President Obama cancelled his Orlando, Florida campaign rally and returned to the White House today at 11 a.m., to oversee the national hurricane response efforts for the Category 1 hurricane Sandy located on the northeast coastline.
Early voting was cancelled in areas within the reach of hurricane Sandy. New Hampshire, North Carolina and Ohio, Maryland and Washington, D.C., have closed their doors temporarily to wait out the storm.
Bill Clinton urged students in Orlando, Florida to vote for President Obama “[President Obama] stopped us from sliding into depression and began the long road back,” Clinton said. “This guy has taken on more tough problems in less time and gotten good results but we couldn’t get well in four years,” Clinton said.
This afternoon America received an update on the nation’s condition, after President Obama’s meeting with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate, National Hurricane Center Director Richard Knabb, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Obama reported that all agencies are doing a great job in preparing for the worst part of the storm and declared emergencies in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, authorizing federal relief work to begin well ahead of time. He promised the government would “respond big and respond fast” after the storm hits.
“My message to the governors as well as to the mayors is anything they need, we will be there, and we will cut through red tape,” Obama said. “We are not going to get bogged down with a lot of rules.”
Hurricane Sandy has a reach of 1,000 miles wide, and cities located in affected areas have shut down bus, plane, train, and subway transportation. Over 375,000 people were ordered to evacuate Manhattan, and other areas of New York City. The only way out is by personal vehicle or by foot at this point.
In the meantime New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie has successfully evacuated many affected areas of his state. However, there are still thousands of people that have ignored his evacuation orders and are lingering in dangerous areas that cause critical state and city first responders to stick around. Governor Christie stated that the decision to occupy dangerous areas is both “stupid and selfish”. It is also a reflection on parents that intentionally put children in harm’s way for the sake of experiencing the historical storm.
VIDEO: Hurricane Sandy breaches shores at New Jersey
One of the primary reasons to evacuate early is road access diminishes as weather conditions worsen, and the ability to acquire gas and other necessary emergency services or goods become unavailable. Additionally, the potential of looting, personal property damage and death increases as people remain in areas where an emergency evacuation has been declared.
In Atlantic City, the storm has already wrecked havoc at construction sites and shut down stores. Stores that sell essential items are staying open as long as they are able to, but it puts the employees at risk. The governor has provided warning that price-gouging is not allowed during emergencies. The most purchased items are radios, water, bread, and canned food.
All hotels were required to vacate their guests 4 p.m. Sunday October 28, 2012 at the requirement of the New Jersey Governor. The Trump Taj Mahal and the Convention Center Sheraton Hotel, located on the coast of Atlantic City, sit vacant and vulnerable by the sea waiting for the eye of the storm to arrive by midnight.
Currently 4-6 inches of rainfall per hour has affected the commute out of the New Jersey city regions and the situation is expected to get worse later this evening.
In New York, sea and rain water has leached into the streets at high rates and pushed debris into the sewer system clogging up the drains and flooding the streets with millions of gallons of water. The Gale-force winds pushing westward overnight helped shovel 12 inches of water into early morning traffic.
Long Island and New York City is expected to receive the worst weather, with a predicted 11-foot wall of sea water that would seep into the subway system and flood lower Manhattan. Another major concern is the city electrical and communication lines are located in tunnels below the streets which connect to the nation’s financial centers.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ordered an evacuation, and made an announcement that pets are welcome at the emergency shelters. So far there are 73 pets at New York’s 76 shelters.
Affected cities have already begun preparing for electrical outages by hiring tree-trimmers and linesmen that are waiting for the storm to make its move. In New Jersey, Chris Christie on Sept. 6, 2012 attempted to pass a $25,000 fine per day to utility companies that did not respond in a reasonable time. The current fine is $100 per day, and Chris Christie did not find that the amount is proposes enough threat to the utility company to remedy outages in the fastest manner. Last year on Oct. 30, more than 600,000 homes and businesses were without electricity for up to 10-days during a severe snowstorm that dumped 19-in. of snow. Some residents died by house fire after they attempted to use fire to heat their homes.
Anyone that is located within the storm affected areas are advised to stay indoors during the storm to protect yourself from flying debris and falling objects due to extreme high winds and loose soil.
UPDATE: Oct. 30, 2012 12:13 a.m. Eastern
Nortonville, Pennsylvania: 2:00 a.m. Oct. 30, the eye of the storm is less than one mile north of Nortonville, on the south side of the river. The storm is traveling 18-mph, with winds of 75-mph. In 16-hours the storm should reach St. Marys and the winds are expected die down to 45-mph. Thereafter winds will continue to decrease to 35-mph.
Philadelphia: 80 mph winds and coastal flooding expected to reach record 10-feet high along the shore and Delaware Bay, due in large part to the full moon.
New York City, New York: City was anticipating an 11-foot wall of ocean water to rise over top of Battery Park’s sea wall. What it got was a 13-foot wall of sea water. A damaged crane connected to the side of a 74-story building made for a long trek up the stairs for inspectors since the elevator and all electricity had been turned off.
Record storm surges Sound Shore and are slated to push up the Hudson River to Putnam and Orange counties around midnight, forecasters said.
A 5-foot surge breached banks in Irvington Monday afternoon, and some other river towns. An 11-foot surge is expected at about 11 p.m., when the next high tide also could trigger massive flooding.
Cape May, New Jersey: Martin Pagliughi, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Cape May County stated, “High tide is scheduled at 8:35 p.m. and 45-min. later on the back bays. 600 people are staying in shelters and more than 7,600 people are out of power, but as the wind picks up more residents are expected to lose power.”
Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton, stated, “I’m going to emphasize again while this little bit of time is left, if there’s any way possible you can leave those barrier islands, leave. Leave. You’re in danger. Look, we’re at the last instant here. This is the last hour. You’re not going to see any more warnings here.”
Thornton said there is serious flooding on barrier islands throughout the county with reports of water in some town reaching 5 feet.
Connecticut: 9:24 p.m. Update: Gov. Dan Malloy, of Hartford, Connecticut says thousands of people that refused to leave dangerous areas are now stuck in buildings surrounded by massive amounts of water. During a televised announcement he instructed those people to climb to the highest level of the homes or buildings. The high tide continues for another 2-hours. Yesterday, 360,000 people were instructed to evacuate New Haven, Bridgeport, and Stanford. This is a category 4 storm.
Red Hook, Brooklyn: Evacuation zone A 3-feet of water flooding the streets.
Belmar, New Jersey: The sandy 50 yard deep bank has been engulfed by the Atlantic ocean and sea water has flooded out onto Ocean Blvd. It is expected that by 8 p.m. Ocean Blvd. will be part of the ocean.
Atlantic City, New Jersey: Chris Christie has pulled back emergency responders due to the ocean water flooding the city.
Rockaway Beach, Queens New York: Residents in a building saddled next to the Atlantic Ocean have refused to evacuate.
Hoboken, New Jersey: Mayor Dawn Zimmer, put out a warning that no vehicles are allowed on the road today after 6 p.m.. The City of Hoboken has issued a mandatory evacuation of all ground floor apartments by midnight on Monday
National Hurricane Center Advisory Notice:
BULLETIN HURRICANE SANDY ADVISORY NUMBER 30 NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL182012 500 PM EDT MON OCT 29 2012 …SANDY MOVING QUICKLY TOWARD SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY AND DELAWARE… …LANDFALL EXPECTED EARLY THIS EVENING ACCOMPANIED BY LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGE AND HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS… SUMMARY OF 500 PM EDT…2100 UTC…INFORMATION ———————————————- LOCATION…38.8N 74.4W ABOUT 30 MI…45 KM ESE OF CAPE MAY NEW JERSEY ABOUT 40 MI…65 KM S OF ATLANTIC CITY NEW JERSEY MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…90 MPH…150 KM/H PRESENT MOVEMENT…WNW OR 300 DEGREES AT 28 MPH…44 KM/H MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…940 MB…27.76 INCHES
“Sometime prior to making landfall, Hurricane Sandy is expected to lose its characteristics as a tropical cyclone and take on the structure of a wintertime low-pressure area. NWS forecasts of storm impacts are
based on this expected evolution. Regardless of when this transition formally occurs, Sandy is expected to bring significant wind, surge, rainfall and inland flooding hazards over an extremely large area, and snowfall to more limited areas.
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 extra-tropical or frontal lows), on the other hand, 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.”