This image of Hurricane Sandy was acquired by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPPsatellite around 2:42 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (06:42 Universal Time) on October 28, 2012. Suomi NPP was launched one year ago today on a mission to extend and enhance long-term records of key environmental data.The storm was captured by a special “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as auroras, airglow, gas flares, city lights, fires, and reflected moonlight. In this case, the cloud tops were lit by the nearly full Moon (full occurs on October 29). Some city lights in Florida and Georgia are also visible through the clouds.At the time of the image, the U.S. National Hurricane Center estimated Sandy’s location to be 31.5° North and 73.7° West, 275 miles (445 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and moving northeast at 14 miles (22 kilometers) per hour.x Maximum sustained winds were 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour, and the minimum central barometric pressure was 960 millibars (28.35 inches).Forecasters predicted that the storm would head north-northeast until the morning of October 29, and then take a turn to the northwest into the coastline of Delaware, New Jersey, or New York.
The tropical cyclone is being blocked by an intense high-pressure system over the North Atlantic and is expected to merge with a winter weather system moving across North America. Sandy will likely become a post-tropical storm that could affect an area from the Carolinas to New England, and as far inland as the Great Lakes. The National Weather Service described the unusual merging (PDF) and what it might mean:The primary difference between a tropical cyclone and a wintertime cyclone is the energy source. Tropical cyclones extract heat from the ocean and grow by releasing that heat in the atmosphere near the storm center. Wintertime cyclones (also called extratropical or frontal lows), get most of their energy from temperature contrasts in the atmosphere, and this energy usually gets distributed over larger areas. Because of these differences, tropical cyclones tend to have more compact wind fields, tend to be more symmetric, and have a well-defined inner core of strong winds. Wintertime lows have strong temperature contrasts or fronts attached to them, have a broader wind field, and more complex distributions of rain or snow.
For more views of the storm—including a time-lapse video of the storm from dawn to dusk on October 28—visit our Hurricane Sandy event page and the NASA Hurricane Resource Page. The National Hurricane Center, operated by NOAA, provides the official U.S. storm forecasts and regular updates on conditions on its home page.
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A raging storm surge, flooding, wicked winds and driving rain have started pounding the northeast coast of the United States as millions of people hunker down for what could prove to be one of the most fearsome tempests on record in the country.Mass transit in several cities — including New York — is shut down, more than 7,000 airline flights are cancelled, schools are closed, the floor of the world’s biggest stock exchange is silent and the U.S. presidential candidates have had to cancel campaign events.In all, 50 million people are threatened as Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall along the New Jersey coast Monday night and then collide with two other weather systems.That’s anticipated to create a superstorm in the most heavily populated corridor of the U.S., with the potential for havoc on an area stretching more than 1,250 kilometres from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.”The latest model guidance has Sandy hitting the U.S. northeast this evening, with the official track showing landfall along the New Jersey and Delaware coast,” CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland said.”The biggest threats to life in the U.S. northeast will be first the surge, with coastal flooding, then the wind — loss of power for millions — followed by inland flooding from rain and, just west of the Appalachians, heavy snow.”Scotland said what’s particular about Hurricane Sandy, currently classified as a Category 1 storm centered 415 kilometres southeast of New York City, are its immense size, the number of people it will impact and a mass of cold air that could enhance precipitation.”Hurricane force winds extend as much as 300 kilometres outward from the storm’s centre and tropical force winds extend up to over 800 kilometres. With this large of a wind field, widespread power outages will likely be the most notable impact from Sandy, with millions potentially left without power — which could remain out for days,” Scotland said.
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SANDY SUPERSTORM HITS MAINLAND
Forecasters: Center of former Hurricane Sandy has made landfall along the New Jersey coast
Associated Press Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 8:01AM
NEW YORK — Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coastline with 80 mph winds Monday night and hurled an unprecedented 13-foot surge of seawater at New York City, flooding its tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers Wall Street. At least 16 U.S. deaths were blamed on the storm, which brought the presidential campaign to a halt a week before Election Day.
For New York City at least, Sandy was not the dayslong onslaught many had feared, and the wind and rain that sent water sloshing into Manhattan from three sides began dying down within hours.
Still, the power was out for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and an estimated 6.2 million people altogether across the East. The full extent of the storm’s damage across the region was unclear, and unlikely to be known until daybreak.
Stock trading will be closed in the U.S. for a second day Tuesday — the first time the New York Stock Exchange will be closed for two consecutive days due to weather since 1888, when a blizzard struck the city.
Heavy rain and further flooding remain major threats for the next couple of days as the storm makes its way into Pennsylvania and up into New York State. The center of the storm was just outside Philadelphia near midnight, and its winds were down to 75 mph, just barely hurricane strength.
“It was nerve-racking for a while, before the storm hit. Everything was rattling,” said Don Schweikert, who owns a bed-and-breakfast in Cape May, N.J., near where Sandy roared ashore. “I don’t see anything wrong, but I won’t see everything until morning.”
As the storm closed in, it converged with a cold-weather system that turned it into a superstorm, a monstrous hybrid consisting not only of rain and high wind but snow in West Virginia and other mountainous areas inland.
It smacked the boarded-up big cities of the Northeast corridor — Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston — with stinging rain and gusts of more than 85 mph.
Just before Sandy reached land, forecasters stripped it of hurricane status, but the distinction was purely technical, based on its shape and internal temperature. It still packed hurricane-force wind, and forecasters were careful to say it was still dangerous to the tens of millions in its path.
Sandy made landfall at 8 p.m. near Atlantic City, which was already mostly under water and saw an old, 50-foot piece of its world-famous Boardwalk washed away earlier in the day.
Authorities reported a record surge 13 feet high at the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan, from the storm and high tide combined.
In an attempt to lessen damage from saltwater to the subway system and the electrical network beneath the city’s financial district, New York City’s main utility cut power to about 6,500 customers in lower Manhattan. But a far wider swath of the city was hit with blackouts caused by flooding and transformer explosions.
About 670,000 customers were without power late Monday in the city and suburban Westchester County.
“This will be one for the record books,” said John Miksad, senior vice president for electric operations at ConEdison. “This will be the largest storm-related outage in our history.”
New York’s transit agency said water surged into two major commuter tunnels, the Queens Midtown and the Brooklyn-Battery, and it cut power to some subway tunnels in lower Manhattan after water flowed into the stations and onto the tracks.
The subway system was shut down Sunday night, and the stock markets never opened Monday and are likely to be closed Tuesday as well. Schools were closed and Broadway theaters were dark.
“We knew that this was going to be a very dangerous storm, and the storm has met our expectations,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “This is a once-in-a-long-time storm.”
More than 200 patients — including 20 infants from neonatal intensive care — were moved from New York University’s Tisch Hospital after its power went out and a backup generator failed. The patients, some on respirators operating on battery power, were taken to other hospitals.
A construction crane atop a luxury high-rise collapsed in the high winds and dangled precariously 74 floors above the street. Forecasters said the wind at the top the building may have been close to 95 mph.
The facade of a four-story building in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood crumbled and collapsed, leaving the lights, couches, cabinets and desks inside visible from the street. No one was hurt.
As the storm approached the Northeast over the weekend, airlines canceled more than 12,000 flights in the region.
Storm damage was projected at $10 billion to $20 billion, meaning it could prove to be one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.
Sixteen deaths were reported in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Some of the victims were killed by falling trees. At least one death was blamed on the storm in Canada.
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney canceled their campaign appearances at the very height of the race, with just over a week to go before Election Day. The president pledged the government’s help and made a direct plea from the White House to those in the storm’s path.
“When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate,” he said. “Don’t delay, don’t pause, don’t question the instructions that are being given, because this is a powerful storm.”
Sandy, which killed 69 people in the Caribbean before making its way up the Atlantic, began to hook left at midday toward the New Jersey coast.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said people were stranded in Atlantic City, which sits on a barrier island. He accused the mayor of allowing them to stay there. With the hurricane roaring through, Christie warned it was no longer safe for rescuers, and advised people who didn’t evacuate the coast to “hunker down” until morning.
While the hurricane’s 90 mph winds registered as only a Category 1 on a scale of five, it packed “astoundingly low” barometric pressure, giving it terrific energy to push water inland, said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of meteorology at MIT.
And the New York metropolitan area apparently got the worst of it, because it was on the dangerous northeastern wall of the storm.
“We are looking at the highest storm surges ever recorded” in the Northeast, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director for Weather Underground, a private forecasting service. “The energy of the storm surge is off the charts, basically.”
Hours before landfall, there was graphic evidence of the storm’s power.
Off North Carolina, a replica of the 18th-century sailing ship HMS Bounty that was built for the 1962 Marlon Brando movie “Mutiny on the Bounty” went down in the storm, and 14 crew members were rescued by helicopter from rubber lifeboats bobbing in 18-foot seas. Another crew member was found hours afterward but was later pronounced dead at a hospital. The captain was missing.
At Cape May, water sloshed over the seawall, and it punched through dunes in other seaside communities.
“When I think about how much water is already in the streets, and how much more is going to come with high tide tonight, this is going to be devastating,” said Bob McDevitt, president of the main Atlantic City casino workers union. “I think this is going to be a really bad situation tonight.”
In Maryland, at least 100 feet of a fishing pier at the beach resort of Ocean City was destroyed.
At least half a million people along the East Coast had been ordered to evacuate, including 375,000 from low-lying parts of New York City.
Sheila Gladden left her home in Philadelphia’s flood-prone Eastwick neighborhood, which took on 5½ feet of water during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and headed for a hotel.
“I’m not going through this again,” she said.
Those who stayed behind had few ways to get out.
Not only was the New York subway shut down, but the Holland Tunnel connecting New York to New Jersey was closed, as was a tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and several other spans were closed because of high winds.
Zezima reported from Atlantic City, N.J. AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein contributed to this report from Washington. Associated Press writers Allen G. Breed in Raleigh, N.C.; Jennifer Peltz and Tom Hays in New York, David Porter in Pompton Lakes, N.J.; Wayne Parry in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.; and David Dishneau in Delaware also contributed.
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– Rescuers plucked stranded New Jersey residents from flooded neighborhoods, workers pumped water from swamped Manhattan tunnels and stunned homeowners dug through the wreckage of their houses Tuesday after Superstorm Sandy ripped into the Northeast.”I’ve lived here for 39 years,” Toms River, New Jersey, restaurateur Keith Paul told CNN. “I’ve been through several hurricanes, going back to Gloria. And I’ve never seen anything like this at all.”Sandy struck land near Atlantic City, New Jersey, around high tide Monday night, whipping up a storm surge that ripped apart piers on the Jersey Shore and inundated subway and highway tunnels in New York.The U.S. death toll rose to at least 33 by late Tuesday, spanning the Eastern Seaboard from North Carolina to Connecticut, plus one in Canada. That’s on top of the 67 fatalities inflicted in the Caribbean last week.”I never thought I’d see what I saw today,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told reporters after spending the day reviewing the damage to his state.Photos: Sandy’s destructive pathNew Jersey’s stranded rescuedBlood shortage due to SandySandy spawns blizzard in West VirginiaSandy floods NYC, New Jersey subwaysPhotos: Aftermath of Superstorm SandyRecovery efforts were starting to take hold Tuesday night. The number of electric customers shivering without power fell to just under 6.9 million, down from nearly 8 million reported earlier in the day across 15 states and the District of Columbia. Two of the New York area’s major airports, John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty, were slated to reopen Wednesday with limited service.But thousands of people waited in shelters, not knowing whether their homes had survived. Salt water streamed down the concrete canyons of lower Manhattan as utility workers pumped out the passages that run beneath the city.And as if the water wasn’t enough, the Queens neighborhood of Breezy Point lost scores of homes to an inferno that erupted at the height of the storm even as other houses within a few blocks were washed away.”In all honesty, it looks like a war zone,” Breezy Point resident Mike Long said. “It looks like during the night, that fighter planes or bombers came through and just bombed the entire area. It just looks terrible.”Sandy’s impact: State by stateChristie said about 1,000 people had been rescued Tuesday. But those efforts were scaled back at nightfall because of the hazards lurking in the dark, swirling water that lingered across much of the region.”There’s poles down, there’s trees down across wires with transformers blowing up on the street,” Paul said. “You go out and walk around, it’s dangerous, because if you hit a puddle and it’s got electricity — there’s really not much you can do until things get cleaned up a little bit.”And in Newark, Mayor Cory Booker said authorities there were still struggling to get help to residents with medical problems.”I’ve got high-rise buildings with seniors who might be dependent upon power and electricity for medical machines, people who have medicine that requires refrigeration,” Booker said. “We have to get to those people, have to get them secure, got to get them to hospital. We still have flooded areas. We still have a lot of challenges.”NYU hospital evacuates patientsAtlantic City, famed for its beaches, boardwalk and blackjack, became an extension of the ocean as seaweed and flotsam swirled in the knee-deep water covering downtown streets. But while the property damage there was “pretty extensive,” Mayor Lorenzo Langford said, “I’m happy to report that the human damage, if you will, has been minimal.”One fatality had been reported in Atlantic City, Christie said Tuesday night.Parts of the boardwalk were washed out in the storm, Langford said, but the Atlantic City Alliance, which promotes tourism there, said the damage was limited to a residential area away from the district most tourists visit.Christie said seeing the damage left behind to the state’s treasured beaches was “overwhelming,” to him “as a kid born and raised in this state.””We will rebuild it. No question in my mind, we’ll rebuild it,” he said. “But for those of us who are my age, it won’t be the same. It will be different because many of the iconic things that made it what it was are now gone and washed in to the ocean.”Transit systems struggle to restartAcross the Hudson River, meanwhile, parts of New York could be without electric service for four days, Consolidated Edison President Kevin Burke told reporters. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said restoring power and mass transit were the biggest challenges facing officials in the days ahead.Fires force evacuations in QueensHigh winds from Sandy knock out powerTowns flooded after possible levee breakCrane dangles off NYC high-riseiReporters share Hurricane Sandy images”I’m happy to say it’s the beginning of a process that we all know will take a while,” Bloomberg said. “But this is the end of the downside, and hopefully from here is going up.”Free but limited bus service was resumed Tuesday evening to take up some of the slack left behind by the crippled subway system, and the New York Stock Exchange was scheduled to resume trading Wednesday morning.Powerful Superstorm images flood social mediaWhile the East Coast was still grappling with the scope of the disaster, federal officials warned that Sandy was an ongoing concern with the potential to inflict more pain on inland states. The storm was centered about 50 miles east of Pittsburgh and packing 45-mph winds Tuesday evening, bringing flood warnings to Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania and blizzard warnings to higher elevations in the Appalachian Mountains.”The coastal impacts are certainly less today than they were last night, but the effects are not zero,” National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb told reporters in a conference call.Forecasters predict the storm’s center of circulation will be north of the Great Lakes by Wednesday. But coastal flooding in the 2- to 4-foot range could still occur “in spots,” while the potential for other floods stretched as far west as Lake Michigan, Knabb said.Superstorm Sandy’s tollThe full scale of Sandy’s wrath has yet to be determined. But according to a government prediction, the storm’s wind damage alone could result in more than $7 billion. One estimate from Kinetic Analysis Corp., which conducts weather hazard assessments, said the storm’s economic impact could be up to $25 billion.In Washington, President Barack Obama pledged the full support of the federal government for recovery efforts. He signed major disaster declarations for New Jersey and New York on Tuesday, clearing the way for federal aid to residents and to state and local authorities.”My instructions to the federal agency has been, ‘Do not figure out why we can’t do something. I want you to figure out how we do something. I want you to cut through red tape. I want you to cut through bureaucracy.’ There’s no excuse for inaction at this point,” Obama said during a visit to the headquarters of the American Red Cross. “I want every agency to lean forward and to make sure that we are getting the resources where they need — where they’re needed as quickly as possible.”Waking up to floods, fires and darkness after SandyThe storm’s timing a week before the presidential election is tricky for Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Both candidates sought to balance the real threat of a killer storm against the need to squeeze out any last-minute advantages in battleground states ahead of next Tuesday’s vote.Obama discarded campaign events in Florida and Virginia to return to Washington and address the storm from the White House. He was scheduled to travel to New Jersey on Wednesday and survey storm damage, the White House said.On Tuesday, Romney swapped campaign rallies for a relief event in Ohio.”We have heavy hearts as you know with all the suffering going on in a major part of our country. A lot of people are hurting this morning,” said Romney, adding that he had the chance to speak with some of the governors from the affected areas.
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