Photograph showing scale of the flooding in Atlantic City (Instagram/Hoeboma)
Photograph showing scale of the flooding in Atlantic City (Instagram/Hoeboma)

The streets of New Jersey's Atlantic City are inundated after huge waves whipped up by Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern board of the United States.

Pictures taken by local residents were uploaded to social networks such as Twitter and Instagram, showing the extent of the damage to a city which is popular among gamblers and is the setting for the TV series Boardwalk Empire.

"The city's basically flooded," said William Glass, the city's public safety director. "Most of the city is under water...It looks like it's going to be worse than the storm of '62, which was monumental.

"Saving lives and making sure everyone is safe is our priority."

The scene in Marghate, Atlantic City (Twitter/@alexadenike)
The scene in Marghate, Atlantic City (Twitter/@alexadenike)

Emergency services have warned they expect conditions for Atlantic City to get much worse by evening tide, and the situation is exacerbated by the storm coinciding with a full moon.

More than 8,000 people were without power across the state as Sandy - which has been dubbed 'Frankenstorm' because of its potential power and proximity to Halloween - moves closer.

All 12 casinos along the boardwalk were shut down and evacuated over the weekend as Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency for the entire state.

Margate, New Jersey (Twitter/@Dan_Grossman)
Margate, New Jersey (Twitter/@Dan_Grossman)

Sandy is a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 90 mph. Around 50 million people could be affected by the 1,000-mile-wide (1,600-km) storm, which forecasters believe could be the largest ever to hit mainland America.

"This is the worst-case scenario," said Louis Uccellini, environmental prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The sentiment was echoed by Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. He told reporters: "There will undoubtedly be some deaths that are caused by the intensity of this storm, by the floods, by the tidal surge, by the waves. The more responsibly citizens act, the fewer people will die."

Sandy has blamed for at least 65 deaths in the Caribbean before it began traveling towards the US.

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