The current weather conditions are not exactly the same as what produced the tempest. Although Grace contributed significantly to the storm, it did not progress to New England and did not make landfall, weather records show.
On Friday, residents in South Jersey were already stocking up on batteries and bottled water, and hardware stores have put up preparedness displays, KYW reported. One location quickly sold out of electric generators.
"This is the worst timing for a storm," Newark Mayor Cory Booker told CNN's Soledad O'Brien. "You have fall ending, a lot of loose branches.
"The storm itself will be bad, but I worry about the aftermath, people being caught without power."
Along the Jersey shore, storm preparations included bulldozers shoring up piers with mounds of sand. Worried residents filled sandbags in case of flooding.
"We will be piling up as much sand as possible along the beachfront," said Frank Ricciotti, Margate, New Jersey, public works director. "I think the water damage is worse than another type of damage, and the hardest thing is to stop water, once it starts coming up."
Farther south, in the Norfolk, Virginia, area, more than two dozen ships were being sent to sea for their own protection.
Strong winds whipped Florida, where CNN iReporter Simon Davis shot video of an overcast Melbourne Beach.
"I was surprised at just how intense it was for a storm so far off the coast. I was thinking, wow and this is going north? Scary," he wrote.
Miami International Airport on Friday canceled more than 20 flights to or from Jamaica or Bahamas, CNN affiliate WSVN reported. Nearby Fort Lauderdale airport canceled 13 flights to the islands.