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Hurricane Sandy liveblog: Obama says government will respond 'big and fast' (+video)

President Obama met Sunday with Federal Emergency Management Officials in Washington. 'We will cut through red tape,' he said. 'We are not going to get bogged down with a lot of rules.'

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Bloomberg said a decision on whether to close schools Monday would be made on Sunday.

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Bloomberg said that 65 shelters located in public schools would be open, fully staffed and stocked, Sunday morning at 9 a.m. He added the all city parks would be closed by 5 p.m. on Sunday. As of now, city offices would be open on Monday.

Hurricane Sandy is expected to hit the southern New Jersey coastline late Monday or early Tuesday. It’s poised to meet two other powerful winter storms, and experts say it doesn’t matter how strong Sandy is when it hits land: The rare hybrid storm that follows will cause havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.

"This is not a coastal threat alone," said Craig Fugate, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "This is a very large area."

President Barack Obama was monitoring the storm and working with state and locals governments to make sure they get the resources needed to prepare, administration officials said.

States of emergency have been declared in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and mandatory evacuations are underway in parts of all three states.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called for mandatory evacuations of barrier islands from Sandy Hook to Cape May and for Atlantic City casinos by Sunday at 4 p.m. He ordered state parks closed by noon Sunday. NJ Transit also began preparations for the possible shutdown of service. The systematic shutdown would require a minimum of 12 hours to complete.

Amtrak has begun canceling train service to parts of the East Coast. Airlines are adding Sunday flights out of New York City and Washington in preparation for Monday flight cancellations.

In New York, Long Island officials issued a mandatory evacuation for Fire Island by 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Coastal towns in Connecticut, such as Fairfield, Old Saybrook, and East Haven, have issued mandatory evacuation for residents in beach areas.

With the Associated Press

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