SuperStorm Sandy: Power Outages and Flooding

Update: 13 dead, 5 million without power.

The National Hurricane Center has downgraded Sandy from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm. The eye has just made landfall in Southern New Jersey.

Con Ed has cut power to all of lower Manhattan. More than 600,00 are without power in NYC, Westchester, Long Island and CT and will be for days. CNN says 2.2 million are without power in all of the affected states. The flooding is extensive and is expected to get worse.

How big is the storm surge?

"We are looking at the highest storm surges ever recorded" in the Northeast, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director for Weather Underground..... "The energy of the storm surge is off the charts, basically."


Photos from the NY Times here. Updates to come. Shep Smith on Fox is doing a terrific job. He's always great with storm coverage. Fox News, which is in NYC, is has backup generator power. The lights go on and off, and it's really eerie to see Shep broadcasting in the dark except for the huge monitors which are running on backup power.

A few deaths have occurred. A tree fell over killing one man.

All the bridges are closed. The FDR drive is flooded. Manhattan is truly an island right now, there's no getting in or out. Yet, at Times Square on the webcam, there are still cabs driving and people out.

The economic damage is going to be enormous.

If the storm reaches the higher estimate of $20 billion in damage, that would put it ahead of Hurricane Irene, which raked the Northeast in August 2011 and caused $16 billion in damage. Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,200 people, cost $108 billion.

The tunnels in lower Manhattan are now flooded. The storm surge is now flooding towns in Long Island. Lower Manhattan is flooded up to 14th St and Union Square.

< Monday Morning Open Thread : Before the Deluge | Superstorm Sandy: How are the Inmates Faring? >
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  • Display: Sort:
    The wind here is frightening; (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 08:05:42 PM EST
    Sounds like a freight train as it whips thru the woods behind our house.  It's been raining hard again, too.  Got word that office is closed again tomorrow - plan is to open Wed, but we'll see.  Sitting in front of the first fire of the season, reading by battery-powered lantern.  Daylight will reveal how much debris we have and whether any trees are down.  Have a feeling it will be a while before power is back - when you live in a sparsely populated area, you aren't at the top of any lists, lol.  Stay safe everyone!

    I'm glad (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 08:16:44 PM EST
    you're safe.  

    Stay safe and warm! (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by lilburro on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 09:33:01 PM EST
    You, too, Anne. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 10:36:30 PM EST
    Having personally experienced a couple of hurricanes and deluges like this one, save for the 50-degree weather accompanying them, they are certainly pretty scary while they are occurring. But it'll soon be over before you realize it. Take care. Aloha.

    pounding rain and high winds in my part of va too. (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by cpinva on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 10:04:44 PM EST
    been like this all day/night, with no respite expected until tomorrow afternoon. fortunately, all our utility lines/pipes are underground, making the loss of electricity reasonably unlikely. i hate drinking warm beer, so that's a good thing. the 100' tall, skinny pines in our back yard sway to and fro, but so far, continue standing. also a good thing.

    my elderly next door neighbor left early today, to ride out the storm at a son's house, leaving me with half a dozen #'s to reach her at, should anything happen to her house. of course, we both realized that neither of us would actually be able to do anything about it, but i think she just wanted to feel like she at least wouldn't come home to a nasty surprise. if a tree lands on her roof, i'll try and at least get a tarp over it, if it doesn't require me putting life and limb at major risk. at least keep the attic from being drenched.

    aside from that, just howling wind and pouring rain so far. have all appendages crossed!

    Stay safe. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Angel on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 10:07:58 PM EST
    Brian Williams at NBC News just showed (none / 0) (#1)
    by caseyOR on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 07:45:22 PM EST
    film of water pouring through the streets of Manhattan. It's looks very bad for the Big Apple.

    Good luck to everybody in the affective areas. Stay safe.

    So strange to see (none / 0) (#2)
    by fishcamp on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 07:51:34 PM EST
    a hurricane someplace other than here.  Hope that crane doesn't bonk the Donald's building which is nearby I think.

    I'm afraid to say how well it's going here (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 08:28:11 PM EST
    because I fear that the power might then go out!

    A totally reasonable fear, andgarden. (none / 0) (#6)
    by caseyOR on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 09:16:41 PM EST
    Good the hear you are okay for now. Keep us updated as time and electricity allows.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 09:56:11 PM EST
    Philly seems to have been spared for the most part. NYC was walloped.

    Here's a scary story: (none / 0) (#11)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 10:30:57 PM EST
    Rising water threatened the cooling system at the Oyster Creek nuclear plant, in Toms River, N.J., on Monday night. The plant declared an alert at 8:45 PM, which is the second-lowest level of the four-tier emergency scale established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    The water level was more than six feet above normal. At seven feet, the plant would lose the ability to cool its spent fuel pool in the normal fashion, according to Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.


    I don't think we, meaning the U.S. nuclear (none / 0) (#13)
    by caseyOR on Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 12:04:32 AM EST
    regulators, learned anything from the horrific tragedy in Fukushima. American exceptionalism, ya know, we don't need to learn from others' mistakes.

    Well (none / 0) (#14)
    by lilburro on Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 12:44:43 AM EST
    this is not to be a hurricane skeptic, this is said of course with the EXTREMELY sincere hope and prayer that nothing happens.  But, my dad works at a nuclear power plant and I asked him about Fukushima and he had no comment at the time.  I think to him each plant has its own regulations, procedures, plans A, B, C, D etc. that it's difficult to judge the preparedness of our plants against what happened at Fukushima.  Based on those reports, if they are saying there is "ample time to take corrective steps" then I would say there probably is ample time to do so.  A huge amount of work at a plant has to do with precaution.

    That is of course anecdotal.  This report suggests the plant is prepared:

    A rising tide, the direction of the wind and the storm's surge combined to raise water levels in Oyster Creek's intake structure, the NRC said. The agency said that water levels are expected to recede within hours and that the plant, which went online in 1969 and is set to close in 2019, is watertight and capable of withstanding hurricane-force winds.

    Worth watching, but I hope and think this is within their ability to react.


    and that this was a little reassuring! (none / 0) (#15)
    by lilburro on Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 12:50:43 AM EST
    It sounds like they have a backup plan and that the waters will recede before the backup plan must kick in (fully, anyway).

    I so hope you are right. Remember, though, (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by caseyOR on Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 01:08:28 AM EST
    TEPCO thought they had it covered, too. TEPCO insisted its backup procedures would work to keep things safe. And that did not really work out too well at Fukushima.

    So, while I hope you are right, I am skeptical about our preparedness for this sort of "once in a lifetime" situation. And, even if the water recedes in time tonight, I have little to no confidence that we are prepared for the day when the water doesn't recede in time or the earthquake is right at hand or whatever other disaster we think has such a small chance of occurring.

    The normal stuff is easy to prepare for. It's the out-of-the-ordinary "whoever would had thought" kind of thing that can haunt us.


    Some updates (none / 0) (#19)
    by lilburro on Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 09:47:18 AM EST

    The alert came after water levels at the plant rose by more than 6.5 feet (2 meters) above normal, potentially affecting the "water intake structure" that pumps cooling water through the plant, an NRC spokesman said.

    Those pumps are not essential since the reactor has been shut for planned refuelling since Oct. 22. However, a further rise to 7 feet could submerge the service water pump motor that is used to cool the water in the spent fuel pool, potentially forcing it to use emergency water supplies from the in-house fire suppression system to keep the rods from overheating.

    On Tuesday, an NRC spokesman said the levels reached a peak of 7.4 feet -- apparently above the threshold. As of 6:10 a.m. EDT waters were at 6.5 feet, with the next high tide at 11:45 a.m. He said the company had moved a portable pump to the water intake structure as a precaution, but has not needed to use it.

    Wall Street Journal:

    The Christie administration is monitoring the Oyster Creak nuclear power plant that lost part of its power and declared an "alert" due to rising water levels Monday night.

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that the plant remains in "safe condition" and federal and state inspectors are on site at the plant, which had been shut down before the storm.

    site violator... (none / 0) (#18)
    by fishcamp on Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 06:34:56 AM EST