For the first time since 1888 when a snowstorm with 40-foot drifts bombarded New York, the financial markets will remain closed for consecutive days due to weather. Hurricane Sandy, a super storm of epic proportion about 1,000 miles in diameter, has wreaked havoc across the eastern United States; leaving structures in ruin with floods, snowstorms, downed trees and fire.
Several states remain in a “state of emergency” with evacuations in effect and the streets barren aside from first responders looking for any citizens who failed to heed warnings to leave the area.
Officially, the storm dubbed “Frankenstorm” by some, made landfall last night at 8 PM ET near Atlantic City, New Jersey with winds at 80 miles per hour. This timing unfortunately coincided with high tides along the eastern seaboard, sending water pouring over retention walls and sand dunes. Sandy invaded the most populous part of the United States with such force that rivers were expected to flow backwards.
The storm brought a record water surge of more than 13 feet to downtown Manhattan, according to the National Weather Service. Hurricane Donna in 1960 set previous record high surges of 10 feet.
Experts said that it was not the sheer strength of Sandy that made it unique, but rather its scope, with cities from Maine to South Carolina feeling a wrath that continues to blast through inland states as far as the Illinois.
A sampling of the results as of Tuesday morning:
- Amtrak services suspended for its Northeast Corridor service
- Countless roads and bridges closed along eastern seaboard
- New York City subway systems closed – water has flooded 10 tunnels – administration calls it “worst disaster ever” for Metropolitan Transportation Authority
- No timeframe has been given for how long the subway system operations will be closed. The damage from the extremely corrosive saltwater cannot be gauged at this point.
- Airports remain closed across Northeast – more than 8,900 flights were cancelled Sunday and Monday and another 4,800 for Tuesday.
- Flood waters topped a levee and inundated three cities in New Jersey Tuesday morning
- President Obama has declared a “major disaster” in New York City and Long Island
- Nearly 8 million people without electricity because of Sandy
- At least 16 people killed across Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, New York, Massachusetts and Toronto, Ontario.
- 65 people in the Caribbean were killed before the storm traveled to the U.S.
- 4-alarm fire in Breezy Point area of Queens still being fought by about 200 firefighters – up to 50 homes devoured in the fire as of 6 AM Tuesday
- A crane attached to a luxury high-rise apartment building called One57 partially collapsed and is dangling 1,000 feet above West 57th Street
- More than 200 patients evacuated from Manhatten hospitals, NYU Langone Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital Center, when backup power systems failed.
- Nassau County, Long Island citizens in New York told not to use the water in any fashion (not even boiling can make it safe)
- In North Carolina, the HMS Bounty, a replica of an iconic British transport vessel sank in churning seas, killing at least one crew member while 15 others were rescued by the Coast Guard
- Ironically, production on Russell Crowe’s film “Noah,” a film about the biblical flood with production happening in NYC, was interrupted.
This is just a sampling of the carnage. Damages are already forecasted to be in excess of $10 billion, but the slow-moving storm is still making its way across the States. Blizzards are hitting Maryland and West Virginia, with as much of 15 inches already falling on parts of the country and more to come. Flooding is expected in the Great Lakes area with waves in excess of 20 feet being predicted for Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, threatening major cities like Cleveland and Chicago.
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