UK/USA: Millions braced for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy

BRITONS are among millions of people stockpiling supplies as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the US East Coast, threatening to bring an 11ft storm surge to New York.

Parts of the US city have been evacuated amid fears of flooding and power cuts as the superstorm - predicted to hit land at around 7pm local time - approaches.

Travel agents in Suffolk said they have been contacting clients who are still stateside to ensure they are safe.

Two people remain missing after a crew of 16 on tall ship the HMS Bounty - which appeared in films including Pirates Of The Caribbean - were forced to abandon ship when it was left stranded around 90 miles (145km) south-east of North Carolina and around 160 miles (258km) west of the eye of Hurricane Sandy.

Helicopters rescued 14 of the crew - originally reported to be 17, but later said to be 16 - from life rafts in the Atlantic Ocean, but two were missing.

Vincent McAviney, 24, from London, said: “I was meant to be flying to (Washington) DC this morning at 11 for a holiday but last night I checked my flight status at 7.30 and it was listed as cancelled.

“I called them again this morning when the lines opened. I managed to get through after being on hold for 25 minutes so I rearranged for the first available flight, which is Thursday.”

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Forecasters are predicting a potentially lethal storm surge as Hurricane Sandy hits Long Island Sound off New York.

Due to collide with a storm moving in from the west and cold air from the Arctic, it is expected to wreak havoc over 800 miles (1,287km) from the East Coast to the Great Lakes, with states of emergency declared from North Carolina to Connecticut.

There are fears that parts of lower Manhattan could be swamped by the storm surge, flooding subway tunnels and crippling electrical and communications lines, and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered people in low-lying areas to evacuate, while transport networks have been closed.

Do you have family or friends on the East Coast? Email or phone (01284)727411