Some Calgarians will have to wait out a powerful storm rapidly closing in on the eastern United States.

Sandy, now downgraded to a post-tropical storm, has shut down mass transit in several cities, including New York, and led to the cancellation of more than 7,000 flights.

Among the stranded travellers is a group of deaf and hard-of-hearing students from Queen Elizabeth High School, waiting out the storm in Washington, D.C.

A spokesperson from the Calgary Board of Education says the students had expected to leave Monday morning, but their flight was cancelled. They are still in their hotel and booked for a new flight home on Thursday.

Meanwhile Joanne Petersen and her husband Bil have been forced to extend their first trip to New York City, stuck waiting the storm out at a hotel in Times Square.

"There's not a lot to do but wait I guess," she said.

She's worried rain and high winds could bring down a damaged crane high up on a building a few blocks away. 

"Those are the types of things you worry about. Things that are on top of the buildings, like being down in Times Square there's so many huge signs and whatnot and you wonder, you know, whether something like that could come sailing through your hotel."

The Petersens were supposed to leave Monday morning. Their agent Ruth Thompson with Crowfoot Travel Solutions has booked them on a new flight on Wednesday.

Sandy has maximum sustained winds of about 140 km/h, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in a statement released at 7 p.m. ET. More than one million people are already without power, Reuters reported, with many more expected to lose power as high winds lash the coast.