Conn. Gov. Malloy: Sandy could be ‘catastrophic’

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Malloy added that the rising tide Monday night along Long Island Sound could be "catastrophic." 

"That's what we're planning for, we hope it's avoided somehow and some way, but if you look at all the surge maps it's Connecticut that will be most adversely impacted," Malloy said.

Connecticut hasn't had to deal with a storm as big as this before, Malloy said. The governor said that his state has previously only had to deal with a smaller, Category 1 type storm. 

"The implications for damage and loss of life — people aren't paying attention — goes well beyond what's expected," Malloy said. "Listen, we're talking about a Category 4 event in our state now."

The White House announced Monday that President Obama, who was slated to campaign in Florida and Ohio today, would instead return to the White House to monitor the federal response to the storm.

On Sunday, Obama was briefed by federal officials on the storm’s path, and warned residents to take precautions. The president called Sandy a “serious and big storm.”

In a later appearance also on MSNBC, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) said he was primarily concerned with the likelihood of power outages caused by the storm.

"It's a little less with the storm surge. I mean we're going levels a little below Hurricane Irene — although that's pretty dangerous — but our biggest concern is power outages," McDonnell said. "We're expecting as many as a million people without power after the storm passes all up and down the eastern part and the northern Virginia area, maybe more. And so downed power lines, downed trees … that's our biggest concern."

Although the hurricane has caused both the Obama campaign and the Romney campaign to cancel a number of events, McDonnell said the storm is unlikely to dramatically disrupt the presidential race. 

"There's not Republican or Democrat hurricanes. I mean we're working together. [The Federal Emergency Management Agency]'s on the ground and it is a team effort," McDonnell said. "All hands on deck. And when the storm passes we'll have six or seven days left to make the closing arguments to the American people about, in my case, why Mitt Romney's best for jobs and debt and energy in Virginia, but right now the focus is clearly on public safety."

This story was updated at 9:06 a.m.