(CNN) - States up and down the East Coast are bracing for Hurricane Sandy, which started to make its turn toward the United States early Monday. The Category 1 hurricane's center is expected to hit land as early as 8 p.m. ET Monday.
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.
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."
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 Monday.
The restrictions mean only "essential personnel," such as core government employees and those who provide health care services, should be driving.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
The city's mass transit system, known as the Metro, will stay idle Monday.
All Washington public schools will be 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 will be 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.
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. 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 will be closed Monday.
Obama also declared a state of emergency for Massachusetts.
Like several neighboring states, Maryland could see as much as a foot of rain in some areas -- a major reason the state has declared a state of emergency.
Besides flooding, strong winds are expected to cause significant power outages. The Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., for instance, said several hundred thousand customers could be affected.
Public schools in Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George's County will be closed Monday.
In the coastal city of Annapolis, city crews distributed sandbags to residents and businesses to help them prepare for flooding.
President Obama declared a state of emergency in Maryland on Sunday.
Sandy could bring winds of up to 60 mph and dump 2 and 4 inches of rain to parts of the Granite State -- likely starting Monday, Gov. John Lynch's office said.
"While the exact path and severity of the storm remain uncertain, it is clear New Hampshire will experience a significant weather event and I urge everyone to be prepared," Lynch said.
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.
"We have to prepare for the worst here," Gov. Chris Christie said. 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,