The sodden, wind-blown tri-state region of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania began an arduous journey back to normal on Wednesday after mammoth storm Sandy killed at least 82 people in a rampage that swamped coastal cities and cut power to millions across the Northeast.
Financial markets reopened with the New York Stock Exchange running on generator power after the first weather-related two-day closure since an 1888 blizzard. Packed buses took commuters to work with New York’s subway system idle after seawater flooded its tunnels.
The U. S. Navy said it was moving ships closer to areas affected by the disaster in case they might be needed, including the helicopter carrier USS Wasp.
Sandy killed 69 people in the Caribbean as a hurricane before crashing ashore just south of Atlantic City, N.J. Monday night as Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy, which became a rare hybrid superstorm after merging with another weather system to deliver 80 mile-per-hour winds and record storm surges.
Location of Orleans Parish in Louisiana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Hurricane Isaac sidestepped New Orleans on Wednesday, sending the worst of its howling wind and heavy rain into a cluster of rural fishing villages that had few defenses against the slow-moving storm that could bring days of unending rain.
Isaac arrived exactly seven years after Hurricane Katrina and passed slightly to the west of New Orleans, where the city’s fortified levee system easily handled the assault.
The city’s biggest problems seemed to be downed power lines, scattered tree limbs and minor flooding. Just one person was reported killed, compared with 1,800 deaths from Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. And police reported few problems with looting. Mayor Mitch Landrieu ordered a dusk-to-dawn curfew just to be sure.
But in Plaquemines Parish, a sparsely populated area south of the city that is outside the federal levee system, dozens of people were stranded in flooded coastal areas. The storm pushed water over an 18-mile levee and put so much pressure on it that authorities were considering intentionally puncturing the floodwall to relieve the strain.
The storm swiped south Florida on Sunday before moving into warm Gulf waters, where it is expected to strengthen into a hurricane.
On its current track, Isaac was due to slam into the Gulf Coast anywhere between Florida and Louisiana by Tuesday night or early Wednesday, the seventh anniversary of Katrina hitting New Orleans, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
“The weather is going to go downhill well in advance of that and that’s why today is the day of preparation,” said NHC director Richard Knabb.
Sixth Ward Councilor and Man of the People Jody Rhoads was out and about this morning assessing storm damage in our fair borough. Here are some photos Jody took around Pottstown showing the tree damage caused by Hurricane Irene. Some of it is extensive. Notice the curb tree damage. Many thanks to Councilor Rhoads for sharing his photographs with our readers!
New Jersey’s popular seaside destinations are normally full of tourists this time of year. Hundreds of thousands of people swell the population along the New Jersey coastline in the summer. Right now residents and tourists are being told they must leave because Hurricane Irene is expected to cause major damage and flooding along the coast.
Tolls were suspended on the Atlantic City Expressway to move people away from the shore points as quickly as possible. The Atlantic City Expressway is the fastest way north and west toward Philadelphia from many beach resorts. Some state roads are closed to southbound traffic so all lanes can be used by northbound traffic. Eastbound Route 72 will be shut down tonight so that all lanes can be used to move people off Long Beach Island.
Cape May, the Wildwoods, Ocean City, Atlantic City hotels and casinos, Long Beach Island and everything in between is emptying out. Governor Christie declared a state of emergency yesterday.