By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Sandy has combined with a strong cold front resulting in the first winter storm of the season in western North Carolina.

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Blizzard conditions are expected and some areas could see up to a foot of snow over the next few days.

From Washington to Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, Hurricane Sandy arrived with stinging rain and strong gusts of winds.

It made landfall right at dusk, during high tide. Many were out of harm’s way by the time the storm arrived, with 375,000 evacuated in low lying areas,

Those who stayed are now dealing with Sandy’s wrath.

Just before the center of the storm made landfall, it was stripped of its hurricane status, but the storm still packed a punch. Heavy winds and drenching rains invaded the East Coast as Sandy made landfall with a vengeance in New Jersey.

The storm blew out windows and flooded streets up and down the East Coast, ripping apart Atlantic City’s historic boardwalk. Electric companies cut power to more than 3 million people. in same cases, high winds snapped power lines.

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New York City got nailed with a 13-foot surge of seawater. New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelley spoke about the status of the city’s power grid.

“Extended periods of time where we don’t have power. And that’s of course.. is what everyone is concerned about,” Kelley said.

The nation’s largest city closed most bridges and tunnels. Right now there are reports of 4 feet of seawater inside tunnels and subways. Some say it may take a week before they are re-opened.

And Sandy has sucker punched the economy, closing the stock market until Wednesday. Many expect Sandy to collide with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air pushing down from the artic.

With more than 50 million people in its path, many are bracing for what could be the biggest tropical storm to hit the U.S.

Hurricane Sandy also forced the crew aboard the HMS Bounty to abandon ship. They were caught in the eye of the hurricane and found themselves jumping onto life boats. The crew watched as the unmanned 3-masted ship floated off into the darkness.

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Fifteen of the 16 on board were rescued, including Minnesotan John Svedsen.

Reg Chapman