view counter

Hurricane SandyU.S. East Coast braces for Sandy

Published 29 October 2012

Residents along the U.S. Atlantic coast, from North Carolina to Maine, were bracing form Hurricane Sandy landfall; people began to evacuate certain areas, while in many other places school closures were announced and supplies were quickly disappearing from stores’ shelves; public transit services were suspended Sunday evening, and more than 3,000 flights canceled; the hurricane may be especially ferocious because it was on its path to meet a winter storm and a cold front, together with high tides from a full moon

Residents along the U.S. Atlantic coast, from North Carolina to Maine, were bracing form Hurricane Sandy landfall. People began to evacuate certain areas, while in many other places school closures were announced and supplies were quickly disappearing from stores’ shelves.

Fox News reports that Sandy was at Category 1 strength, reaching 75 mph winds, about 270 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and moving northeast at 14 mph as of 2 p.m. Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Late afternoon Sunday it was about 575 miles south of New York City.

The Hurricane Center notes that the hurricane may be especially ferocious because it was on its path to meet a winter storm and a cold front, together with high tides from a full moon. Weather experts noted that this rare hybrid storm may well wreak mayhem and destruction inland – all the way to the Great Lakes, which are 800-900 miles from the East Coast.

In other developments:

  • Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced that the city was suspending its bus, subway, and commuter rail service Sunday at 7 p.m. Sunday in anticipation of the storm.
  • New Jersey’s PATH train service, which carries passengers between New York City and New Jersey, announced that it would close starting Monday until further notice. Bridges and tunnels would be closed on a case by case basis, and the New York Stock Exchange floor will be closed, but trading will resume electronically.
  • New York mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the closure of all city public schools for Monday and mandatory evacuations of all low-lying areas. He said that residents in lower Manhattan should call 311 or visit the city’s Web site for information on evacuation zones.
  • About 1,100 National Guard troops will be deployed — including 400 on Long Island and 200 in New York City.
  • In Nassau County on Long Island, County Executive Edward P. Mangano said three public shelters were opened at 1 p.m. Sunday. In neighboring Suffolk County, a mandatory evacuation of Fire Island was ordered, with all parks to close at 6 p.m. Sunday.
  • The Statue of Liberty, which was scheduled to reopen Sunday to the public after a renovation, will be closed Monday and Tuesday as Sandy passes through the area.
  • States of emergency were declared from North Carolina, where strong winds whipped steady rain on Sunday morning, to Connecticut. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities by 8 p.m. Sunday.
  • The town of Ocean City, Maryland, has ordered an evacuation of downtown residents by 8 p.m. Sunday. A voluntary evacuation order has been issued for residents and occupants of known low-lying areas. The town says severe flooding is expected.
  • New Jersey governor Chris Christie announced a state of emergency in the state. The announcement will force the shutdown of Atlantic City’s twelve casinos for only the fourth time in the 34-year history of legalized gambling here. City officials said they would begin evacuating the gambling hub’s 30,000 residents at noon Sunday, busing them to mainland shelters and schools. Christie also ordered evacuations for communities along the Jersey Shore and encouraged schools to close Monday.
  • Philadelphia’s transit agency has announced that it will suspend all services at the end of Sunday.
  • The Virginia National Guard was authorized to call up to 500 troops to active duty for debris removal and road-clearing, while homeowners stacked sandbags at their front doors in coastal towns.
  • Amtrak said it was canceling all service north of New York at 7 p.m. SundayNearly all service across the Eastern Seaboard will be canceled starting Monday.
  • Airlines canceled more than 3,000 flights as of Sunday morning, with hubs along the East Coast bearing suffering most of the disruptions.
  • The U.S. Office of Personnel Management says federal offices will be closed Monday and only emergency employees are required to report to work.  Non-emergency employees will be granted administrative leave for their scheduled working hours unless they are required to telework or are traveling or on unpaid leave.

We’re looking at impact of greater than 50 to 60 million people,” said Louis Uccellini, head of environmental prediction for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.