MTAThe Times Square subway station, vacant.

It’s a strange day in New York City. Probably D.C., too, but I can’t vouch for that. The city isn’t shut down, just static, sitting in place. It’s been taken offline in weird ways: power in some parts of lower Manhattan, steam and the subways, the stock exchanges. It’s a weird mix of hyper-preparedness and insouciance. Lights are on in apartment windows, people are walking around, businesses are open, businesses are barricaded. It’s 8 million people saying, “OK, let’s see what happens.”

Resources as the storm winds up: Reuters has a liveblog, as does the Atlantic Wire and the Times. If you want to know what to expect, see the Times or the Wall Street Journal, each of which has state-by-state guides. Sandyfeed has real-time text updates. You don’t need us to tell you to take precautions if you’re in an area expected to face the storm — if you’ve ignored the government and other media outlets, you’ll ignore us, too.

For us, the question is this: Why is this happening? Before we see how bad Sandy gets, we can’t help but wonder why it’s on the horizon. Why is this storm, this massive, largest-storm-of-its-kind happening and happening now? We’re biased to assume that it’s related to the climate, to the second-warmest ocean waters in a century, to the unprecedented ice melt in the Arctic. The always-sage Andy Revkin looks at the storm and soberly assesses that it’s hard to attribute to climate change, as one would expect. Because nothing is climate change made manifest. Nothing ever. It’s all a big maybe, like the big maybe that’s a few hundred miles from my house, that shut down the daily lives of millions of people. Will it have minimal damage? Maybe. Will it obliterate cities? Maybe. It’s all a big maybe until it’s unignorable and too late.

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NOAAThe storm track, as of 8 a.m.

New York and New Jersey and Maryland and Delaware are looking out of windows, running through mental checklists, counting batteries. Water is rising. Meteorologists and scientists are issuing warnings.

This thing may not be as bad as it seems it will be. But for God’s sake, you have to prepare for it as though it threatens your life.

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Update: Other outlets draw a more direct line between Sandy and climate change. See Boing Boing and Quartz.