Enormous and powerful Hurricane Sandy continues its slow and deliberate trek up the east coast of the U.S., after slamming the Caribbean island nations of Jamaica and the Bahamas. More than 40 deaths have been attributed to the late season storm so far, and emergency management specialists from the Virginia to Maine are quickly prepping for what the National Weather Service says could be a once-in-250-years storm.
Among the more incredible pre-storm developments has been the recording of the lowest barometric pressure levels ever recorded in several Middle Atlantic locations, as well as in New York City. And this is before Hurricane Sandy even arrives, which is currently projected to occur late Monday night or Tuesday morning. Additionally, Battery Park City, home to tens of thousands in lower Manhattan, has a mandatory evacuation in place due to its being built on landfill adjacent to the island itself.
Nearly 4,000 airline flights have been cancelled, and carriers are quickly positioning as many aircraft as possible out of the Northeast. It will take several days after Sandy passes for airline schedules to return to normal, so travelers with bookings are advised to contact their carrier for re-accommodation. All airlines are offering reservations changes without penalty. Additionally, because of the flights that won’t operate to/from the east coast over the next several days, flights across the U.S. as well as internationally will be impacted.
Delta Air Lines, which operates its second-largest hub at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, flies scores of daily flights from MSP to cities that will be directly impacted by the storm. Among these are LaGuardia, JFK and Newark Liberty International which serve New York City; Boston Logan, Bradley International Airport which serves Hartford, CT and Springfield, Mass.; Philadelphia International, Washington Reagan-National and Washington Dulles airports, as well as the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
Other storm-related announcements already made include the cessation of subway and bus service in New York City beginning at 7 p.m. on Sunday evening, no Amtrak service in the Northeast Corridor from Washington, D.C. to Boston, effective Monday morning, and the evacuation of multiple municipalities on the south shore of Long Island and Connecticut’s southern border with Long Island Sound. The federal government has told employees in the Washington, D.C. area to stay at home on Monday, and the stock exchanges in New York will undoubtedly be closed on Monday, and possibly beyond.
Hurricane Sandy has the capacity to impact up to 60 million residents of the U.S. with strong rain and winds, flooding, and heavy snow inland. It is expected to cause massive power outages that will take many days to restore.