New Jersey was the first to announce mandatory evacuations. The state's barrier islands from Sandy Hook south to Cape May were ordered to clear out, along with Atlantic City's casinos.
"We're at a moment now where evacuations are no longer possible. And we're no longer able to come and rescue people," Gov. Chris Christie said Monday afternoon.
Addressing those who chose not to evacuate, he said: "We will not be able to come and help you until daylight tomorrow. Please try to hunker down and stay safe until then."
All state offices were closed Monday, with only essential employees expected to report to work, Christie announced. The same will be true Tuesday.
New Jersey Transit came to a halt and will remain suspended indefinitely.
Obama declared a state of emergency in New Jersey, Christie announced Monday.
A New York man was killed Monday in Queens when he was struck by a tree that fell on his house, officials said, marking the storm's first confirmed U.S. death.
New York City's ubiquitous public transit system shut down ahead of Sandy's landfall, leaving iconic sites such as Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station empty.
The city expected a slow surge of water to flood low-lying areas such as Queens, the Bronx and Battery Park in Manhattan, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg warned Monday that New York is "well within the danger zone" of the storm and said parts of the city could see storm surges up to 12 feet high between 6 and 10:30 p.m. on Monday.
Energy company Con Edison shut off power to parts of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn on Monday night. Seawater from the storm surge threatened to flood the underground system.
Mandatory evacuations are in place for parts of the city. Evacuation centers have been opened in 76 locations, and schools were closed Monday.
Offices at the United Nations in Manhattan also were closed Monday. So was the New York Stock Exchange, which officials said would also be closed on Tuesday.
The Broadway League canceled all Broadway performances Monday and Tuesday night. Instead of tourists and theater fans, piles of sandbags lined Broadway.
Meanwhile, a crane atop a luxury Manhattan skyscraper under construction partly collapsed Monday, leaving its arm precariously perched and hanging over West 57th Street. New York City is experiencing strong winds because of Sandy, and the property group managing the site blamed the collapse on the storm.
Ahead of possible flooding, New York officials closed various bridges and tunnels, including two key traffic arteries Monday: the Hugh L. Carey and Holland tunnels, which connect Manhattan with Brooklyn and Jersey City, New Jersey, respectively. They also announced the closure of the Tappan Zee Bridge, which stretches across the Hudson River about 25 miles north of New York City.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed 2,000 troops to mobilize for Sandy, and Obama has declared a state of emergency for New York.
Crew members of a tall ship used for classic adventure films faced a harrowing real-life drama Monday as Hurricane Sandy forced them to abandon ship about 90 miles off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
Fighting waves towering 18 feet high and winds of 40 mph, a group from the HMS Bounty boarded two lifeboats, the Coast Guard said. Two helicopter crews saved 14 people stranded in the Atlantic Ocean.
A deckhand missing from the ship was found dead, the Coast Guard said. The ship's captain remains missing.
Strong winds and rain that fell sideways lashed the Outer Banks as the outskirts of Sandy pummeled the barrier islands.
Forecast expect between 4 and 7 inches of rain to fall over several days in the Outer Banks, with some spots receiving eight or more inches.
North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue has declared a state of emergency for 24 counties in the western part of her state due to snow.