Sandy socks East Coast

Superstorm hits 50 million with rain and wind

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In Maryland, Gov. Martin O’Malley pleaded with residents Monday to stay indoors as the storm system pounded his state as the result of a more southerly track than had been forecast.

“Hurricane Sandy is going to come over Maryland, she’s going to sit on top of Maryland and beat down on Maryland for a good 24 to 36 hours,” the governor said during a Monday morning news conference at Maryland Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Reisterstown. The storm closed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and resulted in heavy flooding in parts of Ocean City.

Mr. O’Malley said he expected the “very, very violent storm” to down trees, cut power to hundreds of thousands and bring grave consequences.

“There will be people who die and are killed in this storm,” he said.

D.C. officials expected the storm to drop up to 8 inches of rain on the capital region, with tropical-force winds of 40 to 60 mph during the storms peak from Monday afternoon to Tuesday morning.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced that government offices would remain closed Tuesday, and city election officials decided to suspend early voting for a second day. An outage map from Pepco, the power utility that serves the District and surrounding counties in Maryland, indicated more than 1,800 D.C. customers without power as of the late afternoon.

In a CNN interview, Mr. Gray urged tourists in Washington to stay in their hotels.

Besides Metrorail and bus services, the D.C. Circulator and Capital Bikershare systems were unavailable in the District. The D.C. Taxicab Commission said drivers in the city were authorized to add a flat $15 emergency fare per trip, starting at noon Monday. The special fare would expire after 24 hours, unless canceled sooner.

The District set up relief shelters, accessible to all city residents, on Monday at recreation centers in five different wards. D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5 Democrat, said a shelter in his ward was relocated from the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center to the North Michigan Park Recreation Center so the former could resume its role as an early voting center in coming days.

Soggy start

Weather appeared more soggy than treacherous around the D.C. region in the early morning hours of Monday, yet the dreaded “Frankenstorm” that had crept up the coast all week began to pack a punch after noontime.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told residents Monday afternoon that the worst was still to come from Sandy — especially in the northern part of the state, where Sandy’s effects are supposed to grow stronger by Tuesday morning.

“We’re concerned about Northern Virginia, where the wind gusts could be 70 miles per hour or more,” Mr. McDonnell said at a news conference. “It’s still a very dangerous weather situation around the entire state.”

While power outages have been limited — Dominion Virginia reported almost 10,000 outages as of Monday afternoon, down from a peak of about 57,000 — Mr. McDonnell said the situation was likely to worsen.

“We’d be shocked if those numbers don’t go up dramatically, especially in Northern Virginia,” he said.

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