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The latest forecasts have the storm moving up along the East Coast and potentially making landfall somewhere between North Carolina and Maine early next week, meaning a large portion of the country's population is starting to get nervous.
Adding to the possible danger from the storm is its tremendous size — tropical storm force winds extend out more than 275 miles (445 kilometers) from the storm's center — and its potential to merge with a cold front currently crossing the country to create a situation similar to the "perfect storm" that hit the Northeast in 1991 and caused more than $200 million in damage.
While this forecast may sound apocalyptic, there's no need to panic. Staying alert to weather forecasts and alerts and taking a few simple precautions can make all the difference in protecting yourself from a storm.
Residents of the East Coast should be watching the weather, taking stock of their emergency supplies and beginning to think about precautions they might need to take for this storm, said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center. People should start paying attention now, "because early next week might be too late," Feltgen told OurAmazingPlanet.
Here are a few of the main hurricane preparation tips to take note of:
What to do now:
"You need to have a hurricane plan," Feltgen said. This includes being aware of your area and what damage it might be susceptible to, as well as evaluating your home for potential hazards. "These are all things you need to think of before a hurricane," he said.
If you're likely to be affected by the storm:
If you're in the range of a direct or near-direct hit:
What NOT to do:
For those who experienced Hurricane Irene last year, the necessity of preparing and evacuating may be acutely clear, with scenes from the storm still fresh in collective memories.
"Irene was a great wake-up call," Feltgen said. It got rid of the region's "hurricane amnesia," which had been in place because of the generation-long gap following the previous major storm to hit.
Some areas, like New York City, didn't see the major impacts from Irene that had been warned, but Feltgen warns people not to become complacent.
"If you prepared for the last storm and it didn't happen, you were lucky," he said. Better to prepare for a storm that misses you than not prepare for one that doesn't.
"You want to be a storm survivor," Feltgen said.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the extension of Sandy's wind field.
Copyright 2012 OurAmazingPlanet, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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