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NYC Quiet, Desolate After Sandy

By: The Weather Authority
By: The Weather Authority

NEW YORK (AP) — Stripped of its bustle and mostly cut off from the world, New York was left wondering Tuesday when its particular way of life — carried by subway, lit by skyline and powered by 24-hour deli — would return.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the power company said it could be the weekend before the lights come on for hundreds of thousands of people plunged into darkness by what was once Hurricane Sandy.

Bloomberg said it could also be four or five days before the subway, which suffered the worst damage in its 108-year history, is running again. All 10 of the tunnels that carry New Yorkers under the East River were flooded.

Sandy killed 18 people in New York City, the mayor said. The dead included two who drowned in a home and one who was in bed when a tree fell on an apartment. A 23-year-old woman died after stepping into a puddle near a live electrical wire.

"This was a devastating storm, maybe the worst that we have ever experienced," Bloomberg said.

For the 8 million people who live here, the city was a different place one day after the storm.

In normal times, rituals bring a sense of order to the chaos of life in the nation's largest city: Stop at Starbucks on the morning walk with the dog, drop the kids off at P.S. 39, grab a bagel.

On Tuesday, those rituals were suspended, with little indication when they would come back. Schools were shut for a second day and were closed Wednesday, too.

Coffee shops, normally open as close as a block apart, were closed in some neighborhoods. New York found itself less caffeinated and curiously isolated from the world, although by afternoon it had begun to struggle back to life.

Some bridges into the city reopened at midday, but the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan, and the Holland Tunnel, between New York and New Jersey, remained closed. And service on the three commuter railroads that run between the city and its suburbs was still suspended.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said bus service would be restored at 5 p.m. EDT, on a limited schedule but free. He said he hoped there would be full service on Wednesday, also free.

The New York Stock Exchange was closed for a second day, the first time that has happened because of weather since the 19th century, but said it would reopen on Wednesday.

Swaths of the city were not so lucky. Consolidated Edison, the power company, said it would be four days before the last of the 337,000 customers in Manhattan and Brooklyn who lost power have electricity again.

For the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Westchester County, with 442,000 outages, it could take a week, Con Ed said. Floodwater led to explosions that disabled a power substation on Monday night, contributing to the outages.

New Yorkers were left without power to charge their iPods and Kindles and Nooks for the subway. Not that there was a subway. People clustered around electrical outlets at a Duane Reade drugstore to power up their phones.

At a small market called Hudson Gourmet, in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, cashiers made change by candlelight and shoppers used flashlights to scour the shelves.

Lee Leshen used the light from his phone to make his selections — three boxes of linguine and a can of tomatoes. His power was out, but the gas in his stove worked, so he could cook. He said he almost never cooks but is learning.

John Tricoli, his wife, Christine, and their 6-year-old twins spent Monday night holed up in their 11th-floor apartment in one of several lower Manhattan office buildings that were converted to condos in the 2000s and have drawn young families. Once the power went off at 7 p.m., there was a major challenge — no TV.

By candlelight, "we colored, we read, we played games — old school," Christine Tricoli said as the family emerged to go on a walk on Tuesday that started with a trek down 11 flights of stairs.

"There was even talking," she said.

The city modified its taxi rules and encouraged drivers to pick up more than one passenger at a time, putting New Yorkers in the otherwise unthinkable position of having to share a yellow cab with a stranger.

Livery cabs and black sedans, normally allowed to pick up passengers only by arrangement, were allowed to stop for people hailing rides on the street.

The landscape of the city changed in a matter of hours.

A fire destroyed as many as 100 houses in a flooded beachfront neighborhood in Queens. Firefighters said the water was chest-high on the street and they had to use a boat to make rescues.

In Brooklyn, Faye Schwartz surveyed the damage in her Brooklyn neighborhood, where cars were strewn like leaves, planters were deposited in intersections and green Dumpsters were tossed on their sides.

"Oh, Jesus. Oh, no," she said.

The chief line of demarcation Tuesday ran through Manhattan's Chelsea section. Above 25th Street, delis did business and traffic lights worked. Below 25th Street, nothing.

For some New Yorkers, the aftermath of the storm stirred memories of the blackout of August 2003, when a cascading power failure in the Northeast left the city without power for parts of two days. This time, as then, there was no sign of looting or widespread crime. Nine people in all were arrested on charges they stole from a gas station, an electronics store and a clothing store in Queens.

But the 2003 blackout was a communal experience, with strangers lounging on stoops and bars blaring music into darkened neighborhoods. This time, people had to stay indoors and wait.

At a darkened luxury high-rise building in lower Manhattan, resident manager John Sarich was sending porters with flashlights up and down 47 flights of stairs to check on people who live there.

He said most people stayed put despite calls to evacuate. One pregnant woman started having contractions, and Sarich said that before the power went out, he nervously researched online how to deliver a baby.

"I said, 'Oh boy, I'm in trouble,'" Sarich said. The woman managed to find a cab to take her to a hospital.

Bloomberg told reporters that the storm deaths were tragic but said the city pulled through better than some people expected, considering the magnitude of the storm.

The mayor said: "We will get through the days ahead by doing what we always do in tough times — by standing together, shoulder to shoulder, ready to help a neighbor, comfort a stranger and get the city we love back on its feet."

PREVIOUS STORY:
New York's mayor calls it a "devastating storm" -- possibly the worst the city has ever experienced.

The superstorm that was born when Hurricane Sandy came ashore killed at least 10 people in New York City -- among more than 30 who were killed across the Northeast. A wall of seawater and high winds slammed the city, destroying buildings and flooding tunnels.

The city was left with no running trains, a darkened business district and neighborhoods under water. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is giving no firm timeline on when basic services will be fully restored. The city had been left nearly isolated -- its bridges and tunnels closed, its subways and airports shut down. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo says most of the bridges are reopening this afternoon.

All of the subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn were flooded, as were two major commuter tunnels -- the Brooklyn Battery and the Queens Midtown. The head of the city's transit agency says the subway system has never faced a disaster like this one.

At least 1 million customers lost power in New York City, its northern suburbs and coastal Long Island. Officials say it could be several days to a week before all city residents who lost power get it back.

Tomorrow, the city's financial markets will open after being shut for two days by the storm.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


Previous Story

Hurricane Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey at around 8pm Monday evening with winds of 90 mph.

The now powerful "superstorm" will be impacting real estate stretching from North Carolina northward all the way to Maine and westward to the Ohio River Valley. Impacts will range from widespread flooding and damaging winds to crippling snows of 1 to 3 feet along portions of the Appalachians.

For eastern Carolina the rain will be ending on Tuesday, but the wind will still gust over 30 mph at times through the day before the winds relax and the sunshine finally returns on Wednesday.

PREVIOUS STORY:

Hurricane Sandy has caused some flooding in Eastern Carolina, with at least one road closed and power outages caused by fallen trees.

Rain has caused the Swift Creek above Streets Ferry to reach minor flood levels. The creek is just .06 ft. above minor flood stage. No other rivers in Eastern Carolina are currently at flood stages.

Highway 12 is closed south of the Oregon Inlet bridge in Dare County.

On Saturday a state of emergency was declared for Eastern Carolina as Hurricane Sandy approached and the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division has suspended all Sound operations due to the storm.

“While landfall is not expected in North Carolina, this is a very large storm and its effects will be felt for several days along our coastal and sound counties," said Doug Hoell, state emergency management director. "Residents in eastern North Carolina should monitor the weather closely and get their emergency supplies kits ready.”

The counties in the emergency declaration are: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Dare, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Tyrrell, Washington, Wayne.

Thus far, flooding was reported late Saturday night along the coast causing some road closures, water levels up 2-3 feet in Newport and storm force winds affected areas along the Outer Banks and coastal communities. Additionally, Adams Creek near Merrimon reported a 4 foot rise in water level and ocean overwash along the Outer Banks, specifically Highway 12, is still an issue.

The state's emergency operations center was activated Saturday morning. Seventy-five National Guard soldiers have been repositioned to respond if needed.

Active Advisories
Tropical Storm Warning:
Dare, Beaufort, Hyde, Craven, Pamlico, Carteret and Onslow county
Flood Watch:
Camden, Chowan, Currituck,Dare (Outer Banks)

A tropical storm warning means winds are expected to reach 39-73 mph within the next 36 hours.

The latest update from the National Hurricane Center has indicated Sandy's winds have increased to 90 mph. The storm will continue to bring winds of 30 to 40+ miles per hour to our coast as it tracks northward, well off the Outer Banks Monday.

The main flooding threat will be up and down the Outer Banks on Monday. Winds turning to the northwest to westerly will push water from the Sounds eastward driving water levels from 4 to 6 feet above normal along the sound-side of the Outer Banks. Waves of 10 to 15 feet on the ocean side will also contribute to the flooding threat.

Inland areas will see winds out of the northwest at 20 to 30 mph on Monday with the coast running 25-40+ mph.

National Weather Service senior forecaster Brien Cullen says some areas could see moderate coastal flooding of up to four feet, spelling trouble for any waterside homes still not raised onto stilts.

At 5 p.m. Monday, the storm was located at 38.8 N, 74.4 W, or about 40 miles South of Atlantic City, NJ.. The storm was moving west-northwest at 28 mph. The sustained winds were up to 90 mph, making Sandy a strong category 1 Hurricane. Sandy will likely make a landfall along the southern New Jersey coastline Monday night.

Before arriving in the Bahamas Thursday, Hurricane Sandy rolled over Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and parts of the Dominican Republic, where the storm is blamed for 65 deaths so far, with the majority in Haiti. It made landfall as a category 1 hurricane in Jamaica, later strengthening to a category 2 hurricane before it hit Cuba. While the storm has been downgraded to a category 1 hurricane, it is expected to re-intensify Monday.

CLICK HERE to go to WITN’s hurricane page and track the storm.

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The National Hurricane Center recently updated the forecast track for Hurricane Sandy, which has the storm moving just passed the Carolina coast. Sandy made landfall in the Bahamas early Thursday morning, with sustained winds around 105 miles per hour.

The storm will track northward tonight, continuing its path up the eastern seaboard. The storm should pass Elizabeth City then veer left and making landfall in the New Jersey area Tuesday afternoon.


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