Hurricane Sandy brings floods, power outage and disrupts 50 million lives in America's east
Never seen in the history of the United States such a disruption and devastation to the life and property, Hurricane Sandy had a direct hit on New York, Washington, DC, New Jersey, Maryland and parts of Connecticut in the north east of America causing floods, power outage for more than a million homes and ejecting another million from their dwelling places.
The landfall was the Atlantic City in New Jersey late Sunday and the effect was seen on Monday morning hours unleashes chaos on America's east coast as storm surge bringing devastating floods and accompanied mayhem.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) immediately went into action on the directive of President Barack Obama coordinating relief efforts with four governors of the affected states in the east of America.
Sandy was moving quickly toward New Jersey and Delaware. At 5 p.m. (2100 GMT), the hurricane was 30 miles (45 km) east-southeast of Cape May, New Jersey, and about 40 miles (65 km) south of Atlantic City, New Jersey, the National Hurricane Center said.
Much of Atlantic City in the state of New Jersey was under water well before Sandy even made landfall. Sea water rose over the bonnets of parked cars and the resort's famous boardwalk was repeatedly smashed. One 80-foot piece of it was destroyed by pounding surf.
On Long Beach Island, north of the city, 25-foot swells surged into the streets and through the doors of local businesses.
A total of 284,000 homes worth $87 billion were said to be in Sandy's path. New York City was on lockdown with 375,000 people evacuated from low lying areas. There was travel chaos along the east coast with 11,000 flights grounded, stranding passengers from Hong Kong to Europe.
Around 1,400 National Guardsmen were deployed with around 60,000 on standby, and 140 rescue helicopters also on standby.
Obama nixed his participation in a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida on Monday and flew back to Washington to monitor the storm. The president has instructed his team to make sure that needed federal resources are in place to support state and local recovery efforts.
The Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney canceled all his campaign events for Monday night and Tuesday due to the storm.
President Barack Obama yesterday abandoned the campaign trail to head response efforts, and declared emergencies in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Speaking from the White House, he urged people to evacuate to avoid "potentially fatal consequences".
Mr Obama said: "Please listen to what your state and local officials are saying. When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate.
"Do not delay, don't pause, don't question the instructions that are being given."
Mr Obama said he was "not worried" about the impact on the Nov 6 election. He said: "I'm worried about the impact on families and I'm worried about the impact on our first responders.
I'm worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation.
"Right now our number one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives."
As it closed in on land Sandy strengthened and stayed on a predicted path toward New York, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Its wind field was 900 miles wide and the storm was moving north-west at 28mph. Hurricane force winds extended an extraordinary 175 miles from its centre.
New York City was on lock-down with hundreds of thousands of people evacuated, the subway closed, along with the United Nations and the New York Stock Exchange.
The massive storm was downgraded from a hurricane after it barged ashore in southern New Jersey, bringing more than 85-mph winds and a roiling wall of seawater as it moved through New York City. It sent water surging into two major commuter tunnels and into subway stations and tracks. It was unclear how much water had come in.
The hurricane-turned-post-tropical cyclone, still a powerful, 900-mile-wide hybrid of several weather systems, sent 30-foot-high swells toward New Jersey, and as its eye passed over the shoreline, a surge as high as 10 feet tore into dunes and washed across boardwalks.
The state had evacuated all shore towns ahead of the strike, with Gov. Chris Christie telling residents who ignored the evacuation orders they were "both stupid and selfish."
"[It's a] very intense, very dangerous storm. People will die in this storm," Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said Monday. "So folks will need to mind their families, stay home and hunker down."
Even homes on stilts were threatened by the massive surge, and water was cresting dunes and boardwalks from Delaware's Rehoboth Beach to Jones Beach in New York.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut down all major New York bridges and schools, airports and the New York Stock Exchange were closed for Tuesday. North of Atlantic City, the storm was expected to be at maximum force from about 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., with gusts up to 90 mph, especially on ocean-facing beaches. For Long Island, Connecticut, and the rest of coastal New England, the high impact winds could last until midnight, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Weather Journal.
The danger of the storm is hardly limited to coastal areas. Forecasters were far more worried about inland flooding from storm surge than they were about winds. Rains could saturate the ground, causing trees to topple.
- Asian Tribune -