Coastal flood and high wind watches were in effect for parts of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urged residents to take the storm seriously.
"Everything people did to get people ready for Sandy, we need to do for the nor'easter," she said.
She urged people to check on their neighbors, especially the elderly.
"We have people who want to stay in their homes," Napoletano said. "We know that."
On Staten Island in New York City, Irina Vainauskas and her husband survived Sandy even as water reached the third step of the staircase from their living room to their second floor. They went upstairs with food, water and their cats.
They're prepared to do it again, if necessary.
"Of course we're concerned, but we're just tired to be afraid and to think about everything," she said in her ravaged living room.
"We're survivors. We're from the former Soviet Union," she added. "If we survive the Soviet Union, we will survive this storm, too."
Marilyn Skillender was picking through the pile of her belongings at the curb of her home about two blocks from the ocean in Point Pleasant Beach, worrying about the next storm. She instantly flashed back to a December 1992 nor'easter that pummeled the Jersey shore over two days with widespread flooding and property damage. Her house was inundated in that storm, too.
"Our defenses are down now," she said. "As bad as last week was, if we get new damage, where are they gonna put all the new stuff that's wrecked? If this debris starts floating around, how will we be able to move? All that sand they plowed away, if it comes back again, I don't even want to think about it."
Jim Mauro was one of the few professing not to be overly concerned about the impending nor'easter. A house he owned in Mantoloking was literally wiped off the map by Sandy last week. It wound up in Barnegat Bay.
"What more can it do?" he asked. "I mean, the house is literally gone, right down to the bare sand where it used to be."
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC
Associated Press writers Michael Hill, Jennifer Peltz and Larry Neumeister in New York contributed to this story.