Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy--The Aftermath

NBC News has a good summary of the aftermath and impact of the storm. Some highlights:
  • More than 7 million homes and businesses were without power across many states, and nearly half of the outages were in New York and New Jersey. NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins warned to "expect the cleanup and power outage restoration to continue right up through Election Day."
  • A massive fire destroyed at least 50 homes in Breezy Point, a seaside community in Queens, N.Y. Firefighters had difficulty reaching the blaze due to the severe weather. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
  • Seven subway tunnels under the East River in New York City were flooded, leading MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota to declare: "The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night."
  • PATH train service between Manhattan and New Jersey is likely to be suspended for 7-10 days, Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday.
  • Half of Hoboken, N.J., was underwater, preventing emergency crews from reaching areas of the city, according to Mayor Dawn Zimmer. "We want people to be aware that it's a very dangerous situation," she told MSNBC.
  • At least four towns in north New Jersey — Moonachie, Little Ferry, South Hackensack and Hackensack — were submerged by up to 6 feet of water after a levee broke.
  • New York University Medical Center evacuated 215 patients to other hospitals because its backup generator was out. Critical patients — including infants in neonatal intensive care — were taken by ambulance to Mount Sinai Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and New York Presbyterian Hospital.
  • The storm surge destroyed a number of houses on Fire Island, N.Y., where some people had decided to sit out Sandy.
  • Over 15,773 flights have been canceled so far, including 6,047 Tuesday morning and 635 already listed for Wednesday. Rail traffic was also heavily affected, with Amtrak canceling all of its Northeast Corridor service, in addition to some other lines.
  • Rising waters sparked an alert at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey Monday night, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said. The alert was the "second lowest of four NRC action levels," it added, and was "due to water exceeding certain high water level criteria in the plant’s water intake structure." Exelon said there was no danger to equipment and no threat to public health or safety.
They also report:
Seawater surged into lower Manhattan and areas of Brooklyn, submerging entire streets and parks Monday. An all-time record tide level of 13.88 feet was set at The Battery in Lower Manhattan, Monday night, breaking the previous record of 11.2 feet from 1821, as well as Sandy Hook, N.J., shattering the previous record from the Dec. 1992 Nor'easter and Hurricane Donna in 1960, according to
Blizzard warnings have also been posted for the mountains of West Virginia, western Virginia and Garrett County, Md. The largest amount of snow reported as of Monday evening was 16 inches in Tucker County, W.Va.
Fox News has a summary as well. It notes:
New York was among the hardest hit, with its financial heart closed for a second day and seawater cascading into the still-gaping construction pit at the World Trade Center. The storm caused the worst damage in the 108-year history of New York's subway system, and there was no indication of when the largest U.S. transit system would be rolling again.

But the full extent of the damage in New Jersey was being revealed as morning arrived. Emergency crews fanned out to rescue hundreds.

A hoarse-voiced New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave bleak news at a morning news conference: Seaside rail lines washed away. No safe place on the state's barrier islands for him to land. Parts of the coast still under water.

"It is beyond anything I thought I'd ever see," he said. "It is a devastating sight right now."

The death toll from Sandy in the U.S. climbed to 18, including several killed by falling trees. Sandy also killed 69 people in the Caribbean before making its way up the Eastern Seaboard.

Airlines canceled more than 12,000 flights. New York City's three major airports remained closed.
Fox News also has a slide show of images of the destruction and the storm.

A few articles from the Daily Mail on the disaster. First, the death toll has been raised to 39 people (and, of course, the article includes more photographs of the disaster). 750,000 people in NYC were without power Tuesday morning (millions more, elsewhere), and power may not be fully restored for several days (which raises the question of whether we might see looting). And New Yorkers face infestations of rats driven into homes and businesses from the flood waters.

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