Hurricane Sandy headed north from the Caribbean on Saturday and was expected to pummel the eastern United States.
The U.S. National Weather Service said the storm was expected to make landfall early Tuesday near the Delaware coast, then hit two winter weather systems as it moves inland, creating a hybrid monster storm that could bring torrential rain, high winds, and up to two feet of snow.
Even if Sandy loses strength and makes landfall as something less than a hurricane, the combined storm was expected to bring misery to a huge section of the eastern U.S. An 800-mile wide swath of the country could see 50 mph winds regardless of Sandy’s strength.
Experts said the storm could be wider and stronger than Irene, which caused more than $15 billion in damage when it struck in August 2011, and could rival the worst East Coast storm on record.
On Saturday morning, forecasters said hurricane-force winds of 75 mph could be felt 100 miles away from Sandy’s center.
Sandy killed at least 58 people in the Caribbean, destroyed or badly damaging thousands of homes, and knocked down trees and power lines. On Saturday morning, the storm was about 355 miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina. Its sustained wind speed was about 75 mph.