'Frankenstorm' Threat Launches Mass Evacuations
Warren Ellis, who was on an annual fishing pilgrimage on North Carolina's Outer Banks, didn't act fast enough to get home. Ellis' 73-year-old father managed to get off uninhabited Portsmouth Island near Cape Hatteras by ferry Friday. But the son and his camper got stranded when high winds and surf forced the ferry service to suspend operations Saturday.
"We might not get off here until Tuesday or Wednesday, which doesn't hurt my feelings that much," said Ellis, 44, of Amissville, Va. "Because the fishing's going to be really good after this storm."
Last year, Hurricane Irene poked a new inlet through the island, cutting the only road off Hatteras Island for about 4,000.
In Connecticut, the Naval Submarine Base in Groton prepared to install flood gates and pile up sandbags to protect against flooding while its five submarines remain in port through the storm.
Lobsterman Greg Griffen in Maine wasn't taking any chances; he moved 100 of his traps to deep water, where they are less vulnerable to shifting and damage in a storm.
"Some of my competitors have been pulling their traps and taking them right home," said Griffen. The dire forecast "sort of encouraged them to pull the plug on the season."
In Muncy Valley in northern Pennsylvania, Rich Fry learned his lesson from last year, when Tropical Storm Lee inundated his Katie's Country Store.
Sandy Impact on Home Improvement & Food Stocks
In between helping customers picking up necessities Saturday, Fry was moving materials above the flood line. Fry said he was still trying to recover from the losses of last year's storm, when he estimates he lost $35,000 in merchandise.
"It will take a lot of years to cover that," he said.
Christie's emergency declaration will force the shutdown of Atlantic City's 12 casinos for only the fourth time in the 34-year history of legalized gambling here. The approach of Hurricane Irene shut down the casinos for three days last August.
Atlantic City officials said they would begin evacuating the gambling hub's 30,000 residents at noon Sunday, busing them to mainland shelters and schools.
Tom Foley, Atlantic City's emergency management director, recalled the March 1962 storm when the ocean and the bay met in the center of the city.
"This is predicted to get that bad," he said.
Eighty-five-year-old former sailor Ray Leonard said if he had loved ones living in the projected landfall area, he would tell them to leave. Leonard knows to heed the warnings.
He and two crewmates in his 32-foot sailboat, Satori, rode out 1991's infamous "perfect storm," made famous by the Sebastian Junger bestseller of the same name, before being plucked from the Atlantic off Martha's Vineyard, Mass., by a Coast Guard helicopter.
"Don't be rash," Leonard said in a telephone interview Saturday from his home in Fort Myers, Fla. "Because if this does hit, you're going to lose all those little things you've spent the last 20 years feeling good about."