Millions of people along the U.S. East Coast remained without power Tuesday, as Superstorm Sandy brought powerful winds, rains, floods and snow to the mid-Atlantic states and Northeast.
The mega-storm’s center plowed through Pennsylvania early Tuesday after carving a harrowing path of destruction overnight, killing at least 17 people in seven states and cutting power to more than 6 million homes.
As Hurricane Sandy churned inland as a downgraded storm, residents up and down the battered mid-Atlantic region woke on Tuesday to lingering waters, darkened homes and the daunting task of cleaning up from once-in-a-generation storm surges and their devastating effects.
Power remained out for roughly six million people, including a large swath of Manhattan. Early risers stepped out into debris-littered streets that remained mostly deserted as dawn shed light on the extent of the damage. Bridges remained closed, and seven subway tunnels under the East River were flooded. Other mass transit service, including commuter rails, was also still suspended.
Hurricane Sandy grounded well over 10,000 flights across the Northeast and the globe, and it could be days before some passengers can get where they’re going.
According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, more than 13,500 flights had been canceled for Monday and Tuesday, almost all related to the storm. By early Tuesday morning, more than 500 flights scheduled for Wednesday also were canceled.
Major carriers such as American Airlines, United and Delta cancelled all flights into and out of three area airports in New York, the nation’s busiest airspace. About one-quarter of all U.S. flights travel to or from New York airports each day. So cancellations here can dramatically impact travel in other cities.
New York City officials began assessing damage after superstorm Sandy killed 10 people, sparked a fire that razed 80 homes in a Queens, flooded tunnels of the biggest U.S. transit system and left 750,000 customers without power, including the lower third of Manhattan.
Sandy, which weakened as it passed over the coast, is among the worst storms in New York history, rivaling the blizzards of 1888 and 1947. It was the worst disaster in 108-year history of the subway system and exceeded transit officials’ worst-case scenario, said Joseph Lhota, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Hurricane Sandy battered the mid-Atlantic region on Monday, its powerful gusts and storm surges causing once-in-a-generation flooding in coastal communities, knocking down trees and power lines and leaving hundreds of thousands of people — including a large swath of Manhattan — in the rain-soaked dark.
Much of New York was plunged into darkness Monday by a superstorm that overflowed the city’s historic waterfront, flooded the financial district and subway tunnels and cut power to nearly a million people.
The city had shut its mass transit system, schools, the stock exchange and Broadway and ordered hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to leave home to get out of the way of the superstorm Sandy as it zeroed in on the nation’s largest city.
Above is a recent still photo from the NYT‘s Hurricane Sandy Webcam, located at the Times‘s building in midtown. You can see a portion of the city has lost power.
And above is a screen grab of Times‘s home page a few minutes ago (to give you a sense of the events’ significance).
Hurricane Sandy slammed into the New York region on Monday, its powerful gusts and storm surges causing once-in-a-generation flooding in coastal communities along the way, knocking down trees and power lines and leaving more than 100,000 people in the rain-soaked dark.
With one mighty gust of wind, the storm on Monday announced itself at 2:30 p.m. at one of Manhattan’s most prestigious addresses.
A crane at 157 West 57th Street swayed up and up and then snapped, leaving tons of metal dangling precariously over 1,000 feet above the ground, with no evident way to secure it with the storm bearing down.
Hurricane Sandy churned through the Atlantic Ocean on Monday en route to what forecasters agreed would be a devastating landfall that is expected to paralyze life for millions of people in more than a half-dozen states in the Northeast, with widespread power failures, a halt in transportation systems and extensive evacuations.
Hurricane Sandy strengthened again late Monday morning, packing 90-mile-an-hour winds, and was expected to make landfall near the New Jersey-Delaware border Monday night, unleashing life-threatening storm surges along the Eastern Seaboard.
Here’s what Broadway near Columbia University looked like at about 1 p.m. today. It was windy and there was a light rain, and there weren’t many cars on the street.
NYC residents continue to prepare for the storm. Folks have been stocking up on goods ahead of the storm’s arrival. This was the scene, above, at a grocery store I visited this evening. The line for the cashiers stretched around the interior of the shop, with items like water and bread in short supply. But the atmosphere was calm and orderly.
There could be heavy rain, strong winds, and flooding as early as tonight (Sunday) in costal areas, The New York Timesreports. The hurricane is expected to make landfall late Monday.
Here’s a picture I snapped in a drug store near Columbia University yesterday (Sat.) in the early evening. You can see that folks have been buying lots of water. Flashlights and batteries were also going fast. (And beer, too!)
Manhattan: Rain beginning Sunday evening, peaking Monday evening and continuing through Thursday. Winds peaking between 45 and 50 mph, with gusts to 70 mph between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning — up to 90 mph on the higher floors of skyscrapers. Storm surge between 5 and 8 feet in “Zone A,” especially in Battery Park and along the East Side. Storm surge may inundate subways and other critical infrastructure. Overview: Those living above the 10th floor in skyscrapers may want to find shelter in lower floors. Winds increase with height in a hurricane and could be significantly stronger than on ground level. Be cautious about sleeping near a window on Monday night. Do not walk outside on Monday evening, as there could be significant amounts of airborne debris flying around. Rain totals 4-8 inches.
Above is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) map of Hurricane Sandy seen from space.
Here are some resources for following Hurricane Sandy as it approaches New York City.
(Additional locations will also be affected by the hurricane and the accompanying “Frankenstorm,” of course. But I’ll be focusing on the metropolitan area since I’m here in uptown NYC.)
Mayor Bloomberg said residents should stock up on supplies now and stay out of city parks beginning tomorrow (Sunday) due to the possibility that high winds could cause tree limbs to fall, The New York Times says.