October 28, 2012
Source: Ny Times
More than 50 million people from the mid-Atlantic to New England braced Saturday for a potentially massive storm, as Hurricane Sandy churned northward on a collision course with another storm system that is sweeping in from the west.
While tracking models showed the center of Hurricane Sandy likely to make landfall late Monday evening or early Tuesday, the director of the National Hurricane Center, Rick Knabb, said that the weather was expected to worsen well before then, with high winds and heavy rains starting to batter the region as early as Sunday night. The exact path of the storm was unclear, complicating preparation efforts. In its latest report on Sunday morning, the hurricane center said the storm was about 260 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and moving northeast. Federal officials, in a briefing with reporters on Saturday afternoon, could not say for certain where the impact would be the worst — only that it would be major. More than 60,000 National Guard troops in nine states were ready to assist the local authorities.
In New York City, officials announced contingency plans to begin shutting down the subways and regional rail lines starting at 7 p.m. Sunday, a decision they will make only if it looks like storm surges will be severe. They also announced plans to close the bridges if there were sustained winds over 60 miles per hour.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York told residents to stay out of city parks starting on Sunday and to stock up on basic supplies. All construction was ordered to be suspended starting on Saturday night.
On Long Island, the Town of Islip ordered the mandatory evacuation of residents in low-lying areas, including Fire Island, by Sunday afternoon. Similar orders were issued in other coastal areas.
From Plymouth, Me., to Cape Hatteras, N.C., residents boarded up windows; stocked up on water, batteries and food; and prepared to hunker down. Airlines encouraged people with flights scheduled in the next few days to change their plans and waived cancellation fees.
At supply stores across the region, generators and other goods were snapped up in preparation for the possibility of extended power failures.
At a Home Depot in Yonkers, where propane cylinders were prominently displayed near the cash registers, generators were sold out by 6:30 on Saturday morning, within 30 minutes of opening, said Kareem Hiland, a store employee. “The line for them was out the door,” he said. “For batteries, too.”Experts warned that even if Hurricane Sandy decreased in strength, it would remain a danger because of the unusual convergence of several weather systems.