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Five reasons Hurricane Sandy is a monster

 A truck drives through water pushed over a road by Hurricane Sandy in Southampton

Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Hurricane Sandy will hit with a wallop when it slams ashore late Monday.

Although barely a Category 1 hurricane, Sandy has tens of millions of people in the U.S. preparing for massive storm surges, powerful winds and even snow.

Here are five reasons why Sandy will be a monster:

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"Frankenstorm"

Hurricane Sandy will unleash a rare hybrid "super storm" that some meteorologists have dubbed a "Frankenstorm". As it blows ashore late Monday – making a sharp westward turn – Sandy is expected to collide with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic. The result: An epic storm.

Range

Sandy may be the largest-diameter storm ever to strike North America, with a diameter of more than 1,500 kilometres if measured by the extent of damaging-force winds. And because it's headed toward the Eastern Seaboard, the storm could endanger up to 50 million people for days if it causes widespread power outages and cripples vital communications lines.

Full moon

The timing of Sandy couldn't be worse: It's a full moon Monday, meaning already higher tides.

Storm surge

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is warning of "life-threatening storm surge" across the Eastern Seaboard. If high tides and the storm's peak surge coincide, the water could reach more than three metres in New York Harbor. As well, Sandy is expected to bring up to 30 centimetres of rain.

Snow

The combination mega-storm will pack a wallop, with up to one metre of snow expected in the Appalachian Mountains from West Virginia to Kentucky.

With a report from The Associated Press

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