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Frankenstorm Sandy Will Affect One Third Of Nation

Posted by The Agonist on October 28th, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

Those who have been following Raja’s Newswire thread on Hurricane Sandy, the so-called “Frankenstorm”, know that areas in it’s predicted track have declared pre-emptive states of emergency, Atlantic City is being evacuated and New York city is looking at its own evacuations as well as closing the subway system. The latest storm track predictions still show Sandy making a sharp left turn around 8am on Monday and making landfall somewhere in the Delaware/New Jersey area sometime on Monday evening after being sucked onland by a companion storm, a  a midlatitude trough coming in from the West, which will only add to the system’s energy. This huge storm will affect a third of the entire nation, bringing rain, high winds and even heavy snow. A lunar high tide will augment the expected storm surge to bring flooding to many coastal areas.

A tropical storm warning has been issued between Cape Fear to Duck, N.C., while hurricane watches and high-wind warnings are in effect from the Carolinas to New England. The hurricane-force winds extend 175 miles from the epicenter of the storm, while tropical storm-force winds extend 520 miles–making Sandy one of the biggest storms to ever hit the East Coast.

“We’re looking at impact of greater than 50 to 60 million people,” Louis Uccellini, head of environmental prediction for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Associated Press.

How bad might it be? The storm chasers over at the Stormtrack forum have some idea. In giving advice to other storm-chasers who might be heading to the area, board users write:

  ”If this situation comes to pass as currently expected, a widespread, catastrophic tree damage/toppling event is pretty certain.  That of course translates to widespread long-term (a week or longer) power outages.   This is nothing like a Gulf or Florida hurricane making landfall among palm trees and forests that have seen TS-force winds in the past 5 years or less.     The potential to get stranded with little to no access to basic survival resources (food and water) could be ten times worse with Sandy coming into the northeast corridor than your average southern US hurricane.   Add to the fact that the large population apparently will not be evacuating means if you’re not prepared, you’ll be competing with 100 times more people for the very limited access to gas and food than you would on the Gulf/Florida coast.”

…”All one has to do is look back to a year ago when wrn MA, and north central CT were hit with a devastating snowstorm accompanied by plenty of wind.  My folks were in the heart of the impacted area, were out of power for 8+ days, and they don’t have a tree on their property that was not destroyed or damaged.  The day after, and the snow had melted, it took my brother 2.5 hours to make what is normally a 10 minute drive to get to them due to trees (and some really big ones), power poles, power lines, and tree debris completely blocking roads.  Three days later, while still 99% of the town is without power and many roads are still only partially passable a trip to get gas required a 75 mile round trip to get to a station that was either open, or did not have a line hours and hours long.”

Others warned about the possibility of heavy flooding, akin to that in Houston during Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. One posted a graphic picture of a deebly embanked freeway flooded to the top of its embankments. While noting that the hilly terrain of the area where the storm will drop all its rainfall will lead to widespread flooding, the stormchasers figured that coastal areas would be particularly heavily hit. They’re not the only ones worried.

Forecasters also fear the combination of storm surge, high tide and heavy rain–between 3 and 12 inches in some areas–could be life-threatening for coastal residents.

According to the National Hurricane Center summary, coastal water levels could rise anywhere between 1 and 12 feet from North Carolina to Cape Cod, depending on the timing of the “peak surge.” A surge of 6 to 11 feet is forecast for Long Island Sound and Raritan Bay, including New York Harbor.

The storm surge in New York Harbor during Hurricane Irene, forecasters noted, was four feet.

Some are already worrying about how this huge storm will affect the presidential race, if power is still out and flooding persists across many areas by voting day in the mainly Dem-leaning North-East.

I have to say…sod that.

Sixty million people live in the affected area – some things are more important even than the great tribal dance held every four years. Obama is already cancelling campaign events Monday and Tuesday to be in the White House those days, managing the expected crisis. In a sane nation, both campaigns would simply agree to postpone voting day a month and we’d all get on with meeting this challenge together.

To all you people, Agonistas and others, out there in the region this storm is going to hit – be careful, stay safe, our thoughts are with you all.

Regards, Steve

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