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Hurricane sparks US emergency declarations

SHIP BOTTOM, New Jersey -- Governors from North Carolina to Connecticut declared states of emergency and Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities as Hurricane Sandy lumbered north from the Caribbean — where it left nearly 60 dead — to threaten the eastern U.S. with sheets of rain, high winds and heavy snow.

Officials warned millions in coastal areas to get out of the way of the massive storm.

Sandy was expected to affect up to 60 million people when it meets two other powerful winter storms. Experts said it didn't matter how strong the storm was when it hit land: The rare hybrid that follows will cause havoc over 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.

U.S. President Barack Obama was monitoring the storm and working with state and locals governments to make sure they get the resources needed to prepare, administration officials said.

Craig Fugate, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the storm was a threat to the region's interior, not just coastal areas: “This is a very large area,” he said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency Saturday as hundreds of coastal residents started moving inland and the state was set to close its casinos. New York's governor was considering shutting down the subways to avoid flooding and half a dozen states warned residents to prepare for several days of lost power.

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A news crew wades through sea foam blown onto Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, North Carolina on Sunday, Oct. 28 as wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy move into the area. (AP)

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