U.S. East Coast braces as Hurricane Sandy looms

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KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. —

Somewhere, hundreds of miles out across the angry ocean is Hurricane Sandy, slowly moving closer to the Outer Banks.

Firefighters said Saturday evening they will drive around looking for developing problems.

“Our biggest concern is the wind,” said Capt. Pete Turek with the Kill Devil Hills Fire Department.

The firefighters believe the winds will blow over trees. They expect the storm surge to cause flooding on some roads that already have standing water.

As Hurricane Sandy barreled north from the Caribbean — where it left nearly five dozen dead — to meet two other powerful winter storms, experts said it didn't matter how strong the storm was when it hit land: The rare hybrid storm that follows will cause havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.

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Sandy weakened briefly to a tropical storm early Saturday but was soon back up to Category 1 strength, packing 75 mph winds about 335 miles southeast of Charleston, S.C., as of 5 p.m. Experts said the storm was most likely to hit the southern New Jersey coastline by late Monday or early Tuesday.

Tom and Suzanne DuBose are determined that Sandy won’t stop their vacation. Channel 9 found them checking into a resort – the only guests bold enough to come.

As Suzanne DuBose opened the balcony door, she asked, “Are we crazy?”

Her husband said they are going to try to enjoy the view.

“We might not sit outside, but we are going to watch it, yeah,” Tom DuBose said.

They are also keeping an eye on their home in Virginia. Sandy is expected to cause widespread outages there.

They are hoping Sandy doesn’t ruin their vacation and their home.

“I have a sister there that I will be texting back and forth,” Suzanne DuBose said.

The couple is staying for the week.

What makes the storm so dangerous and unusual is that it is coming at the tail end of hurricane season and the beginning of winter storm season, "so it's kind of taking something from both," said Jeff Masters, director of the private service Weather Underground.

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Masters said the storm could be bigger than the worst East Coast storm on record — the 1938 New England hurricane known as the Long Island Express, which killed nearly 800 people. "Part hurricane, part nor'easter — all trouble," he said. Experts said to expect high winds over 800 miles and up to 2 feet of snow as well inland as West Virginia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.