Red Cross prepares for Hurricane Sandy, Local Volunteer Deploy

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Local Red Cross volunteers are preparing to leave Saturday to help east coast families cope with Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy blows out of Bahamas, after killing 40 in Caribbean, en route to US coast

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) -- Some East Coast residents still recovering a year after being battered by Hurricane Irene are bracing for an even bigger storm.

Forecasters are warning that Hurricane Sandy will blend with two winter weather systems and form a rare megastorm that could spawn damaging winds, nearly a foot of rain and up to 2 feet of snow in some locations. Experts warn such a storm has the potential to be wider and stronger than Irene, which caused more than $15 billion in damage.

Some officials in seaboard states and cities have already declared states of emergencies. Residents are being warned they could go without power for several days.

The approaching storm has prompted the military to move some vessels out a major base in Virginia. Utilities have boosted manpower to ratchet up their storm response capability. Some airlines are saying they won't charge fees for passengers forced to change their plans.

The presidential campaign is also being impacted. Republican challenger Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden have both canceled weekend events in coastal Virginia Beach, Va.

Sandy has just left the Bahamas. It's blamed for at least 40 deaths in the Caribbean. Residents from Florida to North Carolina will experience peripheral impacts of the hurricane through the weekend.

Storm could upend campaign travel plans

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney's meticulously arranged travel schedules could be upended in the last full week before Election Day by a super storm barreling toward some battleground states.

And it's more than just travel that could be disrupted. A confluence of high wind, heavy rain, extreme tides and maybe snow could make it harder for Americans to participate in early voting, an important part of both campaigns' efforts, particularly for Obama.

Romney's campaign already has canceled a rally scheduled for Sunday in coastal Virginia Beach, Va. Two other events in the state are still on for Sunday, though Romney's campaign said it was watching the storm's trajectory closely. Obama's campaign hasn't canceled any events yet, but is also monitoring the storm.

Airlines ask fliers to reschedule due to big storm

NEW YORK (AP) -- Some U.S. airlines are giving travelers a way out if they want to scrap their plans due to a massive storm expected to hit the East Coast.

JetBlue, US Airways and Spirit Airlines are offering waivers to customers who wish to reschedule their flights without the typical fee of up to $150. Other airlines are monitoring the storm and plan to update passengers later Friday.

Hurricane Sandy plowed through the Bahamas early Friday after leaving 38 people dead across the Caribbean. It could blend with a winter storm to produce a so-called "Frankenstorm" along the U.S. East Coast next week.

Those hoping to fly in or out of affected areas are asked to check their flight status before heading to the airport. To cancel, they should call the airline directly.

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