The City of New York is “on hold” with its public transit system shut down, the stock exchange closed and stores closing in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. The 'Frankenstorm' placed the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States on red alert while it was still hundreds of miles away – but it moved steadily up the coast, frightening forecasters and city planners alike.
Live-streaming webcams, already disabled in Ocean City, Maryland by Monday morning, had last showed the storm surge reaching the boardwalk by the time they shut down. The final photo from a similar webcam at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel showed at 8:34 a.m. Monday that rain was pelting down on West Street in New York City.
Schools in the city are closed, the stock market suffered its first weather-related closure in 27 years and Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered a mandatory evacuation of residents in low-lying areas, including Coney Island and the Rockaways.
Those who refused to leave were warned on Sunday of the potential consequences by the National Weather Service in a grim alert:
"THINK ABOUT YOUR LOVED ONES, THINK ABOUT THE EMERGENCY RESPONDERS WHO WILL BE UNABLE TO REACH YOU WHEN YOU MAKE THE PANICKED PHONE CALL TO BE RESCUED, THINK ABOUT THE RESCUE/RECOVERY TEAMS WHO WILL RESCUE YOU IF YOU ARE INJURED OR RECOVER YOUR REMAINS IF YOU DO NOT SURVIVE.”
Con Edison, the city's electrical company, shut down at least two installations in lower Manhattan ahead of the storm to avoid damage to electrical and steam network infrastructure from the storm surge. Some buildings in Manhattan had no heat or hot water available by Sunday night in advance of the storm. Officials predicted it could be up to two days before power was restored in some areas of the city.
New Yorkers eyed the oncoming hurricane with typical cynicism. "What does one wear to a catastrophic weather event?” facetiously asked one Facebook contributor living in the city. “Tropical gear for a tropical storm,” replied a writer. “Neon,” answered a second. “A hardhat,” offered a third. “A surfboard or a boat,” suggested someone else.
No one appeared particularly concerned. “The 'stir crazy' has already set in,” wrote a young mother with several small children in Brooklyn.
Taxi cabs were still out and about in the early morning hours, but there were fewer than normal, a Manhattan resident told Arutz Sheva. Although there were a few gusts of wind, “nothing significant,” was happening, he said. Rain began falling at around 6:30 a.m. EDT. As in the days following the “9/11” Al Qaeda attack on the city's World Trade Center, many people walked to their jobs in the absence of subway trains and buses to take them there.
People have been going to the beach to watch the storm surf, which kicked up ahead of the hurricane especially in Southampton, New York. Sandy strengthened on Monday morning and hundreds of thousands along the Eastern Seaboard -- including in the New York area -- moved to higher ground.
The storm is expected to affect up to 60 million people, according to Louis Uccellini, head of environmental protection for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The reason: Sandy is a rare hybrid storm, expected to cover literally one-third of the United States with rain, high winds, and possibly even heavy snow. As it moves up the country, the hurricane is encountering a midlatitude trough system moving from west to east, something which causes severe winter storms. This system will simply add more energy to the already-intense hurricane rushing its way up the coast. In addition, a system of arctic air was forecast to blast its way down through the Canadian Plains and hit Sandy just as the midlatitude system moves in, right around the mid-Atlantic region, near West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Add to that a full moon on Monday, raising the high tides even higher, and meteorologists have predicted the “star of the century” superstorm.
A7 readers are invited to send in your photos of the storm and its impact on your area by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org . Please note: It is expressly forbidden by Torah law to place one's self in harm's way. The first priority is to stay safe!