(AFP) – Oct 26, 2012
WASHINGTON — A menacing Hurricane Sandy has prompted Mitt Romney's campaign to cancel a weekend rally in Virginia, an aide said Friday in the first of what may be several disruptions to the presidential race's final 10-day sprint.
The massive storm churning in the Atlantic Ocean is forecast to roar ashore in the US Mid-Atlantic next Monday or Tuesday, bringing intense rain and possible heavy flooding to several states including key battlegrounds Virginia, New Hampshire and even the Midwestern state of Ohio, meteorologists warn.
Sandy, which some forecasters have dubbed a "Frankenstorm" because of its potential to clash with a powerful "nor'easter" just before Halloween, could disrupt the lives of millions in the final, frenzied days before an election that by all accounts is up for grabs.
Concern has swelled that looming power outages could have a drastic impact on voter turnout, polling station readiness, and last-minute campaigning by Romney and President Barack Obama.
There was no immediate word on whether the Romney campaign would scrap the rest of its Sunday events in Virginia, which include a stop in Haymarket, a suburb of Washington, and the state capital Richmond, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Virginia Beach.
The White House has asked for regular briefings on the storm's progress, and stressed that the main focus was ensuring that citizens were "taking the necessary precautions" ahead of the storm.
Obama himself convened a call with Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate and other officials to coordinate emergency preparedness.
Obama "directed Administrator Fugate to ensure that all available federal resources are being brought to bear to support state and local responders in potentially affected areas along the eastern seaboard as they prepare for the severe weather," the White House said in a statement.
The Washington-area, notoriously prone to downed trees and days-long power failures after bad weather, was bracing for election week disruptions with utilities beefing up their power restoration crews.
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