State and federal officials Saturday night warned Pennsylvania residents to prepare for widespread flooding and power outages from Hurricane Sandy.
The storm, which is expected to come ashore somewhere along the East Coast late Sunday into early Monday, is anticipated to affect 50-60 million people along the East Coast.
States of emergency have been declared in Maryland, New York, Virginia, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Corbett declared the emergency Saturday night after forecasters predicted the storm will put Pennsylvania in the flood zone.
Philadelphia Mayor Micheal Nutter declared a state of emergency for Philadelphia starting at 5 p.m. Sunday through 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
Flooding, for now, is the main focus of forecasters and federal disaster response agencies, according to Louis Uccellini, director the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Center For Environmental Prediction.
Uccellini said the "extent of heavy rainfall has a danger of flooding for Pennsylvania and Maryland and into northern Virginia.
Sandy is expected to merge with a nor'easter to create a "Frankenstorm" hundreds of miles wide and bringing damaging winds and rain.
"Given the amount of rainfall and the period of time that it's falling over, we expect river flooding to be significant from about 48 hours from now on," Uccellini said. "We're looking at the river valleys in Pennsylvania and Maryland then into New Jersey very carefully."
Officials throughout the area on Friday called for resident to prepare for the storm by having three days of supplies at home -- including batteries, water and food -- in case of widespread power outages.
"Every storm is different," said Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center, "so if you were not impacted by a past storm that doesn't mean it will be exactly the same for you this time."
Federal forecasters said Friday that the "Frankenstorm" involving Hurricane Sandy is expected to smash into the East Coast harder than Hurricane Irene, which last year at this time left hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians without power and led to historic flooding.
"So, there's going to be an inland flood potential," Knabb said. "This is not just going to be a coastal event, although the hazards do start at the coast with the storm surge and exactly who gets the worst of the storm surge is difficult to pinpoint right now."
Also of concern to officials is the strong winds that are expected to cause extended power outages.
"Based upon the wind speeds, we don't expect substantial structural damages," Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said. "What we think the primary impact is going to be is trees and tree limbs down and whatever roof damage from trees coming down as well as power lines. The primary concern with wind is going to be extensive, perhaps widespread power outages due trees coming down, limbs coming down."
The large size of the storm, which could potentially cover the eastern third of the country, will cause multiple weather-related problems that vary from region to region.
Once the storm makes land-fall, it is expected to track east to west before heading north and being taken up by a storm system coming out of Canada.
Come back to Patch for live updates on the storm as it comes through the area. Let us know what you are doing to prepare?