Follow the latest updates on Sandy follow our live blog here.
From the Associated Press: “By evening, a record 13-foot storm surge was threatening Manhattan’s southern tip, howling winds had left a crane hanging from a high-rise and utilities deliberately darkened part of downtown Manhattan to avoid storm damage. ‘It’s really a complete ghost town now,’ said Stephen Weisbrot, from a powerless 10th-floor apartment in lower Manhattan. Water lapped over the seawall in Battery Park City, flooding rail yards, subway tracks, tunnels and roads. Rescue workers floated bright orange rafts down flooded downtown streets, while police officers rolled slowly down the street with loudspeakers telling people to go home.”
From Bloomberg Businessweek:”Hurricane Sandy’s economic toll is poised to exceed $20 billion after the biggest Atlantic storm slammed into the Eastern U.S., damaging homes and offices and flooding subways in America’s most populated city. The total would include insured losses of about $7 billion to $8 billion, said Charles Watson, research and development director at Kinetic Analysis Corp., a hazard-research company in Silver Spring, Maryland. Much of the remaining tab will be picked up by cities and states to repair infrastructure, such as New York City’s subways and tunnels, he said.”
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Get ready for a wallop. Because even though the center of Hurricane Sandy is battering the East Coast, its fringes were expected to fling wind gusts of 70 mph at Northeast Ohio. Hurricane Sandy will bring sustained winds of 20 to 40 mph inland here, with 58 mph winds over Lake Erie, said meteorologist John Mayers of the National Weather Service in Cleveland. The monster storm will also dump plenty of rain, atop the more than 3.5 inches we’ve received since Friday. By 11 p.m. Monday, the windup for the storm’s punch had begun in earnest. Nearly 44,000 homes in the region were without electricity, dozens of area schools had canceled classes for today, and traveling was difficult — if not impossible.”
From the Staten Island Advance: “STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Chaos overtook Staten Island’s coastal communities Monday night, with flood waters from Hurricane Sandy rising so rapidly some residents took to their roofs in an attempt to escape them, according to emergency radio transmissions. Dozens, if not scores of calls were made to emergency officials, and rescue boats were dispatched, but rescuers were having a difficult time getting to desperate residents due to live power lines submerged in flood water.”
From the Associated Press: WASHINGTON — Part of a nuclear power plant was shut down late Monday while another plant — the nation’s oldest — was put on alert after waters from superstorm Sandy rose 6 feet above sea level.
One of the units at Indian Point, a plant about 45 miles north of New York City, was shut down around 10:45 p.m. because of external electrical grid issues said Entergy Corp., which operates the plant. The company said there was no risk to employees or the public, and the plant was not at risk due to water levels from the Hudson River, which reached 9 feet 8 inches and was subsiding. Another unit at the plant was still operating at full power.
The oldest U.S. nuclear power plant, New Jersey’s Oyster Creek, was already out of service for scheduled refueling. But high water levels at the facility, which sits along Barnegat Bay, prompted safety officials to declare an “unusual event” around 7 p.m. About two hours later, the situation was upgraded to an “alert,” the second-lowest in a four-tiered warning system.
From ZDNet’s Violet Blue: “People clamor for resources and information about Hurricane Sandy online and off tonight, but to be truly awed — and to get realtime, essential emergency information — visit and share Google’s live interactive Super Storm Sandy 2012 crisis map.”
From the Associated Press: SAVAGE, Md. — State officials say a power outage caused by superstorm Sandy at a water reclamation plant has resulted in a sewage overflow of 2 million gallons per hour into the main stem of the Little Patuxent River.
Officials say the overflow began Monday night when a storm-induced power supply loss from both electrical feeders caused the overflow.
Crews with the Bureau of Utilities are working with BGE to restore power.
Officials say because of the severity of Hurricane Sandy, no action is being currently being taken to mitigate the damage.
From the Post’s Victor Zapana: As of midnight, the number of nationwide outages associated with Superstorm Sandy increased yet again. The Associated Press reports that 5.4 million customers are without power, and the Maryland Public Service Commission is reporting an additional 360,000. This means that nearly 5.8 million customers are suffering through outages.
From the Associated Press: OCEAN CITY, Md. — The Route 90 bridge into Ocean City has reopened after being closed to all but emergency traffic as high winds and heavy rain intensify during the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.
The bridge closed at 5 p.m. Monday and reopened at 10 p.m.
Approximately 10 inches of rain is expected. That will result in severe flooding in low-lying areas, when combined with the storm and tidal surges.
For those residents and visitors who haven’t evacuated, the town’s emergency services officials are now advising them to shelter in place for the rest of the storm.
One of the strongest storms on record assaulted the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coast Monday with historic coastal flooding, hurricane-force winds, unrelenting rain, and blinding mountain snow.
Greg Carbin of NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center called it “an incredible day in meteorological history” and produced this stunning animation of the storm’s voyage to landfall in Atlantic City:
(The animation displays the storm’s pressure field and offers a sense of storm’s sprawling expanse and remarkable depth.)
From the Associated Press: HOBOKEN, N.J. — Flooding from superstorm Sandy has been reported in PATH train stations in Hoboken and Jersey City along the Hudson River.
A surveillance camera inside the underground station in Hoboken captured water gushing in through an elevator door.
PATH officials say flooding has also occurred at the underground station at Exchange Place in Jersey City. They are not able to say how bad the flooding is.
PATH service between Manhattan and New Jersey has been suspended since midnight Sunday.
Snow continues to fall in western Maryland, where authorities say it’s coming down up to two inches an hour and as many as 24 inches of snow could accumulate.
The state’s Highway Administration said it has closed I-68, an interstate that runs into West Virginia, west of Cumberland.
“Conditions in Western Maryland are terrible right now,” said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters in the release. “There are drivers stopped on I-68 waiting while crews clear disabled vehicles.
“Emergency responders cleared an incident earlier just to face the same challenge a few miles away,” Peters continued. “We can’t say this any more clearly – do not drive tonight. For those already out there, know we are doing our best to clear the problem.”
Peters is also asking motorists to refrain from driving Tuesday so road crews can complete work on the roadways.
This storm has a little bit of everything.
WeatherBug chief meteorologist Mark Hoekzema emailed me the following: “Our total lightning network is picking up a good bit of lightning occurring in Western MD, SW PA, and north central WV. Extremely heavy snow falling above 2000 ft.”
He attached the above image which shows temperatures and precipitation. Where the subfreezing temperatures coincide with the pink shades, that is snow, some of it intense!
One to two feet of snow is forecast in western Maryland through Tuesday evening, and a blizzard warning is in effect.
Maryland State Highway Administration Administrator Melinda B. Peters offered this description of the situation:
Conditions in Western Maryland are terrible right now. There are drivers stopped on I-68 waiting while crews clear disabled vehicles. Emergency responders cleared an incident earlier just to face the same challenge a few miles away. We can’t say this any more clearly – do not drive tonight. For those already out there, know we are doing our best to clear the problem.
From the Associated Press: NEW YORK — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said waters have surged into two major commuter tunnels and into subway stations and tracks.
Spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the Queens Midtown Tunnel had both had flooding. It was unclear how much water had come in.
The MTA also cut power to some subway tunnels in lower Manhattan, after water came into the stations and tracks.
Ortiz said the MTA couldn’t say at this point how much damage had been done, and how much time it would take to restore everything to normal.
Here’s the Post’s story on how the Washington area business community girded for Sandy — from Jonathan O’Connell and Abha Bhattarai: “As Hurricane Sandy intensified Monday, many local businesses closed early or put in place emergency plans for workers even as others — grocers, hardware stores and some bars and restaurants — juggled an influx of hardy customers.”
From the Post’s Victor Zapana: The Associated Press reports that more than 4.6 million are without power because of Superstorm Sandy. Because the AP’s estimate does not include Maryland outages, we added figures from the Maryland Public Service Commission, which currently estimates that there are more than 350,000 customers without power. This means that at about 11:30 p.m. Monday, almost 5 million are without power.
From the Post’s Peter Hermann: D.C. firefighters rescued several people Monday night from three connected homes in Southeast after a large tree fell across them, a city official said.
The tree fell about 10 p.m., crashing into the occupied properties in the 2400 block of Good Hope Road. Mayoral spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said firefighters got all the residents out and were helping them find places to stay.
No injuries were reported.
From the Post’s Peter Hermann: On Tunlaw Road near the Naval Observatory in Northwest Washington, a tree threatened to fall on an empty house. D.C. firefighters responded about 9:15 p.m., noted the precarious situation, and watched.
Because the residents weren’t home, the tree was on private property and no lives were at stake, the firefighters needed the owner’s permission to take down the tree. That’s according to mayoral spokesman Pedro Ribeiro, who said officials were trying to find the owners Monday night.
Meanwhile, the tree stands — barely — buffeted by high winds and rain from the departing storm that continues to unleash its havoc.
“We have to talk to the homeowners,” Ribeiro said. “The District isn’t going to go cut down a tree on private property.”
As of 11 p.m., the situation remained in a standoff.
From the Post’s Joe Stephens: Power failures continued to climb throughout the evening in the Washington-Baltimore area, with total outages reaching nearly 400,000 by 11 p.m. Monday. The problems were more severe in Northern Virginia and the Baltimore area, where major utilities said about 16 percent of customers were without lights.
Dominion Virginia Power reported that 133,000 homes and businesses had lost their electricity. Baltimore Gas & Electric reported 199,000 outages among its 1.2 million customers.
The Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, which serves about 142,000 customers around Manassas, was reporting that about 25,000 customers were without power.
The electrical grid fared better in the District and neighboring Maryland. Pepco reported that about 41,000 customers were suffering outages, or about 5 percent of homes and businesses.
The Post has an online chart of area outages.
Post tropical storm Sandy – as of 11 p.m. – was positioned just north of Baltimore. It’s moving west and will continue to batter the region through the night.
The most intense conditions will last for the next hour or two (through 1 a.m.). Gradually through the night, winds will diminish and rain will become lighter. However, bursts of heavier rain and wind remain possible into Tuesday morning. A high wind watch and flood warning are in effect through the morning and new power outages are possible.
At 11 p.m., winds were sustained in the 30-35 mph with winds gusting to near 50 mph.
By 6 a.m., I suspect they’ll be closer to 25-30 mph, with gusts to 40-45 mph.
Rainfall totals through 11 p.m. were generally in the 3-6 inch range, with another 1 or so possible overnight.
It will be quite chilly into the morning, with temperatures in the 40s.
Water poured into parts of lower Manhattan Monday evening, as the New York MTA shut down all bridges and tunnels into Manhattan.
By late evening, Con Edison shut off electricity to residents in parts of downtown Manhattan as the rising surge flooded low lying neighborhoods around Battery Park City and the East Village. “Lights are on above 34th Street, not below… So eerie,” singer Roseanne Cash tweeted.
New York University Hospital had lost power and was being evacuated, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference Monday night.
Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted that there are reports of heavy volumes of water on West Street, so much so that cars are floating down the street. There are also reports that water is cascading into the south tube of the Holland Tunnel, the East River is running down 1st Avenue, and there is flooding in the Battery Tunnel.
MTA reported that up to four feet of seawater is entering subway tunnels under the East River. The MTA Twitter account also advised its followers that it would not be able to assess damage until Tuesday. “It is way too early for a subway reopening timetable,” @MTAInsider posted.
The storm hit New York at the same time as high tide came in, according to Wall Street Journal weather reporter Eric Holthaus. He reported the water level was at 13.8 feet, 2.3 feet above previous record, at 9 p.m.
Alissa Quinones, a 35 year old nursery school teacher who lives on the 33rd floor of a high rise in Battery Park City, decided to tough out the storm with her husband and two young children despite a mandatory evacuation order in her neighborhood.
Just after 9 p.m., Quinones said that the Hudson River park grounds below her building were inundated, as was a long stretch of the West Side Highway to the north. Remarkably, she said, her building, was largely unscathed.
“It flooded the grassy knoll of the park and the streets behind us,” she said, “but we are lucky: we haven’t lost power. I think we feel good: our windows are still rattling, we have floor to ceiling windows. Well be on high alert for a while, but were OK.”
Jared Roessler, who manages a film lighting company, did not fare so well. The surge waters conveyed a large contruction barricade through the front window of his shop, flooding the basement and leaving the first floor covered with water. “I’m standing in 32 inches of water,” he said.
Con Edison’s CEO told reporters earlier on Monday at the Mayor’s press conference that it ordered lights out for about 6,500 New Yorkers premptively to prevent damage both to our equipment and customers equipment.
Elsewhere, the storm damaged buildings, including one 8th Avenue apartment whose facade was torn off by the high winds.
From the Post’s Peter Hermann: Howard County authorities are asking a handful of residents living along Ellicott City’s historic Main Street to leave their apartments, fearing the Patapsco River could overflow its banks by 3 a.m. Tuesday.
Officials visited people living in five apartments on the north side of the 8000 block of Main Street and handed out “recommended evacuation notices,” said a spokeswoman for the county, Kathy Sloan-Beard.
She said residents are being urged to leave. “About half the people answered the door,” Sloan-Beard said. “The other half either weren’t home or decided to leave already.”
The spokeswoman said that a gauge that monitors spots along the Patapsco River set off a “yellow alert,” indicating that minor flooding is possible. “If the rate of rainfall continues the way it is happening now, we are predicting the water will reach the door sills of those apartments by 3 a.m.”
All the apartments are above storefronts and the water would reach the doors leading to the upstairs living spaces.
What Sloan-Beard said is unknown is if the water could rise any further after 3 a.m. which could flood the stores on the ground level. And if the water does rise as predicted, she said, “we’re going to have to close the lower end of Main Street to vehicular traffic because of standing water.”
From the Post’s Peter Hermann: A large tree fell on fell on nine vehicles Monday night in a parking lot at an apartment complex in Oxon Hill, damaging some significantly, according to the Prince George’s County Fire Department.
Mark Brady, a spokesman for the agency, said the tree fell about 9:30 p.m. at the Glassmanor Apartment building in the 1300 block of Southview Drive.
“Due to the saturation of the ground and the high winds, it fell,” Brady said.
All the vehicles were unoccupied and no injuries were reported, Brady said, adding that it was one of many calls county firefighters responded to Monday that involved downed trees and wires, small fires caused by electrical shorts sparked by water leaking into homes and a ceiling collapse.
“We’ve been very busy,” Brady said.
From the Post’s Joe Stephens: At 10 p.m., a growing number of homes were continuing to go dark in Northern Virginia and the Baltimore area, where the major power companies reported that about 15 percent of their customers had no electricity.
Neighborhoods were considerably brighter in the District and the neighboring parts of Maryland that are served by Pepco, where only about 3 percent of customers were without power. Pepco, which in December was fined a record $1 million by Maryland regulators, has said it has been working aggressively to improve its reliability.
Dominion Virginia Power reported that more than 126,000 homes and businesses had lost their electricity. That’s about one out of every seven customers.
Baltimore Gas & Electric also reported increasing outages, with its outage total hitting 195,000. That was a substantial increase from the 84,000 outages reported three hours earlier. BGE serves 1.2 million customers.
Pepco reported that about 21,000 customers were suffering outages, or about one out of every 37 customers. Hard-hit neighborhoods included Gaithersburg, Georgetown and Columbia Heights.
Outage numbers for Pepco were 5,000 in D.C., 11,000 in Montgomery County, and 5,000 in Prince George’s.
The Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, which serves about 142,000 customers around Manassas, was reporting that about 19,000 customers were without power, or about 14 percent.
The Post has an online chart of area outages.
The Capital Weather Gang’s Weather Watchers have been filing reports from around the D.C. region since the first storm forecasts. You can follow them on Twitter, where they’ve been posting information, photos and videos from across the East Coast.
From the Post’s Caitlin Gibson: Circulating accounts reporting that the Leesburg water system is experiencing problems due to Sandy are not correct, Leesburg officials said Monday night. The town’s water system was functioning normally as of 10 p.m., according to officials.
With the superstorm threatening the East Coast with up to 11-foot waves and shutting down businesses, roadways, public transit and even the New York Stock Exchange, The Capital Weather Gang?s Jason Samenow stops by to give us the latest.
Some of the storm’s strongest winds are affecting the D.C. metro region now (10 p.m.). The surge in wind speeds is resulting in increasing power outages. Our D.C. area outage tracker indicates about 180,000 customers without power in the region.
Other wind reports at 10 p.m.: Dulles airport sustained at 32 mph, gusting to 54 mph; BWI airport 33 mph, gusting to 49 mph.
We are currently in the period of the storm’s strongest winds which should continue through around midnight, although some high gusts are possible into Tuesday morning.
The storm damage was captured on social media. Instagram user GeorgeWeld sent out this image of what appears to be an electrical explosion in New York City.
Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) October 30, 2012
Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) October 30, 2012
carlos whitt (@carloswhitt) October 29, 2012
UPDATE: Trillian media appears to have captured video of the explosion:
From the Associated Press: MCLEAN, Va. — Superstorm Sandy has knocked off the capital ‘A’ from the USA Today newspaper sign at its headquarters in McLean.
The letter came down Monday afternoon when heavy winds from former Hurricane Sandy were blowing ashore.
A newspaper spokeswoman says the letter fell on the headquarters’ lawn and has been recovered.
No one was injured.
George Nelson, VP for Operations and Engineering at Pepco Holdings, manages the staff on Monday at the Pepco command center
in Rockville, Md.
From the Post’s Ed O’Keefe: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke Monday evening with the governors of North Carolina, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and the mayor of Atlantic City as Sandy began to make landfall there, according to department officials.
Napolitano’s outreach comes as President Obama has signed federal emergency declarations for eight states and the District of Columbia, permitting state officials to begin making requests for federal assistance, including manpower and equipment, as the storm makes landfall.
Later, Obama may be asked to issue federal disaster declarations, which would turn on the federal spigot and begin releasing hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in federal aid and supplies to affected areas.
From the Post’s Aaron Davis: Residents of Crisfield in the state’s southeastern corner are stranded in the dark, some sheltering on the second floor of homes flooded with five feet or more of water, said Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).
On the opposite side of the state, a blizzard has caused whiteout conditions and contributed to a pileup of four tractor-trailers on Interstate 68.
Statewide, more than 280,000 Marylanders were without electricity as of 9 p.m. As stronger bands of wind and rain reached the state’s northeast corner, outages were expected to multiply quickly.
More than 60 percent of residents in Cecil and Harford counties are without electricity, state emergency officials said. The outages were expected to intensify toward Baltimore in coming hours.
Some of the state’s most dire conditions, however, remained in Crisfield, in Somerset County. Electricity had been cutoff entirely to the city, and National Guard and swift water rescue teams were evacuating more than 100 residents to shelters.
Crisfield, which fancies itself the “crab capital of the world,” is the state’s southernmost town. It is located on the Eastern Shore and is the site of an annual seafood festival that draws thousands.
Countywide, more than 80 percent of residents were destined to spend the night in the dark.
O’Malley warned residents that the next 12 hours would bring the storm’s worst wind and rain.
“The eye of the storm is going to be coming right across Maryland now,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley said the state has 24 critical care facilities now on generator power, including two hospitals.
Maryland’s National Guard is also actively working 25 missions statewide, most involve using Humvees or other military carriers to help emergency workers pass flooded roads.
The 9 p.m. barometric pressure at Baltimore Washington International Airport dropped to 965.7 mb, below the previous record of 965.9 mb established during the March 13 superstorm of 1993.
The lower the pressure, the more powerful the storm as a rule of thumb.
The pressure wasn’t the only impressive weather reading in Baltimore at 9 p.m. It reported a sustained wind of 40 mph, gusting to 59 mph!
Victor Zapana reports:
Renee Dondes, 43, of Fairfax County, sent us this picture of a tree that crashed into her neighbor’s house Monday morning.
The 100-foot-tall tree shaved off the chimney top, which crashed into Dondes’ fence.
No one is hurt, and her neighbors were not in the home, according to Dondes.
She added that many of her neighbors purchased homes in the neighborhood in part because they adored the old, majestic-looking trees.
She said she plans on having someone inspect the trees after the storm.
From the Post’s Joe Stephens: At 9 p.m., electrical outages were continuing to grow in Northern Virginia and the Baltimore area, where power companies reported that about 12 percent of their customers — about 263,700 were in the dark.
But in the District and the neighboring parts of Maryland served by Pepco, only about 2 percent of customers were without power — a welcome change for communities that have long complained about Pepco’s reputation for unreliability.
Dominion Virginia Power reported that more than 103,000 homes and businesses had lost their electricity. That represents roughly one out of every eight customers.
Baltimore Gas & Electric, also reported increasing outages, with its outage total hitting 157,000. That was a substantial increase from the 84,000 reported just two hours earlier. BGE serves 1.2 million customers.
Pepco reported that about 17,000 customers were suffering outages — a thousand fewer than had been sitting in the dark two hours earlier. Hardest hit neighborhoods included Petworth, Columbia Heights and Bethesda. Outage numbers for Pepco were 3,900 in D.C., 9,400 in Montgomery County, and 3,700 in Prince George’s.
Across the Northeast, the total number of outages is approaching 3 million.
Millions of Americans were without power Monday evening from Hurricane Sandy, including more than 145,000 homes and businesses in the Washington area, mostly in Northern Virginia.
The biggest power outages nationwide have been reported in New York City, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
At 8:15 p.m., data show more than 122,000 Northern Virginia customers without power, including many of the Clarendon area. More than 21,000 homes and businesses from Maryland’s Montgomery and Prince George’s counties were without power and more than 3,100 in the District. High winds Monday evening prompted Pepco to pull back its above-ground repair crews in Maryland and the District.
Baltimore Gas & Electric reported 84,393 outages, many of them concentrated in Baltimore County.
The Washington-area numbers pale compared to areas in the Northeast. Overall, more than 2.8 million homes and businesses in 11 states were without power, CNN reported.
The Post’s Joe Stephens contributed to this report.
From the Post’s Emma Brown: Some residents are saying that Sandy isn’t packing the punch they had expected.
“That’s good for us,” said Michael Strain of low-lying Nanjemoy, Md., in Charles County.
Strain said winds were growing calmer late Monday night. Nearly 3 inches of rain fell between midnight and 9 pm, said Strain, who volunteers as a Weather Watcher for the Capital Weather Gang. And while the rain was steady, it wasn’t overwhelming — it was falling at .13 inches per hour late Monday night.
“I’ve been watching the radar off and on, it’s almost like it’s fizzling,” Strain said. “Unless something happens in the next hour or two, then I think it’s about done.”
Another Weather Watcher, in Poolesville, said that lights flickered on and off for about 15 seconds in the early evening, triggering a flash of panicked posts to a Facebook page for city residents.
“Almost every street in town, there was a report that lights were flickering,” he said. “We’re getting quite a blow out here.”
More than four inches of rain have fallen in Poolesville since 8 a.m. Sunday, he said, and many residents are counting on their sump pumps to keep their houses dry.
Lori Aratani reports:
In Washington, Metrorail and bus service is suspended for Tuesday morning — not the entire day. There is a possibility that some service may resume later in the day on Tuesday but officials can’t say for certain. They will do inspections in the morning.
Metro Access service, however, is suspended for all of Tuesday.
Customers are encouraged to sign up for MetroAlerts for information regarding restoration of service as it is known.
While some work hard to prepare for Sandy’s arrival, others enjoy taking in the sights at Georgetown’s waterfront.
The massive amount of water falling from the sky today will eventually flow into the Potomac River and produce flooding like we haven’t seen in years, says the National Weather Service:
RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES ALONG THE POTOMAC RIVER FROM HANCOCK DOWNSTREAM TO AND INCLUDING WASHINGTON DC SHOULD PREPARE FOR A FLOOD NOT SEEN SINCE THE FLOODS OF 1996. THE ONLY LIMITING FACTOR IN NOT REACHING THE AGNES FLOOD OF 1972 IS THE LIMITING CONTRIBUTION OF THE SHENANDOAH RIVER FOR THIS EVENT…AS THE GREATEST RAINFALL HAS FALLEN NORTH OF THE SHENANDOAH BASIN.
On timing of the flooding it says:
RIVER FLOODING IS EXPECTED BEGINNING LATE THIS EVENING AND LASTING THROUGH MUCH OF THE WEEK AHEAD. THE WORST CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED ALONG THE MAINSTEM POTOMAC WHERE MAJOR FLOODING IS EXPECTED WEDNESDAY INTO THURSDAY.
Post reporters are now hearing that Pepco, which about two hours ago pulled its work crews back to staging areas because of storm winds, was preparing to send them back out at about 8:45 p.m. Monday. For safety reasons, the power utility’s crews can only work when wind speeds are below 35 mph.
Post reporters are now hearing that Pepco, which about two hours ago pulled its work crews back to staging areas because of storm winds, was preparing to send them back out at about 8:45 p.m. Monday. For safety reasons, the power utility’s crews can only work when wind speeds are below 35 mph.
Miranda Spivack reports: Prince George’s officials announced that the county government, public schools, courts and park and planning departments all will be closed Tuesday because of weather conditions.
The also are expected to announce that The Bus, the bus system operated by the county, will not operate.
Residents can get updates and report non-emergency problems to the county’s 311 system by either dialing 311 or by going online here.
Meanwhile, in Fairfax County is maintaining a Tumblr with all Road Closures here.
See a full list of closings in the Washington region here.
Earlier today, the wind snapped a crane atop a 70-story building being built at 157 W. 57th Street in Manhattan. Here is live video. Buildings around it have been evacuated.
Here’s a picture from earlier today:
Gov. Martin O’Malley will hold a press conference at the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to provide an update on Hurricane Sandy at 9:30 p.m. Monday, according to a press release.
— Maryland.gov (@StateMaryland) October 29, 2012
We’ve known for days that Sandy was coming, and electric companies have said they brought in extra crews to deal with the aftermath. But the Christian Science Monitor looks at how the nuclear power plants on the East Coast have prepared, particularly in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima meltdown, and whether they have sufficient back-up power to cool the fuel rods in an extended outage. Some say they don’t. In case you needed something else to worry about.
Here’s the story. The nuclear stuff is on page 2.
The storm is causing increasingly severe damage in Prince George’s County, though fire officials say it has still injured no one there.
Four trees or large branches have toppled onto houses in the Laurel area, and one home at 7008 Contee Road was deemed too unsafe to let the residents stay, authorities said.
At 12207 Westview Drive in Upper Marlboro, a ceiling collapsed — possibly from water damage, fire officials said.
Reported by The Washington Post’s Matt Zapotosky
A family with two daughters was in the house at the time, but neighbors said no one was hurt. The family is now at a hotel, said Amy Jordan, an elementary school principal who lives across the street.
Jordan said she heard a crash around 5 p.m. and ran outside with her son to see the tree “slice the house in half.” The trees in the neighborhood are old, and neighbors have been watching them over the last few hours, Jordan said. She said that because of the incident, she would be sleeping in the basement.
“It was really quite frightening because you literally could see right inside the house,” Jordan said.
Jessica Silcox, a nurse who lives across from Jordan, said she was making fun of her mother for preparing for the storm. Over the course of two days, the mother, Judith, prepared three-days worth of pasta salad and purchased 30 bottles of water. But after witnessing the fallen tree, Silcox is glad her family is prepared.
“It made everyone take the storm a little bit more seriously,” she said.
Reported by The Washington Post’s Victor Zapana
The Post’s Joe Stephens reports:
At 7 p.m. in the Washington region, power outages were hitting residents of Northern Virginia the hardest.
Dominion Virginia Power reported that more than 74,800 homes and businesses had lost their electricity, especially residents near Clarendon.
Customers of Pepco, which serves D.C. and its Maryland suburbs, were faring much better.
While Pepco has been criticized as unreliable, the company reported that just 15,000 customers had lost power — down from 18,000 an hour earlier. Hardest hit areas appeared to be around College Park and southern sections of the District.
Baltimore Gas & Electric reported 84,393 outages, many of them concentrated in Baltimore County.
At the direction of President Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is coordinating the federal government’s assistance and preparations to support states affected by Sandy.
Today, the president received a briefing on the storm in the White House Situation Room, including an update on the deployment of teams and resources to potentially affected areas by Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Fugate, Transportation Secretary Lahood, Energy Secretary Chu and National Hurricane Center Director Richard Knabb.
The Post’s Ed O’Keefe reports:
Hurricane Sandy’s battering of the East Coast is expected to produce historic rainfall totals and cause billions of dollars in damage and wholesale disruptions to the close presidential race. The storm could also provide a moment of sharp contrast between President Obama and Mitt Romney and how their different ideas of governing apply to the federal response to large-scale disasters.
Pardon the pun, but Instagram is being flooded with photos of Hurricane Sandy.
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told Poynter, “There are now 10 pictures per second being posted with the hashtag #sandy — most are images of people prepping for the storm and images of scenes outdoors.”
But a few of the photos being posted seem…off. That’s because a few users are taking their favorite weather scenes from popular movies and photos of past to create their own version of what Sandy looks like. Here are a few:
The photo that made the most waves, though, was an image of the Old Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The Washington Post was among the sites that mistakenly published the September photo online as an event occurring during the Sandy storm.
Credit: Gabe Silverman / The Washington Post
At the Battery, the level has reached 11.25 feet, surpassing the all-time record of 11.2 feet in 1821 (source the Weather Channel). The level is still rising.
Severe coastal flooding is resulting from these record water levels.
(Note: these water level are a result of a combination of storm surge and the astronomical tide, sometimes referred to as storm tide)
New York City engineers and fire department inspectors plan to climb 74 flights of stairs to examine a Manhattan construction crane that’s dangling from a luxury high-rise as Sandy approaches. Credit: The Associated Press
On Monday night, Gov. Chris Christie says some people are stranded in Atlantic City and he’s blaming the mayor. Christie says Mayor Lorenzo Langford erred by allowing people to shelter on the barrier island rather than moving them inland.
Due to Sandy’s high winds, Capital Bikeshare will remain closed on Tuesday, according to an email sent to its members.
An announcement on when the bikes will be available again will follow after weather conditions improve, according to the company.
Capital Bikeshare will remain closed through Tuesday morning at a minimum.We will be sure to update you on the status of the system.
— Capital Bikeshare (@bikeshare) October 29, 2012
Loudoun County officials announced that the county government offices will be closed Tuesday due to Hurricane Sandy. The Loudoun County Circuit Court and the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s offices will also be closed.
In addition, the Loudoun commuter bus service and the Tyson’s Express bus service will not operate on Tuesday, officials said.
Loudoun County Government offices closed Tuesday, October 30: bitly.com/XObF3W
— LoudounCo Government (@LoudounCoGovt) October 29, 2012
Report by Caitlin Gibson
Sandy is very close to making landfall – and – while approaching the shore – has lost tropical characteristics according to the National Hurricane Center. It is no longer a hurricane.
Its strengthening phase has also ended, as maximum sustained winds have declined from 90 to 85 mph, and its central pressure has climbed to 946 mb from 940 mb. Nevertheless, this remains a very intense storm and its impacts remain severe, and will for some time.
The Weather Channel says it is now calling Sandy “Superstorm Sandy”
Storm after storm TV weather reporters brave treacherous winds and rain to show viewers exactly why they shouldn’t be at the beach …. while standing on a beach.
In an attempt to find out why these reporters put themselves directly in a hurricane’s path, Erik Wemple spoke with David Verdi, the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Nnewsgathering at NBC News:
“[Verdi] explains the imperative behind the staple — some would call it “cliché” — of the windswept beach live shot: “The reason we’re on beaches and boardwalks is twofold: One is to convey the seriousness and two, because it hits the beach first,” says Verdi. “That’s the reason we go into war zones and go to special events and places to where we can gain access to places that regular people cannot.”
So, in other words, don’t expect to stop seeing images like these anytime soon:
— Alex Corradi (@Alexcorradi) October 29, 2012
— Ryan Paonessa (@elevnco) October 29, 2012
— Joe 6#$%0 (@OffTheBooksFlow) October 29, 2012
The Post’s Annys Shin reports:
Tropical storm winds have forced Pepco crews back to staging areas in
Rockville and the District.
Pepco ordered its above-ground power line crews to take shelter, as the
Washington region began to feel the full force of Hurricane Sandy.
For safety reasons, the power utility’s crews can only work when wind
speeds are below 35 mph.
As of 6: 30 pm, more than 19000 Pepco customers had lost power.
The utility will have to wait until winds die down before starting damage
assessments, Pepco officials said. The earliest opportunity could come
sometime tomorrow. It may take more than a week for Pepco to fully restore
power, they said.
Pepco Holdings Inc., Pepco’s parent company, has requested 3700 additional workers to help restore power in the
days following the storm. So far, it has commitments for 1600.
Because of Hurricane Sandy is affecting much of the Northeastern seaboard,
crews have been called in from as far as Washington state, New Mexico, and
The Post’s John Wagner reports that as of 6 p.m., all three of Maryland’s casinos are closed due to the Hurricane Sandy, including its largest, Maryland Live! in Anne Arundel County.
Maryland Live! Casino is closed due to Hurricane Sandy.
— Maryland Live! (@MarylandLive) October 29, 2012
The Post’s Michael Laris and Aaron C. Davis report:
A Montgomery County woman was killed in a head-on collision near Clarksburg Monday morning, and Maryland’s state medical examiner has ruled the death storm related.
“If not for the storm” the accident would not have occurred, said David Fowler, the state’s medical examiner. Montgomery police were more cautious, saying it’s possible the storm played a role.
Mai Ai Lam-Phan, 66, of Clarksburg, was driving north on Frederick Road when a Nissan heading southbound crossed the center line and ran into her Jaguar, police said. They responded at 11:38 a.m. She was pronounced dead at the scene, and the Nissan’s driver, a 19-year-old Germantown man, and his passenger, were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
“Witnesses reported that there was water covering the roadway at that time and on that portion of 355,” said Capt. Paul Starks, a Montgomery police spokesman. “Those conditions were present. Whether they had anything to do with the collision or not is still under investigation.”
The investigation will take weeks, Starks said.
This post has been updated.
The domain name Frankenstorm.com is still up for grabs, thanks to hosting site GoDaddy.com.Two bidders are currently in contention in the auction which is open until 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Any meme followers shocked at the availability of such valuable Internet real estate will be relieved to know Frankenstorm Twitter handles were snatched up long ago. There’s @A_Frankenstorm, not to be confused with @Stormenstein or @Snoreastercane, a.k.a. Sandy Frankenstorm.
The moniker is only one in a veritable ‘foul-weather lexicon’ to pop up in the wake of the hurricane, writes Style reporter Emily Wax.
Storm cliches and neologisms are a way of trying to assert a sense of control, when in fact we are vulnerable to the large and indifferent forces of nature.
For those trying to make light of the storm, there’s the possibility of “Frankenstorm babies,” with so many couples stuck indoors; or “storm diets,” for those who replaced their wimpy-weather salads with hearty, Charles “Pa” Ingalls-style meals fixed at home.
Read the rest of Wax’s story here.
Since 6 p.m., Reagan National Airport reported a 58 mph gust, its highest so far.
Here are some additional peak gusts reported by the National Weather Service:
* 70 MPH WIND GUST AT BISHOPS HEAD MARYLAND AT 340 PM.
* 68 MPH WIND GUST AT POINT LOOKOUT MARYLAND AT 520 PM.
* 60 MPH WIND GUST AT ORIOLE PARK IN BALTIMORE MARYLAND AT 500 PM.
* 56 MPH WIND GUST AT PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION AT 248 PM.
* 55 MPH WIND GUST AT THOMAS POINT LIGHT ON THE CHESAPEAKE BAY AT
* 55 MPH WIND GUST AT REAGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT AT 549 PM.
* 47 MPH WIND GUST AT MARSHALL BWI AIRPORT AT 118 PM.
Here are some peak gusts from the WeatherBug network in Virginia and Maryland.
If you were looking forward to returning to work or school tomorrow, I have news for you.
For a second day, MARC Train, Local Bus, Metro Subway, Light Rail, Commuter Bus and Mobility/Paratransit are suspended Tuesday morning.
MTA will suspend all service on Tuesday, Oct 30, includes Local Bus, Metro Subway, Light Rail, MARC Train, Commuter Bus and Mobility.
— MTA Maryland (@mtamaryland) October 29, 2012
The Post’s Matt Zapotosky reports:
The storm has begun to intensify in Prince George’s County, toppling one large tree into a house at 4613 Clemson St. in College Park and sending another crashing into a car near 23rd Parkway and Fairlawn Street in the Hillcrest Heights area, authorities said.
No one has been injured yet because of any storm-related incidents, though the winds are beginning to pick up, said Mark Brady, a Prince George’s County Fire/Department spokesman. “I still think we’re just at the brink of starting to be busy,” Brady said.
— College Park Fire (@CPFD) October 29, 2012
At 6 p.m., Reagan National Airport clocked a wind gust to 55 mph, its strongest so far. Winds will be strongest in the region for the next 6 to 12 hours, when gusts over 60 mph and up to 80 mph (mainly east of the District) are possible.
We continue to get reports of fallen tree. Here’s one from reader Samantha Friedman (who took the photo below) from Cathedral Ave. NW (just east of the intersection with Connecticut Ave. NW):
A huge tree in my front yard just fell down, across my front yard, the neighbors’ front yard, across Cathedral Ave and hit a car. My boyfriend’s car is parked two cars in front of the one that got hit. Luckily, no houses or porches or people got hit. We are incredibly lucky.
The latest in closings news, Arlington County announces that its government, courts and schools will be closed Tuesday.
Arlington County Government Closed Tuesday, news.arlingtonva.us/releases/hurri…
— ArlingtonVA (@ArlingtonVA) October 29, 2012
For a list of the latest closings click here.
The Montgomery County Department of Parks will close all park facilities on Tuesday, as well as cancelling classes and programs. The department is urging residents to avoid parks and report downed trees or other maintenance issues by calling 301-670-8080, or submitting an online form here.
For a list of the latest closures in your area, click here.
Some of the nation’s largest oil refineries are reducing production due to an anticipated fall in demand.
The Associated Press reports that Phillips 66 shut down its refinery in Linden, New Jersey. The refinery is the second largest in the Northeast, producing 285,000 barrels a day. The largest refinery, Philadelphia Energy Solutions is nearly closed. And Bloomberg’s Aaron Clark reports that Hess was scheduled to complete shutdown of its plant in Port Reading, NJ this afternoon.
As the storm makes its way through the nation’s most populous region it’s expected that downed power lines and flooding will lead to a record drop in demand for perhaps days, that’s according to Phil Flynn, a senior analys for Price Futures Group.
Oil prices fell in reaction to the storm. The AP reports that crude oil dropped below $86 a barrel Monday.
The Post’s Corinne Reilly reports:
Fairfax County has ordered its first evacuations in the flood-prone Huntington area.
Residents on two streets, Arlington Terrace and Fenwick Drive, are being told to get out immediately. Two homes on Farrington Avenue are also under evacuation orders, county officials said.
Police and firefighters will begin going door to door by 6 p.m., and utilities will be shut off soon after, said Capt. Kendall Thompson, with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. He said the order could widen to include all of Farrington Avenue as well as neighboring streets.
A bus is on its way to evacuate residents without cars. Those with nowhere else to go are being directed to a county shelter at the Lee District RECenter, 6601 Telegraph Road, Alexandria. Pets are allowed.
Although residents hoped to avoid evacuations, many were anticipating the order, as the neighborhood has flooded repeatedly in recent years. The streets in Huntington aren’t under water yet, but they are widely expected to flood in the coming hours. Many residents spent the day emptying their basements and preparing to leave.
“The water is rising,” Thompson said. “This is the time for folks to get out.”
West of the Chesapeake Bay, the highest totals of 4-6 inches have occurred in Anne Arundel and Calvert counties (right along the Bay).
As of 5:30 p.m., the region was covered in moderate to heavy rain (see radar snapshot to the right, click to enlarge), with band after band cycling through from east to west.
Earlier today, the Post’s Joel Achenbach posted a contemplative essay on Hurricane Sandy and ‘The Big One:’
The Big One is always out there somewhere. Maybe not as far away as we’d like.
At a funeral no one ever talks about how much money the deceased made. No one ever talks about awards, honors, test scores, the size of the person’s house. People talk about the small gestures and friendship and love and the way the person could be counted on in the clutch.
When times get a little difficult – say, a major storm blowing in – we all have a chance to be at our best.
The torrential rain and looming power outages have inspired the linguistic side of reader Randy Bosin, of Chevy Chase, Md., as well. He shared his storm-inspired poetry with us that said, in part:
Better be ready for days in the dark
This one ain’t gonna be no lark
So hope you have an emergency plan
And enjoy the light while you still can
Before you’re stuck in the dark and the cold
Which after a few days will get very old
And pray the power will be restored
Before we all die of being so bored!
Has Sandy inspired your creative side? Share your storm experience, poems or photos here.
“No meters. No residential. No rush hour,” says Linda Grant, spokeswoman for D.C.’s Department of Public Works.
Also, no trash or recycling collection, she says.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will suspend Metrorail and Metrobus service through Tuesday morning. Metro will announce when service will be restored after personnel have had a chance to perform damage assessments on all tracks.
WMATA is encouraging riders to sign up for Metro alerts for more service information.
At 5 p.m. Sandy was just 40 miles south of Atlantic City, moving west northwest at 28 mph. Landfall should occur in south Jersey or on the very northern part of the Delmarva peninsula by 7 p.m.
Maximum sustained winds remain 90 mph and the minimum central pressure in 940 mb, which ranks among the lowest readings on record north of Cape Hatteras, N.C.
American University just announced on its Twitter page that it will close on Tuesday.
— American University (@AmericanU) October 29, 2012
To find out if your school is closed Tuesday follow this link.
There is a mandatory evacuation order for parts of New York City, but not everyone is heeding the warning.
“I don’t feel the necessity to leave. I have food, I have water, I have my kids and I have my dog all next to me, so that’s the safest place to be,” said an unidentified woman during a CBS News interview in lower Manhattan. There is a mandatory evacuation order for 375,000 in the city, but state and local officials cannot force people to leave their homes.
The District of Columbia Courts will be closed Tuesday but emergency personnel are on standby, according to court officials. If the Metro is running, The Superior Court will hold adult arraignment and new referrals.
Dewey Beach in Delware is under water.
Don’t just take our word for it – Dewey Beach Police Chief Sam Markett sent out photos of the flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy, taken by police personnel on patrol utilizing Humvees. The photos were taken Monday morning, and Markett warns us to remember that conditions are to “only get worse.”
The Post’s Jerry Markon and Karen Tumulty report:
Hurricane Sandy upended the closely fought presidential campaign only eight days before election day on Monday, as President Obama and Mitt Romney canceled campaign events, ripped up their schedules and tried to juggle the tricky politics of dealing with the storm.
There are a lot of fake Sandy photos roaming the Internet. More on that later…
In the meantime, this video from NASA was taken Monday from the International Space Station as it made its second pass over the Atlantic Ocean. At the time the video was taken, NASA reports that Sandy had sustained winds of 90 miles per hour.
Sandy is already making history on Wall Street.
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which is closed today, will also be closed Tuesday the Associated Press reports. This will be the first time since 1888 that the NYSE has been closed for two consecutive days. The previous instance was due to snow. The NYSE has been closed since then due to weather, the last time as a result of Hurricane Gloria in 1985.
The area around the financial district was part of New York City’s mandatory evacuation zone, with water already making its way over seawalls along southern Manhattan. Both the NYSE and the Nasdaq are closed today. It is anticipated both will open on Wednesday.
CME Group’s electronic markets remained open, although its trading floor was closed. No word yet as to whether CME will remain closed Tuesday as well, the AP reports.
Sandy has also delayed quarterly earnings reports, including for Pfizer and Thomson Reuters.
The Post’s Susan Svrluga reports:
The bay side of Dewey Beach had begun flooding Monday afternoon, and waves on the ocean side had come right up to the dunes, Mayor Diane Hanson said.
“It’s only a matter of time at this point — the ocean will breach the dunes. The storm hasn’t even hit yet,” the mayor said.
The town, a skinny strip of sand along Route 1, emptied out Sunday after the governor issued a mandatory evacuation order for all areas within three-quarters of a mile of ocean beach, bay front and other flood-prone areas by 8 p.m.
At 6 p.m. Sunday, police in Dewey Beach went to the restaurants and ordered them closed, but the tens of thousands of tourists who had filled restaurants and bars over the weekend for Rehoboth Beach’s Sea Witch festival had for the most part already gone home. Those who were left sat with candles and flashlights and watched the water.
“In a storm like this, if there are strong winds from the east the tide goes into the bay and the wind’s so strong the tide can’t get out,” Hanson said.
“Then the next tide comes in, then the next tide comes in — it’s like the sewers backed up. And it’s a full moon — there are higher than normal tides anyway. It really is like the perfect storm.”
Holly Ski, a restaurant owner in Dewey, said she saw 10-15-foot waves Monday — great surfing for those good enough, and crazy enough, to try it.