Hurricane Sandy Open Thread

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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149 Responses

  1. Sam says:

    Conditions in Morgantown, West Virginia are currently damp. More rain is expected.Report

  2. I have cancelled my afternoon patients and will be heading home early. As super-fun as driving home over 45 minutes through three states toward the coastline in the dark sounded, I have opted out.Report

  3. The wind around here started picking up yesterday morning, and the rain got here overnight. It’s looking like for those of us a little bit inland, Irene will turn out to have been a lot worse since this isn’t bringing as much rain and since a lot of trees have already started losing their leaves. A good chunk of the flood gate projects they’ve been building on the Raritan River are also nearly finished, which should help a lot of the areas traditionally most prone to severe flooding around here (especially Bound Brook, which has a habit of being the byline for stories in the national media about bad storms hitting the state) quite a bit. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the Jersey Shore, which is already getting decimated by the storm surge, and the worst won’t hit until tonight.

    I’ve been meaning to post a video of Springsteen’s Atlantic City, but can’t get the embedding to work on my tablet. If someone could make that happen, I would be most grateful. Seems like an appropriate song for the moment, especially with that whole “trouble bussin’ in from out of state” bit.Report

  4. Kolohe says:

    It’s starting to pick up here in Northern Virginia. The government and the schools and the Metrorail and the Metrobus are closed all day today, but interestingly, the Post Office near me is still open. (as is the local sandwich and breakfast shack, and the Starbucks, both of which are going to close around midday).Report

  5. Rose says:

    I do not think it is exaggerated. We are in the Maryland suburbs of DC, and we are still far from center of the storm. We have already had an inch of rain and what appears to my extremely untrained eye to be 20 mph winds. Shockingly, because we are supplied by PEPCO, we still have power. Our winds are only predicted to go to 70 mph- not the 90 mph they are expecting in NY.

    We have food, water, batteries, flashlights, etc. We also live on top of a hill. Main worries are nearby old growth trees (we will remain on lower levels of house) and about my kiddo with disabilities, whose feeding pump battery lasts about three days. There are other ways to feed him, but it’s difficult. Also, his body temp regulation is not the greatest, and outside temps will go down to 40s. Snuggling up required!

    Worried about New Yorkers!

    Can the jerks who refuse to evacuate and have to get rescued be forced to pay for their rescue?Report

  6. I’m not at all near that part of the country. But I wish good luck, health, and safety to everyone.Report

  7. I’m wishing good luck to all, as well.

    Ontario, is scheduled to get hit by a lot of the weather, though I think it’s mostly Southern Ontario (Toronto and surroundings). Ottawa might get some wind and a lot of rain, but nothing too bad.

    Regardless, around here the storm does seem to be getting some exaggerated press. Despite the fact that Ottawa looks like it’ll just get a pretty big rain storm, we’re actually get some alarmist weather warnings.Report

  8. Jaybird says:

    Good luck everybody. If, at any point, you don’t have enough power, I hope you have enough beer.Report

  9. KatherineMW says:

    Luck to everyone. I’m hoping this won’t be as bad for the US east coast as the media is making it look.

    I’m in Ottawa, but there’s nothing particularly worrisome here – just the same grey drizzle we’ve had for the last few days.Report

  10. Kazzy says:

    The government is in full-blown disaster preparedness. My amateur hunch is that they might be overreacting but given a string of recent under-reactions to major disasters, I think they are making the right call. We’re hunkered down with supplies but are pretty well situated and should be okay. My neighborhood saw little impact from Irene and last Halloween’s snow storm despite widespread devastation in the broader area.

    Schools are closed and Zazzy was sent home from the hospital so we are home together. Good luck to everyone else in the storm’s path.Report

  11. Mike Dwyer says:

    No major concerns here in Louisville. We’ll get winds up to around 40mph at the worst but that’s not a big deal. Sandy is going to collide with a cold front in Eastern KY and they are forecasting a possible 1 ft of snow in the mountains.

    Since I work in the logistics business the next few days will be crazy for us. Many of our distribution centers will be offline and with commercial flights being canceled we will be scrambling. Fun!Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      I should also add – good luck to everyone on the coast!

      Just to stir the pot, anyone want to chime in on the theory that the greater threat of hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards generally makes the people of the eastern U.S. just a little more badass than the west coast?Report

      • KatherineMW in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        We on the West Coast instead cultivate a sort of grim acceptance of inevitability as we await the earthquake that will drop us all into the sea.Report

      • Chris in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Mud slides, their own hurricanes (though much less frequent), earthquakes, a much greater risk of wild fires than most of the East Coast, and the Oregon white supremacists. I say the West Coast is more badass.

        Though I’d also say that the ice storms in the Southeast make southeasterners the most badass of all.Report

        • KatherineMW in reply to Chris says:

          Canada (east and west) gets ice storms as well. And unlike the Southeast, we also get substantial amounts of snow and cold.Report

          • Mike Dwyer in reply to KatherineMW says:

            In the Southeast we get the ice storms…and then 90% humidity during the summer.Report

          • James Hanley in reply to KatherineMW says:

            And the cold. Doesn’t it split the sourdoughs from the cheechakos?Report

          • Those of us who live along the Colorado Front Range are pretty much weather wimps. Big tornadoes and hail are farther out on the plains. Big snow is usually confined to the mountains. Doesn’t get too hot, doesn’t get too cold, and our “humid” days would pass for refreshingly dry in most of the country. We had a magnitude 5.3 earthquake earlier this year — largest quake in Colorado in over a century. On the infrequent occasions when the sun doesn’t shine for three days, half the population is so depressed they’re ready to slit their wrists.Report

      • MikeSchilling in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        When I worked at Chevron here in the Bay Area, we used to get frequent visitors from the refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi. At lucnh one day, one fo the guys was telling us his latest hurricane story, which went kind of like this:

        So we boarded up all the windows with plywood, and settled in for the night. We could see through a little gap that the barn was still there. Though when it was safe to get out and check, I found that what we really saw was that the wall of the barn that faced the house was still there.

        Followed, a bit later, by

        Man, I could never live out here. Earthquakes just scare the piss out of me.Report

        • James Hanley in reply to MikeSchilling says:


          Off-topic, but congrats to the Giants. They were truly awesome, especially on defense. They showed themselves truly worthy of the title “World Champions.”Report

          • Stillwater in reply to James Hanley says:

            Yes indeedy. They made all the right plays at the right time. Scutaro’s relay throw to Posey, and the unbeleivable swipe tag Posey laid on Fielder in game 3 (??) was pretty representative of the types of plays they came up with when they had to. It’s just a shame that the Tiger’s bats went to sleep like they did. They didn’t hit against the Yankees, and the trend continued against the Giants. You can’t expect to win when you average less than two runs a game.

            Not to take anything away from the Giants’ really tremendous pitching, of course.Report

            • James Hanley in reply to Stillwater says:

              Well, the Tigers weren’t a great batting team all year. Had they been better they wouldn’t have spent so much time failing to catch Chicago. And the Giants’ pitching was impressive.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to MikeSchilling says:

          You know the hurricane is coming, you can batten down the hatches.

          Earthquakes are surprises. Some people don’t like surprises.Report

          • Glyph in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            I prefer earthquakes. There’s no prep you can really do, so there’s no need to worry in advance, or feel guilt afterwards. The advance notice on hurricanes makes them worse IMO.

            If you live in a hurricane zone, you spend the whole season watching the weather, boarding/unboarding windows, laying in supplies, and putting away/getting out your outdoor items; and as each storm approaches you worry yourself sick with 2 main thoughts: 1.) Have I done enough prep, and done it well enough? and 2.) Regardless of my prep, this could be the year when I lose everything.

            Obviously you can lose everything in an earthquake too, but there’s no reason really to worry about it ahead of time, or to feel guilt about it afterwards.Report

            • James Hanley in reply to Glyph says:

              Actually, there’s an awful lot of prep you can do for earthquakes. It’s just not temporary, but permanent prep. Like making sure your house frame is bolted to the foundation, strapping your hot water heater to the studs, connecting big furniture like china cabinets and entertainment centers to the wall, making sure you have auto-shutoff valves on gas-lines, etc. Don’t do that stuff and you just might have reason to feel guilty.Report

              • Glyph in reply to James Hanley says:

                Oh, no doubt. But once that prep’s done, it’s done. Hurricanes play psychological games with you for days (is it coming this way? Looks like it’s not, but it can always change direction…)…if you break early and board the windows unnecessarily, you’re living in a tomb. If you wait too late, you’re rushing to get them up before it hits. Either way, no guarantee they’ll do any good (maybe your whole house gets blown or flooded away anyway).

                Yeah, I think earthquakes are preferable.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Glyph says:

                My school and restaurant in Guatemala were destroyed in an earthquake. I’ve been through hurricanes, too, down there. Huge mudslides knock down houses on hillsides.

                All things considered, I’ll take the hurricanes over the earthquakes. These days, we can get out of a hurricane’s path. But until you’ve seen a structure you built over the course of two years, come down in five seconds, well… I have. I’ll take the hurricanes. Rebuilding was a nightmare.Report

          • Rose in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            I will take the occasional hurricane and slightly increased likelihood of terrorism over earthquakes and wildfires.Report

      • Anne in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        Mike, tornadoes?? in Louisville really? Nothing like tornado alley out here in Oklahoma. I mean when the sirens go off out here we take notice. When I moved to Louisville the sirens went off and every one was oooh tornado lets go outside and look! Granted you do get some but not to the degree and size as we do.Report

  12. bookdragon says:

    Made it back from AZ on one of the last flights before the Philly airport closed. Schools are closed and hubby’s plant is closing early. So far only lots of rain and high wind – but not enough to knock out electricity, so I can still work from home.Report

  13. Wind and rain are definitely picking up here in the northern Boston suburbs. Staff are trying to figure out what to do with our vaccines should the power go out and the refrigerators shut downReport

  14. Remo says:

    Well, good luck for all of you. I grudngly admit i have come to become found of some of you, and I wish you all to go throug this as unscathed as possible.Report

  15. NewDealer says:

    I was supposed to fly to New York tonight. Obviously the flight was canceled. I told my airline that I would need to cancel and reschedule for a later date but they ended up putting me on a crazy flight for Wednesday that goes from SF to Salt Lake to Cincinnati to NYC. I will probably cancel this.

    I was supposed to do my interview, orientation, and admission for the New York Bar. The last communication was on Friday. They said they were still planning on going forward as planned and if you could not make it because of Sandy, your admission would be postponed. However, this was before the government decided to shutdown the subways and commuter rails. It takes a while for those to get back on-line. I don’t see how the can conduct interviews on Tuesday if everyone is stuck. Also the courts are closed today and probably tomorrow as well.

    Though I am a bit surprised in the age of e-mail and remote website access that they can’t find a way to send out a brief message. Is this a sign of no one wanting to make an executive decision about canceling the interviews, orientation, and admission?Report

  16. So Sandy’s started to make her turn left. Usually, hurricanes in this area are like Zoolander – they can only turn right. I was kinda holding out hope that pattern would hold. Apparently we’ve reached the end of the movie.Report

  17. Rose says:

    FWIW, the local NWS statement for our area seems significantly worse than last night and this morning. I think they were expecting NY to be much harder hit than here, and it probably still will. But the expected rainfall total went from 4-7 to 5-10, (8-12 for Balt.), the max wind speed expected went to 80 mph, and the Potomac and Monocacy are now expected to flood. None of that was predicted this morning.

    We still have power. Which I certainly didn’t predict this morning!Report

  18. DRS says:

    We’re at the very edge of the main storm – it’s rained for two days and nights. The wind is picking up today and supposed to be at its max tomorrow. Weather authorities are warning mostly against flooding, as Toronto is a hilly town and some of the inclines are quite steep. I’m at the top of a hill, so not worried about that. Biggest impact is the cold – it’s dropped from around 12-15C to 0C and possibly lower tonight. They’re predicting snow north of Toronto proper; not too likely we’ll get snow here. My biggest fear is freezing rain, which is the worst thing imaginable on our roads.

    Another reason to go Canadian.Report

  19. Peter says:

    I am in Medford, New York, about 50 miles east of the city and about six or seven miles inland from the Atlantic. It’s windy, though not to any extreme extent, with occasional light rain. Driving is no trouble at all.Report

  20. I live outside Boston on the coast at sea level on a narrow spit of land between a river and the ocean, so I have decided to take my family and stay with my parents in their slightly elevated house on another narrow spit of land 30 minutes away between the bay and the ocean just in case things get wet.

    Things appear fine here. I drove into Boston today for a physical and other busy work (I’m back home now), and besides a few panicky drivers who probably are paying a bit too close attention to the news, road conditions were fine.

    More so than wind and rain, sea swells threaten some property damage, but we’ve made it passed one high tide so far with another to come around midnight, and only one small bridge in my town has been swept away. If it weren’t for the fact that the tides this time around coincide with the timing of the sea swells, I’d rate Sandy slightly milder than Irene.

    That being said, power outages around here tend to last: one during a blizzard last winter went for five days. So hopefully things stay electrified.Report

  21. dhex says:

    in queens, on the edge of some zone b areas. i guess we’re about four hours out from the beginning of the main event. plenty of water and non perishables.

    i’m mostly worried about the car – we had to park it near, but not under, a tree.

    so we’ll see.Report

  22. Sam Wilkinson says:

    Recognizing in advance that I am not a meteorologist, I am confused: when I look at the radar, the bulk of the storm now appears to be on land, now far west of the ocean. Why is the worst yet to come?Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      You’re not seeing the radar picture out at sea, because radar doesn’t go out that far. This storm is that frickin huge (1000 miles across) that while the eye is still 200-300 miles out to sea, the storm bands are already as far inland as the piedmont. (and that other cold front on the back side is squishing altogether in the Appalachians, creating blizzards up and down the line).Report

    • What you’re seeing is most of the rain, which is on the front edge of this storm; it’s also supposed to boomerang back as it collides with the cold front. Meanwhile, for purposes of the storm surge, the windfield continues far behind the actual rain part of the storm, with the most intense winds at the center. Those winds at the center, which are going to largely coincide with high tide, are from my (admittedly poor) understanding, where the worst of the storm surge is going to come from for the coastal areas.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        I heard a report this AM that landfall might miss high tide. Does this remain a likelihood?

        I remember during Irene they talked about the unique geography of NY/LI/CT and how it was a worst-case-scenario for hurricanes. Looking at the area, the landmasses form a roughly 90-degree corner to the northwest. Because of the direction and rotation of the storm, it pushes water to the northwest. The water has nowhere to go. The only other major 90-degree corner we say with this orientation is the Texas/Louisiana coastline… another area prone to flooding.Report

    • Kim in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      WV is expecting feet worth of snow. Gonna be an early winter there.
      Means my Costco is probably devastated (in terms of stock)Report

  23. zic says:

    I have a different report to give; the Bullwinkle’s Bunion Index.

    First, let’s talk about air pressure. My sweetie used to work at the Mt. Washington Weather Observatory. The work schedule was a week on the summit, a week off. In the winter, they’d load the week’s worth of food and all employees into a snow cat, and take them up top. In the summer, they’d go in a van, and since the auto road was open, I could take the kids and go visit for a day or two or three. We’d always take a bag of potato chips, and watch it along the way. The bag would swell and swell, and every once in a while, it would pop because of the changes in air pressure.

    That same kind of swelling happens in your joints; the arthritic index, or (better still,) the Bullwinkle’s Bunion Index. I’m partially disabled from a bike accident when I was a teen, my neck swells, just like a bag of chips going up the auto road.

    And I’m here to report that the Bullwinkle’s Bunion Index is rising. My hands are numb, back stiff. Don’t be afraid to take an anti-inflammatory if you need one.Report

  24. For those of you who follow me on Twitter (and if you don’t, why don’t you follow me on Twitter?!??!), I’ve posted a short video of the ocean a five-minute walk from my house.

    Also, shit’s starting to blow around a lot out there.Report

  25. Lights are starting to flicker around here, and the power company is showing more and more outages around us. But still no trees down on my street, which is a surprise.Report

  26. KenB says:

    It’s been blowy all day, but the wind really picked up about an hour ago here in south-central Connecticut. The top of a vent blew off our roof, no other damage so far. We lost power for about a minute but it came back on, this time anyway. Looks like we’re among the lucky ones in our town so far — over 60% without power right now.Report

  27. wardsmith says:

    Anyone else in New York see this?Report

  28. greginak says:

    Wow crazy pix of flooding in Manhattan on TPM. Hope everybody it doing okay.Report

  29. Jeff No-Last-Name says:

    Stay safe everyone, and check in when Sandy’s gone.Report

  30. Nob Akimoto says:

    This isn’t looking like an overreaction on part of the disaster preparation community…

    But you’d think that with the billions of disaster preparation funds NYC got after 9/11, they’d have gone through this scenario a few times and made some improvements in say, pumping infrastructure in the subways.Report

    • dhex in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      yeah, you might think that. but we’ll see how it goes. i presume they’ll be able to start later today.

      saltwater is gonna wreck a bunch of switches, too. which means we probably won’t have subway service all week. stupid hurricane.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      Worrying about flooding would have taken resources away from terrorist prevention and response. You don’t want the terrorists to win, do you?Report

    • Kim in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      NYTimes ran something right after Irene. They were JUST getting started with planning for this one…

      Infrastructure Spending? What’s that, AMERICA? That’s right, be lazy pieces of shit who can’t be bothered to actually spend real dollars on anything.

      We were getting echoes of the explosions all the way out to pittsburgh (EMI).Report

  31. North says:

    So far so “good” I’m hoping that the only casualties we suffer is HMS Bounty.

    I’m wearing black today over her though. A Nova Scotian treasure and actually built by traditional wooden ship builders. I’m just stricken.

    Hopefully everyone is safe though.Report

  32. Rose says:

    We, in the end, were totally fine here. No property damage, no power loss — nothing. Some damage in the area, but nothing like what was predicted.

    Low-lying parts of my hometown are flooded, sadly. I have never seen anything remotely like that. My family that lives there are all on high ground and assure me they are fine, but have no power. They are well set up, though, and my parents have a generator.

    And I cannot believe Manhattan. And what it must have taken to evacuate NYU hospital. And how amazing that more lives were not lost.Report

    • dhex in reply to Rose says:

      apparently bellvue’s been evacuated as well after they ran out of power for the backup gen. nyu’s backup gen never even started, if reports are to be believed.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Rose says:

      20 babies from the NICU carried down the stairs with battery powered apparatus. Nothing short of amazing and terrifying. It appears all patients survived the transfer. 200+ of them.Report

      • dhex in reply to Kazzy says:

        hell yeah. dunno who’s gonna catch shit for the generators not working but their clinical staff deserve serious praise.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to dhex says:

          Yea, though I can imagine a number of reasons that generators might have failed that can’t be traced back to human error. Regardless, yes, the staff deserves praise. And raises. I think my wife’s hospital might have taken in some of the overflow, as the President’s letter to employees mentioned that their census was high in part because of “patients from a NYC hospital”. Specifying that it was an individual hospital makes me think it was NYU’s. I wouldn’t let Zazzy drive in because the road conditions were unknown; she is non-essential personnel (not much for an IT person to do with power out) so her absence wasn’t huge. Turns out she likely could have gotten there safely but we’ve only since learned that.

          We’re still without power and we’ve used up the water we had left in the pipes/tanks, meaning we’re now without running water, something new for two kids who always had central plumbing. We have the tubs and basins full plus lots of drinking water stored but it is going to start getting stinky.Report

    • Kim in reply to Rose says:

      Long Island? The place with “water that cannot be purified????” Yegads. I hope they know enough not to drink/wash/bathe… anything.Report

  33. Jazzy says:

    Power is out. No flooding. Small branches down but no damage. Wife and cats safe. Hope others are well.Report

  34. James Hanley says:

    The storm has reached us in Michigan now. Lots of wind and freezing rain, making driving treacherous, but nothing compared to what you Easties got. Just another nasty winter storm for us.Report

  35. Kim says:

    Well, now it’s in Millersburg, Pa. The place nobody had ever heard of, until now. (I mention it — cause I know people there– and people always say “Oh you mean Millersville”)Report

  36. No power abd trees down everywhere. Almost all of the side roads are impassable and most of the main roads. Some property damage on my street but nothing like the coastal towns.Report