor Michael Bloomberg arrives at Seward Park High School on the lower east side, the site of one of many public shelters set up in preparation of the storm, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
  • Senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart plots NOAA and Air Force aircraft fixes at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. Hurricane Sandy is heading north from the Caribbean, where it left nearly five dozen dead, to meet a winter storm and a cold front, plus high tides from a full moon, and experts said the rare hybrid storm that results will cause havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)Senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart plots NOAA and Air Force aircraft fixes at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. Hurricane Sandy is heading north from the Caribbean, where it left nearly five dozen dead, to meet a winter storm and a cold front, plus high tides from a full moon, and experts said the rare hybrid storm that results will cause havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
  • The Flaven family pack up their cars before evacuating the area in Fairfield, Conn., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for Sunday in parts of Bridgeport, Fairfield, East Haven, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Branford. Voluntary evacuations are being urged in parts of Westport and New London. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)The Flaven family pack up their cars before evacuating the area in Fairfield, Conn., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for Sunday in parts of Bridgeport, Fairfield, East Haven, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Branford. Voluntary evacuations are being urged in parts of Westport and New London. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  • Fairfield University students leave the campus in Fairfield, Conn. Sunday Oct. 28, 2012. Tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate coastal areas Sunday as big cities and small towns across the U.S. Northeast braced for the onslaught of a superstorm threatening some 60 million people along the most heavily populated corridor in the nation. (AP Photo/The Connecticut Post, Cathy Zuraw) Fairfield University students leave the campus in Fairfield, Conn. Sunday Oct. 28, 2012. Tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate coastal areas Sunday as big cities and small towns across the U.S. Northeast braced for the onslaught of a superstorm threatening some 60 million people along the most heavily populated corridor in the nation. (AP Photo/The Connecticut Post, Cathy Zuraw)

Officials on Sunday implored residents of the Washington area to use common sense and respect nature's will as Hurricane Sandy steered toward its clash with wintry weather from the north.

What has been called an unprecedented weather event closed schools and government offices and left people up and down the East Coast preparing for power outages and collapsed roofs before a single raindrop fell.

Sandy was headed north from the Caribbean, where it killed more than five dozen people, and was expected to hook west toward the mid-Atlantic coast and come ashore late Monday or early Tuesday, most likely in New Jersey, colliding with a storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic. The series of events has created a potentially devastating mix that could affect the lives of 50 million people from the East Coast to the Great Lakes, forecasters said.

"Let me be clear — this storm is unique, large, dangerous and unlike anything our region has experienced in a very long time," D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said Sunday at the city's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency headquarters.

President Obama traveled the nearly three miles from the White House to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's headquarters for a briefing by agency officials and a conference call with governors from states in the storm's path. The president pledged federal aid to states affected by the storm.

"My message to the governors, as well as to the mayors, is anything they need, we will be there, and we will cut through red tape. We are not going to get bogged down with a lot of rules," he said.

Later Sunday, he declared a state of emergency in the District, as had been requested by city leaders.

New York City announced the closings of its mass-transit and school systems, both the nation's largest, and ordered some 375,000 residents to leave low-lying areas ahead of the massive storm approaching the eastern third of the U.S.

Broadway took the threat of the mammoth storm seriously, with many theater owners canceling Sunday evening shows.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie's emergency declaration will force the shutdown of Atlantic City's 12 casinos for the fourth time in the city's 34-year history of legalized gambling. Officials said they would begin evacuating Atlantic City's 30,000 residents at noon Sunday, busing them to inland shelters and schools.

For Monday, nearly 4,000 flights were canceled.

Amtrak said it was canceling all service north of New York at 7 p.m. Sunday. Nearly all service across the Eastern Seaboard will be canceled beginning Monday.

In the D.C. area, Metro announced closures of its rail and bus systems after the completion of Sunday service until further notice. The transit system reported that it placed sandbags around its tunnels and stations. Both the Maryland Transit Administration and Virginia Railway Express announced Sunday that their commuter-rail trains would not run Monday.

‘Killer storm'

r. Gray and emergency officials have not imposed any curfews or restrictions on movement around the city.

However, D.C. officials asked residents to stay in low levels of their homes to avoid falling trees or heavy branches and to stockpile enough supplies to sustain themselves for 72 hours without power.

The storm is expected to hit the capital region the hardest between 8 a.m. Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday, dumping 4 to 8 inches of rain at rates of up to 2 inches per hour, Mr. Gray said.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley issued similar warnings to people in his state ahead of the massive "killer storm."

"It's very, very important that everybody be vigilant," Mr. O'Malley said at a Sunday afternoon news conference from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Reisterstown. "Be prepared for your own family with flashlights, radio, things you will need for extended days of a power outage for many, many Maryland families."

Mr. O'Malley noted that Mr. Obama had declared the state a disaster area and that some low-lying areas of the state, including downtown Ocean City, had begun mandatory or optional evacuations. Mr. Gray issued a similar request for assistance.

In Virginia, residents along coastal areas were feeling the brunt of the storm by midday Sunday.

Gov. Bob McDonnell said forecasts have borne out to be mostly accurate, with 5 to 7 inches of rain and sustained winds of 40 to 45 mph expected through Tuesday.

"It's going to get a lot worse than it is now in the next couple of days, especially in Northern Virginia on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday," he said at a Sunday afternoon news conference.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management announced late Sunday that federal offices in the D.C. area would be closed Monday, except for emergency employees. The D.C. and Maryland governments followed suit

Sunday evening. Leaders in Virginia said they would make an announcement later Sunday evening about whether their government offices would be closed Monday.

D.C. Public Schools will be closed Monday — so no special-education buses will run — and Mr. Gray encouraged the city's public charter schools to follow suit. Alexandria and Arlington public schools also will be closed Monday.

Public schools in Montgomery County and Fairfax County will be closed Monday and Tuesday.

Test for utilities

The storm will be a critical test for power utilities across the region. Pepco, the oft-maligned electric utility that serves the District and thousands of Maryland customers, faced intense criticism in August 2011 after Hurricane Irene passed through and again in late June when a devastating derecho storm knocked out power for up to a week in some households. The incidents prompted Mr. Gray to form a task force that is exploring the best way to mitigate power outages in the nation's capital, such as burying power lines in high-risk areas.

Pepco has secured 1,473 additional crew members from Southern states that will be less affected by the impending storm, region President Thomas N. Graham said Sunday.

The utility requested 3,700 additional crews, but demand for assistance is competitive because of the size of the looming storm. From an industrywide perspective, about 15,000 requests for additional resources have gone unfulfilled in the Eastern states, Mr. Graham said.

Mr. Graham said crews may not be able to being restoration efforts until Wednesday because of the sustained high winds expected Monday and Tuesday. He also advised customers to report outages and downed wires.

"Any wire that you see down should be considered live," he said.

About 20,000 people in the Hampton Roads, Va., area experienced storm-related power outages by Sunday afternoon, although many of them had their power restored during the day, Mr. McDonnell said.

Dominion Virginia Power has an additional 2,000 people on standby to help with power outages across the state, Mr. McDonnell said.

Residents prepare

The city of Alexandria offered sandbags to residents and businesses hoping to fend off rising water. In 2003, Hurricane Isabel pushed Potomac River water to historic levels, flooding Old Town's cobblestone streets and even parts of the George Washington Parkway.

As he hauled sandbags to the front door of the Old Town restaurant where he works, Michael Solsberry said businesses could only do so much to defend against rising waters and high winds.

"Our window is 20-feet-by-20 feet," Mr. Solsberry, 26, said. "There's not a lot we can do to stop it if it's coming down."

In the District, Megan Baker, 32, rented a car Sunday to help carry the many bags of groceries she had purchased at the grocery store.

"I reverted back to my college years," Ms. Baker, who lives in the H Street area of Northeast, said of her purchases. "Macaroni and cheese, potato chips, ramen noodles and beer."

Ms. Baker said she also brought work home with her on Friday in anticipation of working remotely from the office on Monday.

Back in Alexandria, Shaquana Banks, 36, of Fort Lincoln, did not appear fazed by the mayhem at a Target store. Loading several bags into her car, Ms. Banks said she planned on purchasing only a few extra supplies ahead of the storm.

"I'm from the South, so I'm kind of used to hurricane anything," she said. "I might pick up some extra flashlights and batteries, but all that other extra stuff? Meh."

Despite reports that many grocery stores had run out of bottled water, Mitti Smith said the shelves were "overflowing" with bottled water at a Safeway in Northeast.

 "I was surprised with me coming so late," the 62-year-old said, noting her other supplies included "mostly sandwich meat, bread, milk and creamer for my coffee."

George Hawkins, general manager of D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, said the city's tap water will be safe to drink if the power goes out.

In the "highly unlikely" event that residents lose water pressure — the pumping stations have backup power — D.C. residents should save water in pitchers and fill their tubs with water so they could use it to flush their toilets, Mr. Hawkins said.

Election effects

The storm is especially bearing down on the Eastern Seaboard's voters, with little more than a week to go before the Nov. 6 presidential election.

The D.C. Board of Elections said it is monitoring the storm and would decide late Sunday whether to close early-voting stations Monday.

In Maryland, Mr. O'Malley canceled previously scheduled early voting on Monday and will make an announcement later on early voting scheduled for Tuesday. Hundreds of Marylanders lined up across the state to cast their ballots Saturday and Sunday, and Mr. O'Malley said it was important to keep that trend going.

Mr. McDonnell, whose state has much more limited pre-Election Day options, said he would work with local voter registrars to make sure that people who have permission to vote early in person have the chance to cast their ballots.

Asked whether the storm would have an impact on voting, Mr. Obama said, "We don't anticipate that at this point, but we're obviously going to have to take a look."

⦁ Meredith Somers contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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