“FRANKENSTORM” LEAVES 8 MILLION WITHOUT POWER
Nearly eight million Americans were without power as Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast ahead of schedule on Monday. The mammoth tropical system – which lost Hurricane status (but not Hurricane force) prior to making landfall in New Jersey – is being blamed for at least sixteen deaths in seven states.
And while Sandy’s impact appears to be less severe than initially feared, it is nonetheless shaping up to be the costliest storm to hit America since Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005 – with initial damage estimates exceeding the $16 billion price tag associated with 2011’s Hurricane Irene.
With a record-setting 13-foot storm surge leading the way, Sandy left huge swaths of the Eastern Seaboard underwater.
“Historic and life-threatening coastal flooding,” is how the National Weather Service described it.
The storm also shut down trading on the New York Stock Exchange for the second consecutive day on Tuesday – marking the first time since 1888 that U.S. financial markets have been closed on consecutive days due to weather. Also, all three New York area airports – Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty – remained closed on Tuesday as the storm cancelled more than 17,000 flights (and counting).
Officially, Sandy was a “post tropical cyclone” when it made landfall over Atlantic City, New Jersey at around 7:00 p.m. on Monday – more than seven hours ahead of schedule. Of course this “post tropical” designation was the result of the storm’s convergence with another weather system – and was made based on its temperature and shape, not its strength. The gigantic system – spanning more than 1,000 miles – was still packing maximum sustained winds of more than 90 miles per hour when it hit the coast.
In fact coastal wind warnings associated with Sandy stretched from Florida all the way to New Brunswick, Canada – and as far west as Chicago.
While her strength is diminished, Sandy is still packing tropical force winds as it moves through Pennsylvania en route to Upstate New York and – later – Canada.