Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall along the southern coast of New Jersey tonight.
Forecasters say in addition to long periods of sustained tropical storm-force winds, the storm will continue to produce historic surge levels along the coast.
In the U.S. Northeast, flights have been cancelled, train and subway service suspended, schools closed and even the New York Stock Exchange has shut down amid fears a surge of seawater could flood lower Manhattan.
The storm is being blamed for the sinking of the replica tall ship HMS Bounty off North Carolina and while the U.S. Coast Guard rescued most of the crew, two are still missing.
Environment Canada has issued wind warnings for Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec and says rainfall amounts could reach 50 mm in some areas.
No warnings have been issued for the Maritimes yet but forecasters say rain will be more of a factor than wind for the region.