High winds blow sea foam onto Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, N.C., Sunday as wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy move into the area. (Photo: Gerry Broome, AP)
Hurricane Sandy bore down on the Eastern Seaboard's largest cities
Monday, forcing the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial
markets, sending coastal residents fleeing, and threatening a dangerous
mix of high winds, soaking rain and a surging wall of water up to 11
The massive storm's impact on some 50 million residents was fueling both apprehension and urgency.
of 8 a.m. Monday Sandy was finally making the long-promised and unusual
turn to the northwest toward the mid-Atlantic, as predicted by weather
models almost a week ago. The center of the storm is forecast to make
landfall along the southern New Jersey coast late Monday night or very
early Tuesday morning.
MORE: Cold after Sandy will give those without power a shiver
Sandy remains a huge storm, as
tropical-storm-force winds of at least 39 mph are being felt all the way
from Cape Cod, Mass., to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
storm is on a collision course with two other weather systems that
would create a superstorm with the potential for havoc over 800 miles
from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. About 2 to 3 feet of snow were
forecast for mountainous parts of West Virginia.
The worst of the
storm surge could be in the northern part of New Jersey and in New York
City and on Long Island. Higher tides brought by a full moon compounded
the threat to the metropolitan area of about 20 million people.
is the worst-case scenario," said Louis Uccellini, environmental
prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Early Monday the Coast Guard has rescued 14 of 17
people aboard a vessel approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras N.C.
The replica of the tall ship made famous in the film "Mutiny on the
Bounty" eventually sunk, officials said. Survivors managed to get on two
Responsible for at least 66 deaths in Cuba, Haiti and the Bahamas,
Sandy with a 520-mile diameter is one of the largest ever potential
storms to hit the U.S. according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. The storm was churning north Monday morning at 14 mph,
still about 280 miles east of North Carolina's coast at 2 a.m. ET.
storm is expected to bring 50 to 75 mph winds, up to 10 inches of rain
and potential snowfall of up to two feet over 14 states beginning late
Monday afternoon or early evening.
Craig Fugate, administrator for
the federal Emergency Management Agency, said Monday the agency has
stationed teams from North Carolina to Maine and in states as far inland
as West Virginia.
"We've been moving generators, basic supplies, we would need after the storm," he said.
Fugate said he was worried about people evacuating ahead of storm surges.
there will be the coastal impact, then the wind knocking out power and
then heavy rain and flash flooding, he said, adding "we don't want
people to think it's not that bad when it comes ashore."
surges of up to 11 feet prompted mandatory weekend evacuations in
low-lying parts of New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware.
High-wind watches and flood warnings are in effect for all the
Mid-Atlantic states and southern New England, where Sandy was expected
to barrel through Wednesday.
The New York Stock Exchange reversed
course and dropped its plan to have electronic trading Monday as
Hurricane Sandy churned closer to New York City. Exchange officials also
said the market might also close on Tuesday.
"We support the
consensus of the markets and the regulatory community that the dangerous
conditions developing as a result of Hurricane Sandy will make it
extremely difficult to ensure the safety of our people and communities,
and safety must be our first priority" the stock exchange said in a
formal announcement. "We will work with the industry to determine the
next steps in restoring trading as soon as the situation permits."
at five major East Coast airports canceled more than 7,000 flights,
schools across the region canceled classes and mass transit systems
shut down, with scuttled train, bus and light-rail service adding to a
potential commuter nightmare.
Two cold fronts to the west and
north were on a collision course with Sandy, threatening to turn the
massive storm system into a nor'easter, ushering in freezing
temperatures in some regions and blanketing areas of West Virginia and
other states with knee-deep snow.
President Obama, following a
meeting with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, approved New
York state's request for federal emergency status, freeing up federal
resources for disaster relief. The state is in the cross-hairs of
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered evacuations for an estimated
375,000 people in some low lying areas starting Sunday at 7 p.m. New
York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered the city's transit service to suspend
bus, subway and commuter rail service. The city's mass transit system is
the nation's largest the subway alone has a daily ridership of more
than 5 million.
Obama warned residents of the region to the storm
"very seriously." The visit to FEMA included a conference call with
governors and mayors of vulnerable states and cities. "Anything they
need, we will be there," Obama said. "And we're going to cut through red
Governors from North Carolina to Connecticut declared states of emergency.
In Virginia, where several colleges and school districts canceled
classes through Tuesday, Gov. Bob McDonnell authorized up to 750
National Guard members to assist with the storm. In Delaware, Gov. Jack
Markell ordered mandatory evacuations for an estimated 50,000 residents
of coastal communities. Collin O'Mara, secretary of the Department of
Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said Sandy could unleash
record waves and tidal flooding along the coast."The potential on this
is greater than the defenses that we have in most places," O'Mara said.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency and
ordered Atlantic City casinos evacuated - just the fourth time the
city's 12 casinos had been shut since legalized gambling began 34 years
ago. Christie warned state residents to be prepared for several days
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy warned that
storm surges could be the worst the state has seen in almost 75 years
and urged residents along the shorelines of several cities and towns to
heed evacuation orders.
airlines planned to cancel all flights into and out of the three major
New York City area airports Sunday night and not resume service until
Tuesday. Most carriers were also suspending all flights into and out of
Philadelphia as well as Washington D.C's Reagan National and Dulles
International airports Sunday evening. Amtrak was canceling train
service to parts of the East Coast, including between Washington, D.C.,
and New York.
storm's landfall along the Mid-Atlantic coast "would likely be a
billion-dollar disaster," Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters
said. He also noted that the full moon will occur Monday, which means
astronomical tides will be at their peak for the month, increasing
potential storm surge flooding.
With just a few days left in
what's shaped up as a tight election, Sandy was forcing Obama and
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to adjust campaign plans.
In battleground states where the hurricane is likely to collide with a
cold front to form a freak hybrid storm, Sandy "will throw havoc into
the race, said Virginia Sen. Mark Warner.
Obama canceled campaign stops Monday in Virginia and Tuesday in
Colorado to monitor the storm but planned to go forward with other
events Monday in Florida and Ohio. Romney canceled three scheduled
Sunday stops in Virginia on Sunday, opting instead to campaign in Ohio
before heading Monday to Wisconsin.
Vexing both candidates: bad
weather that could hinder early voting. efforts throughout the East
Coast. "Obviously, we want unfettered access the polls, because we
think the more people that come out, the better we're going to do," said
Obama adviser David Axelrod. "To the extent that it makes it harder,
that's a source of concern."
the American Red Cross was readying shelters, volunteers and supplies
to help coastal areas from Virginia to New England. "We want to make
sure we're ready to spring into action as soon as we're needed,"
spokeswoman Anne Marie Borrego says.
FEMA also sent liaison officers to emergency-operations centers in
Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, New York and New
The Defense Department has sent officers to deploy with the FEMA teams to coordinate possible search-and-rescue missions.
Storm surge remains one of the biggest threats from the storm: Data
from CoreLogic show that more than 261,000 homes are at risk.
will be a long-lasting event, with two to three days of impact," says
James Franklin, branch chief of the National Hurricane Center. "Wind
damage, widespread power outages, inland flooding and storm surge are