cnn weatherman (hurricane sandy)*There’s a storm brewing up and down the US East Coast and it’s no joke. It so serious it’s being referred to as a “Frankenstorm.”

Seriously, emergency preparations are being ramped up for Hurricane Sandy, a monstrous and deadly storm that could severely impact cities and towns with heavy flooding and fierce winds.

Sandy moved slowly off the coast of South Carolina as a Category 1 storm, having left at least 45 dead in its wake in the Caribbean and Central America. It is expected to begin seriously affecting heavily populated coastal areas in the East as early as Sunday.

Residents from North Carolina to New England sandbagged low lying areas, secured and fortified homes and buildings, and packed stores to stock up on bottled water, food, and batteries in anticipation of widespread power outages.

Presidential campaigns adjusted their schedules to account for Sandy’s potential impact. At least one state that could be hit hard, Virginia, is a hotly contested battleground in the November 6 election.

Several states declared emergencies and accelerated storm preparations. New Jersey was the first to announce mandatory evacuations.

“We have to prepare for the worst here,” Gov. Chris Christie said.

The state’s barrier islands from Sandy Hook south to Cape May must be cleared out by Sunday afternoon. Those at Atlantic City casinos also must leave by then.

The biggest threat scenario involves the hurricane colliding with a cold front from the West, creating a “superstorm” that could stall over the Eastern seaboard for days. Residents have been asked to prepare for the possibility of a week or more without power.

CNN Weather estimates that damage from Sandy could reach $3.2 billion. This estimate is based only on wind damage and does not include flooding.

Read/learn more at CNN

Watch this CNN video report about the storm: