Hurricane Sandy: ‘Life-threatening’ Storm Hits US

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Atlantic city

US authorities have ordered mass evacuations and airlines cancel transatlantic flights as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the east coast.

Hurricanes are named alphabetically from one of six lists held by the World Meteorological Organisation.

For many years hurricanes were named after the saint’s day on which they fell – hence San Felipe (the first) and San Felipe (the second) which struck Puerto Rico on Sept 13 in 1876 and 1928.

Today hurricane names alternate between male and female and are chosen from lists selected by the World Meteorological Organisation.

The Atlantic has six lists of alphabetically-ordered names with one list used each year. The first hurricane – defined as being when a tropical storm reaches wind speed of 39mph – usually takes the name beginning with A, the second B and so on.

From 1953, hurricanes bore only female names – the practice having become popular in discussions between forecasters after the 1941 publication of George R Stewert’s novel Storm in which a female hurricane featured.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey in a press conference said in his usual blunt terms. “Warning against trying to generate you own power with a home-made apparatus, he says: “If it look stupid, it is stupid.” He reminds people that the storm is still 100 miles off the coast and that things are only going to get worse over the next 24 hours.

A New Jersey resident Miranda Cogswell said: “We live in New Jersey and survived last year’s snow/ice storm pretty well. However, this is going to be a lot worse I think and what is difficult to understand in the UK is that all our power is above ground so we lose electricity very easily. Probably about a week this time. Luckily it isn’t too cold yet but these days, surviving days without a computer and TV, let alone light or heat is a lot worse than it was for the previous generation…
The queues at the supermarket and petrol station were very long yesterday, but the longest one was at the wine merchant!

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a press conference where he announced the Holland Tunnel, the underwater tunnel that connects Manhattan to New Jersey, will close this afternoon but that the city’s bridges are staying open for now.

He says that’s inspected the state’s preparations for the storm and is “very comfortable” with the level of readiness. “People are prepared,” he says, while noting the “cruel irony” that last year’s Hurricane Irene is responsible for his state being so ready for a major storm.

While there are thousands of Britons stuck in cities along the East Coast, there are also Americans in Britain unable to make it home. Among their ranks: the New England Patriots, who were trying to make it back to Boston after defeating the St Louis Rams 45-7 at Wembley stadium last night.

With the NYC subways shutting down last night, a lot of preparation is going into this coming storm. Huffington Post says the following about Sandy:

“Sandy strengthened before dawn and stayed on a predicted path toward Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York – putting it on a collision course with two other weather systems that would create a superstorm with the potential for havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. About 2 to 3 feet of snow were even forecast for mountainous parts of West Virginia.”

Here’s a few updates on the storm:

—Subways, buses and trains shut down across the region under the threat of flooding that could inundate tracks and tunnels.
—Airports are closed
—The worst of the East Coast surge could be in the northern part of New Jersey, New York City, and on Long Island.
—NYC schools are shut down today (Monday).
—Early voting was canceled Monday in Maryland and the District of Columbia due to the storm.
—As of 5 a.m. today (Monday), Sandy was centered about 385 miles south-southeast of New York City, moving to the north at 15 mph, with hurricane-force winds extending an unusual 175 miles from its center.[The Telegraph]

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