(CNN) -- States up and down the East Coast are bearing the early brunt of Hurricane Sandy, which started to turn toward the United States on Monday. The Category 1 hurricane's center is expected to hit land tonight.
Its eye is taking aim at southern New Jersey's shoreline and the Delmarva Peninsula, which is divided into parts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, but forecasters say the large storm will affect a much wider area.
More than 765,000 customers were without power across seven states Monday afternoon, according to a CNN tally.
Here's a look at how coastal states are dealing with the storm:
Gov. Dan Malloy said authorities are worried about high tides -- particular the one at midnight Monday, which could be up to 11 feet above the normal high tide and "has the potential to cause unprecedented damage."
"The potential loss of life and loss of property in Connecticut, if these numbers are hit, will be extremely high," he said. "This is the most catastrophic event that we have faced and been able to plan for in any of our lifetimes. And we continue to do anything in our power to be ready."
Due to dangerous driving conditions, all state highways were closed to nonemergency vehicles starting at 1 p.m. Monday, the governor said in a statement.
Bus service in Connecticut will stay closed for the duration of the storm, Malloy said. He said his state has 850 National Guard troops ready to assist with recovery efforts as needed.
President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency for Connecticut.
Parts of the Delaware coast have already experienced significant flooding.
By early Monday, the National Guard and local authorities were responding to residents who did not evacuate and "need to be rescued from flooding," Gov. Jack Markell said in a Twitter post.
Markell ordered the evacuation of all coastal communities and a flood-prone area in southern Delaware.
Shelters opened beginning Sunday afternoon to accommodate those who have left their homes but have nowhere else to go. Statewide, 500 people spent the night in five shelters, Markell said Monday.
"The biggest concerns, the rain and the wind together make driving conditions absolutely miserable, so we put in a driving restriction today," he said.
The restrictions mean only "essential personnel," such as core government employees and those who provide health care services, should be driving.
Obama declared a state of emergency in the state Monday, the White House said.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The city's mass transit system, known as the Metro, stayed idle Monday.
All Washington public schools were closed Monday, Mayor Vincent Gray announced. "The district is preparing in earnest" for the storm's effects, which could include heavy rain, street flooding, strong winds, power outages and storm-surge flooding along the Potomac River and its tributaries, Gray said.
All federal buildings were closed to the public Monday.
Obama declared a state of emergency in the District of Columbia on Sunday.
The Maine Emergency Management Agency warned Sandy could create "significant problems" such as high surf, fierce winds and coastal erosion.
Flooding is also possible in areas where rain is heaviest, emergency officials said.
In anticipation of widespread power outages, Gov. Paul LePage signed a "limited emergency declaration" so power crews from other states and Canada can help the state prepare for Sandy. The declaration also extends the hours that power company crews can drive.
Gov. Martin O'Malley said officials in Maryland have prepared for the worst.
"And unfortunately, given the turn of this storm," he said, "it looks like we're going to be the recipients of the worst."
The storm is intensifying, he said Monday afternoon, and the state will likely see massive power outages.
"We have not seen something this wide that will be pounding on us for this sort of duration in many, many decades," he said.
Public schools in Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George's County were closed Monday. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced mandatory travel restrictions for city roadways, starting at 6 p.m. Monday.
In the coastal city of Annapolis, city crews distributed sandbags to residents and businesses to help them prepare for flooding.
Obama declared a state of emergency in Maryland on Sunday.
Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency for the Bay State.
Hoping to avoid the kind of criticism utilities received after last year's Hurricane Irene and other storms, Patrick said utilities plan to pair tree removal and power restoration crews, rather than having them work separately, so that work can be done more efficiently.
Boston announced that schools were closed Monday, and all public transportation services in the city were suspended at 2 p.m.
Obama also declared a state of emergency for Massachusetts.
"All in all, we're holding our own," Patrick told reporters Monday afternoon. "I think it's going well, but it's nature, and it can change in a minute."
Sandy could bring winds of up to 70 mph and dump between 1 and 4 inches of rain to parts of the Granite State, Gov. John Lynch's office said.
Lynch urged drivers to stay off the state's roads and asked employers to release workers early Monday afternoon to avoid travel after 3 p.m. when high winds and heavy rains are expected to intensify.
"This will be significant storm for New Hampshire, and we are urging all citizens to exercise common sense and extreme caution," Lynch said in a statement after declaring a state of emergency.
The governor asked the National Guard to place 100 troops on active duty, with 100 more on standby.
Several feet of water were flooding parts of Atlantic City on Monday, and authorities were working to evacuate hundreds of people from West Atlantic City, where waters were "dangerously high," said Linda Gilmore, a spokeswoman for Atlantic County.
Atlantic City will be under curfew from 6 p.m. Monday until 6 a.m. Tuesday, police said.
By Monday afternoon, more than 35,000 customers had lost power throughout the state.
"If you do not have power, please do not choose today as the time you decide to tap into your creative juices and jerry-rig a power source. ... If it looks stupid, it is stupid," Gov. Chris Christie said Monday.
New Jersey was the first to announce mandatory evacuations. The state's barrier islands from Sandy Hook south to Cape May must be cleared out, along with Atlantic City's casinos.
Tolls have been suspended on the northbound Garden State Parkway and the westbound Atlantic City Expressway so people in those areas can leave more quickly, he said.
All state offices were closed Monday, with only essential employees expected to report to work, Christie announced.
New Jersey Transit came to a halt and will remain suspended indefinitely.
Authorities "anticipate there could be many days without power" after the storm, Newark Mayor Cory Booker said Monday. He also expects flooding in the area to get worse.
Obama declared a state of emergency in New Jersey, Christie announced Monday.
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 expects 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 Monday night.
Officials are keeping a close eye on how high the seawater is rising and may pre-emptively shut down some electrical equipment since many of the city's electric cables are underground, Con Edison spokesman Alfonso Quiroz said.
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 night. Instead of tourists and theater fans, piles of sandbags lined Broadway.
To prepare for the possibility of flooding, New York officials closed 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. But as of midday, two people were still missing, and the ship had sunk, a Coast Guard spokesman said.
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 8 or more inches.
Gov. Tom Corbett declared a statewide disaster emergency ahead of the storm.
Flooding, power outages and sustained high winds are anticipated, his office said. Sandy could even bring snow to parts of southwestern Pennsylvania and in higher elevations.
"Essentially, this is a hurricane wrapped in a nor'easter," Corbett said.
Throughout the state, 1,600 National Guard troops were deployed, the governor said in a Twitter post.
Public schools in Philadelphia were closed Monday.
Public transportation in the Philadelphia area has also been suspended.
The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency urged all residents to prepare for prolonged power outages, wind damage and water damage by keeping an emergency kit, securing property and taking boats out of the water.
State authorities have taken precautions such as checking and clearing drains in flood-prone areas and relocating state equipment if necessary.
Public schools in Providence, the state capital, were closed Monday.
Obama has declared a state of emergency for Rhode Island.
Heavy rains from the fringes of Sandy pelted much of South Carolina's coast, from Charleston to Myrtle Beach.
Virginia was one of several states to declare a state of emergency ahead of the storm. Computer models predict parts of the state could see as much as a foot of rain.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said Monday morning that his state had seen signs of the storm for days, but the worst was yet to come. Authorities are estimating that more than 1 million people could be without power after the storm, he said.
Sandbags piled up inside restaurants in the Old Town section of Alexandria along the banks of the Potomac River.
The Virginia National Guard was authorized to bring as many as 500 personnel onto active duty.
All public schools in Fairfax County, a large school district in northern Virginia, will be closed Monday and Tuesday. Schools in Arlington, Norfolk and Newport were closed Monday.