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Sandy Gains Power And Aims For Northeast

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NEW YORK (AP) — Hurricane Sandy is gaining strength and has taken a left turn toward the East Coast and its date with two other weather systems. An official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling it “the worst-case scenario.”

The storm, with tropical storm-force winds extending almost 500 miles from its center, is expected to blow ashore along the New Jersey coast tonight or early tomorrow. Combined with high tides and a full moon, it brings the fear of a huge surge of seawater.

The combined storm is expected to affect everyone from the East Coast to the Great Lakes, with up to 3 feet of snow forecast for the West Virginia mountains.

The Coast Guard says it has rescued 14 members of the crew forced to abandon the tall ship HMS Bounty off North Carolina’s Outer Banks. It’s still searching for two more crew members.

Airlines have canceled thousands of flights in the Northeast and air travel could come to a halt for at least two days. That has caused a ripple effect across the globe.

There’s significant damage to a large ocean pier in the Maryland beach resort of Ocean City. Police say it happened overnight before the worst of the storm even hit.

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