It’s all Sandy, all the time, up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

Residents are battening down the hatches and being urged by the White House to heed instructions from local officials – be they mandatory evacuation orders or simply warnings to be prepared with plenty of food, water, batteries etc. in case of prolonged power outages.

Everything is more or less shut down in NYC, where Mayor Bloomberg has ordered the evacuation of Zone A – the lowest lying areas in the five boroughs.

“If you don’t evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you,” Bloomberg said.

“This is a serious and dangerous storm.”

The MTA is shuttering service as of 7 p.m., as per Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s instructions. Schools in NYC and the surrounding areas are closed, as are public parks, and the port of NY and NJ.

“A situation like this, you don’t want to be overly panicked and overly prepared, but you want to be prudent; you want to do what’s necessary.” said Cuomo, who toured the state today.

Also closed or in the process of closing:

Courts in NYC and seven downstate counties (Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Orange, Dutchess and Putnam), Broadway shows, the NYSE trading floor, (though much of Wall Street will be open for business), New Jersey transit, PATH trains, MTA-controlled bridges if sustained winds exceed 60 miles per hour.

Schools are also closed tomorrow in Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore and Boston.

Sandy is expected to make landfall late Monday night or early Tuesday, and could dump as much as 30 centimetres of rain in some areas.

Winds of 130 kilometres per hour may whip up waves as high as 3.3 metres. Some areas may receive as much as 60 cm of snow.

The storm will most likely make landfall in New Jersey. However, it is expected to impact a region spanning 1,300 km.

President Obama has already signed emergency declarations for Maryland and Massachusetts. More are likely to follow.

The massive, slow-moving storm could cause $1 billion worth of damage.

The storm caused a number of candidates – including Obama – to cancel campaign events.

You can map Sandy’s path here.

Fred LeBrun says Sandy will demonstrate whether we’ve learned anything about storm preparedness after Irene and Lee.

In non-storm news…

For the first time in 40 years, Iowa’s most influential paper – The Des Moines Register – is backing the Republican presidential candidate. That’s a big boost for Mitt Romney in a key battleground state.

The NYT issued endorsements in five state Senate races, backing Republican Sens. Steve Saland and Mark Grisanti, Democratic Sen. Joe Addabbo and Democratic challengers Assemblyman George Latimer and Justin Wagner.

The Syracuse Post-Standard is concerned by Cuomo’s “fraying patience” with cash-strapped upstate cities.

Buffalo Teachers Federation head Phil Rumore has won many games of political chicken, but he may have met his match in Cuomo.

Not everyone loves the current GOP strategy of trying state Senate candidates as closely as possible to the popular Democratic governor. “We’re going to have an identity crisis at some point,” an anonymous Buffalo Republican warned.

The TU issued endorsements in six Capital Region Assembly races.

Sen. Jeff Klein says the IDC will be a “permanent third conference” over the next decade. The decision of which party control the Senate could be in his hands.

Even though the Senate Republicans insist they’re confident about Grianti’s chances of winning next Tuesday, they’re spending a lot of money on his race.

Scandal-scarred Assemblyman Vito Lopez is predicting a big win for himself on Nov. 6.

Likening fracking to Love Canal.

Cuomo’s approval rating has dropped ever so slightly, according to the Siena poll.

Madonna was booed for pitching Obama during a concert in New Orleans.

Republican Sen. George Maziarz and Democrat Any Hope Witryol are fighting it out again in the 62nd SD, which has been reconfigured in redistricting. It’s the first time in two decades he’s on the ballot in the entire city of Niagara Falls.

Rep. Nita Lowey must not be too worried about her challenge from Joe Carvin. She has donated more than $695,000 in campaign money to more than two dozen House candidates and several Democratic political organizations this election cycle.

State tax revenue in the first half of the fiscal year were $213 million short of projections and 0.2 percent lower than last year, according to the state Comptroller’s Office.

The Buffalo News endorsed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, saying she has “earned” her own six-year term.

The Watertown Times also backed Gillibrand.

The Cuomo administration, which last year scuttled as too expensive a plan to construct the nation’s first wind energy farm in the Great Lakes, is putting its offshore focus in an area 15 miles into the Atlantic Ocean off New York City.