Hurricane Sandy made landfall Monday night, ahead of schedule but every bit as powerful as predicted for the last several days. The storm has caused hurricane-related flooding up and down the eastern seaboard and has picked up speed to about 28 mph, putting it slightly ahead of its projected schedule.
Sandy’s landfall is actually only the beginning of what is forecast to be a fairly long engagement. She has already rung up billions of dollars, with the damage tolls expected to rise as the tide becomes high later on Monday evening.
Across the region, more than 750,000 people are without power, with Washington and Boston shutting down their rapid transit systems. Schools were closed and shelters filled with people seeking shelter and refuge from the high winds and torrential rainfall. Sandy is actually now the result of three converging storm fronts, hurricane Sandy, a blast of cold air from Canada, and another system blowing in from the West. The storm has also disrupted Wall St. activity as well as interrupting presidential campaign events throughout the region just eight days short of election day.
Sandy is described by meteorologists as an unusual storm for this time of year, not only with its very formation, but also the fact that is blew in from the south with such a vivid punch. It has also been much larger, wth hurricane force winds stretching more than 200 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds as much as 500 miles away from the center. The storm was also unusual in that it produced both rain and snow in different regions.
Wind has knocked down power lines from New York to Chicago, and a construction crane atop a Manhattan high rise toppled in the wind, not falling however. There were no injuries reported. Airlines have canceled more than 10,000 flights, leaving passengers stranded in airports around the world, and the federal government in DC shut down with employees told to stay home on Tuesday.
So far, New Jersey has borne the brunt of the damage from the storm, with water overflowing seawalls and soaking Atlantic City, leaving the casino industry crippled. At last one death was reported in the city, but it is not known if it was storm related or not.
The storm is expected to cause havoc over the northeastern United States for at least the next several days, and over 60 million people may end up being affected as a result. There is even talk that the effects of Sandy may be felt in the upcoming Presidential election, especially if people are unable to get out to polling precincts, or if the power is out in those precincts.