East Coast Grinds to a Halt as Superstorm Sandy Nears
As rain from the leading edges of the monster hurricane began to fall over the Northeast, hundreds of thousands of people from Maryland to Connecticut were ordered to evacuate low-lying coastal areas, including 375,000 in lower Manhattan and other parts of New York City, 50,000 in Delaware and 30,000 in Atlantic City, N.J., where the city's 12 casinos were forced to shut down for only the fourth time ever.
"We were told to get the heck out. I was going to stay, but it's better to be safe than sorry," said Hugh Phillips, who was one of the first in line when a Red Cross shelter in Lewes, Del., opened at noon.
"I think this one's going to do us in," said Mark Palazzolo, who boarded up his bait-and-tackle shop in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., with the same wood he used in past storms, crossing out the names of Hurricanes Isaac and Irene and spray-painting "Sandy" next to them. "I got a call from a friend of mine from Florida last night who said, 'Mark, get out! If it's not the storm, it'll be the aftermath. People are going to be fighting in the streets over gasoline and food.'"
Authorities warned that the nation's biggest city could get hit with a surge of seawater that could swamp parts of lower Manhattan, flood subway tunnels, and cripple the network of electrical and communications lines that are vital to the nation's financial center.
On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York City's Brooklyn Battery and Holland Tunnels would close at 2 p.m.
Sandy was blamed for 66 deaths in the Caribbean before it began traveling northward, parallel to the Eastern Seaboard.
It was expected to hook inland during the day Monday, colliding with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic.
Forecasters said Sandy was a rare, hybrid "super storm" created by an Arctic jet stream wrapping itself around a tropical storm, possibly causing up to 12 inches of rain in some areas, as well as up to 3 feet of snowfall in the Appalachian Mountains from West Virginia to Kentucky, and widespread power outages that last for days.
Sandy Impact on Restaurants
Louis Uccellini of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told The Associated Press that given Sandy's east-to-west track into New Jersey, the worst of the storm surge could be just to the north, in New York City, on Long Island, N.Y., and in northern New Jersey.
"This is the worst-case scenario," Uccellini said.
Forecasters said that because of giant waves and high tides made worse by a full moon, the metropolitan area of about 20 million people could get hit with an 11-foot wall of water.