"This is the most catastrophic event that we have faced and been able to plan for in any of our lifetimes," Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy warned. An expected storm surge at midnight could raise water levels to 11 feet above normal high tide, bringing "the potential to cause unprecedented damage."
"It could be bad," said U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Steven Rattior, "or it could be devastation."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put it most bluntly: "Don't be stupid. Get out!"
"This is not a typical storm. It could very well be historic in nature and in scope and in magnitude because of the widespread anticipated power outages, flooding and potential major wind damage," Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said, speaking of his state but just as well about many others in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. "Essentially, this is a hurricane wrapped in a nor'easter." (Sandy could bring 'catastrophe,' impact 60 million)
Officials in Ocean City, NJ "the ocean has met the bay, we have never seen anything like this".