The northern Atlantic coast was hit by a rare late October hurricane yesterday evening, as Sandy came ashore with strong winds and a huge tidal surge. Thus far, 16 people have been killed during the storm’s second landfall, bringing its total to 84. Over 7 million residents are without power. Coastal areas were flooded, including Atlantic City and the southern tip of New York City. The storm was as bad as experts predicted, and the damage total is sure to be catastrophic.
In the middle of the night, after the power went out, generators at NYC Langone Medical Center failed, forcing hospital workers to evacuate patients. Doctors and nurses had to manually pump air into the lungs of those who couldn’t breathe on their own. Earlier in the day, a massive crane that was atop a skyscraper was toppled by the strong wind gusts. There were also reports that the New York Stock Exchange had been flooded, but those reports later proved to be false.
New Jersey appears to have gotten the worst of the storm. The southern portion of the state is where the eye of the hurricane made landfall. Hundreds were stranded by rising water, and although some were rescued, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said there were many more to save.
Sandy, now an extra tropical system, will continue to affect a large portion of the northeast. The storm is mixing with an old cold front that was passing through the area. The combination of the two storms dumped feet of snow on West Virginia yesterday. Until the storm completely passes, we will not know the full extent of the damage. Early estimates put Sandy’s wind damage as high as $7 billion. The hurricane lived up to its reputation as a monster storm.