The pictures of huge waves crashing onto the shoreline are a constant warning to millions of Americans on the eastern seaboard. They await the impact of Hurricane Sandy.
Now it is threatening to blow the presidential election off course with some believing the storm could hand Barack Obama a political advantage.
He has suspended campaign stops and returned to Washington and a chance to show his powers and appear presidential.
“Because of the nature of the storm. We are certain that this is going to be a slow moving process through a wide swath of the country. And millions of people are going to be affected. So the most important message that I have for the public right now is please listen to what your State and local officials are saying. When they tell you to evacuate you need to evacuate,” he said.
Challenger Mitt Romney has also cancelled events. Commentators point out he does not want to be seen focusing only on the election with a possible national disaster looming.
“I’d like to ask you who are here to think about making a donation to the Red Cross or another relief agency. To be of help in a possible way to those that are in harm’s way,” he told his supporters.
Both men have cancelled events in Florida a state critical in the election but not in the path of Sandy.
That highlights its impact on the ballot which analysts say is too close to call.