Home » Unlabelled » Manhattan goes dark + + 6 MILLION without power + + 16 dead as Superstorm Sandy throws a 13 foot wall of water at US coast
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Manhattan goes dark + + 6 MILLION without power + + 16 dead as Superstorm Sandy throws a 13 foot wall of water at US coast
President Obama has declared a 'major disaster' in New York and Long Island after a night of being battered by Superstorm Sandy, left the areas looking like the set of a disaster movie.
It hit the mainland at 6.30pm local time yesterday having laid waste to large parts of the coast during the day. The US city shut its mass transit system, schools, the stock exchange and Broadway, and ordered hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to leave home to get out of the way as Sandy zeroed in.
A 13ft wall of water caused by the storm surge and high tides resulted in severe flooding to subways and road tunnels. Torrents of water poured into building works at Ground Zero, cars were swept down streets and power was cut across lower Manhattan in a bid to minimise damage to infrastructure.
Superstorm Sandy knocked out power to at least 6.2million people across the US East, and large sections of Manhattan were plunged into darkness by the storm, with 250,000 customers without power as water pressed into the island from three sides, flooding rail yards, subway tracks, tunnels and roads.
New York City's 911 dispatchers were receiving 20,000 calls per hour. An extraordinary 24 hours saw what was originally classed as a hurricane close in and converge with a cold-weather system that turned it into a superstorm - a monstrous hybrid consisting not only of rain and high wind, but also snow.
Sandy smacked the boarded-up big cities of the Northeast corridor, from Washington and Baltimore to Philadelphia, New York and Boston, with stinging rain and gusts of 85mph. Sixteen deaths were reported in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
Among the dead in New York were two children killed instantly by a falling tree in Westchester County, a woman electrocuted to death by falling wires in Manhattan and a 29-year-old man killed in a car crash in Queens. A 30-year-old man was also killed when a tree fell on his house in Flushing, Queens.
Seven New York City subway tunnels were flooded by the morning. Some of the victims were killed by falling trees and at least one death was blamed on the storm in Canada.
Storm damage was projected at up to £12million, meaning it could be one of the costliest natural disasters in US history. Nineteen workers were trapped inside a Consolidated Edison power station in east Manhattan by rising floodwaters, with a rescue worker saying it had suffered an explosion inside.
Firefighters used inflatable orange boats to rescue the utility workers trapped for three hours. One of the Con Ed workers pulled from the floodwater, Angelo Amato, said he was part of a crew who had offered to work through the storm. 'This is what happens when you volunteer,' he said.
About 670,000 customers were without power late Monday in New York City and suburban Westchester County. 'This will be one for the record books,' Con Edison spokesman John Miksad. 'This will be the largest storm-related outage in our history.'
Because a customer is defined as an individual meter, the actual number of people affected is probably much higher. It could be several days to a week before all residents who lost power during the storm get their lights back, Mr Miksad said.
Con Edison spokeswoman D. Joy Faber added that Sandy was 'the storm of the century for us'.
Meanwhile a New Jersey nuclear plant is on alert as flood waters threaten the cooling of its spent uranium fuel rods. Exelon said that a further rise in water levels could force operators at its Oyster Creek power plant to use emergency water supplies from a fire hose to cool the spent rods.
The unprecedented flooding was hampering efforts to fight a massive fire in one of the city's barrier island neighborhoods, Breezy Point in the borough of Queens, the New York Fire Department said. More than 170 firefighters battled a fire that destroyed more than 50 homes.