Sandy is a HUGE storm and should be taken seriously it is much different than Irene. The massive circulation will produce a much wider scope of impacts than if it were a small storm, and some of them will reach far inland.
Sandy has undergone merging with the jet stream becoming more of a "hybrid" with characteristics of both tropical and non-tropical cyclones. The bottom line is this no matter what type of storm Sandy is a hurricane, tropical storm, nor'easter or anything in between, it is going to be a monster as it makes landfall somewhere between the Delmarva and New York on Monday.
This is going to be a long-lived event with millions of people feeling the impacts well after the storm comes on land. I can't stress enough that there will be wide spread power outages, so plan to be with out power for several days.