October 29, 2012 — Meteorologists are predicting a “worst case scenario” for the New York City metropolitan area and New Jersey as the Category 1 Hurricane Sandy sweeps toward the East Coast. The storm is now preparing to run aground slightly more to the north than previously forecast; the storm initially appeared ready to strike closer to the Delmarva Peninsula.
The National Hurricane Center said October 29 that Sandy has intensified on its approach and is bringing with top sustained winds of 85 miles per hour and a massive storm surge. Officials warn that a 10-foot wall of water could hit New York City — flooding subway tunnels, swamping city streets and crippling the electric grid.
Utilities Con Edison, Orange & Rockland, Central Hudson, NYSEG and others geared up their emergency crews for a marathon of outages and repairs.
In advance of the storm, some 375,000 people evacuated from lower Manhattan and other boroughs. Authorities sent evacuation orders to about 50,000 Delaware residents, and about 30,000 Atlantic City residents. Airlines canceled more than 7,200 flights and Amtrak suspended train service to the Northeast.
President Barack Obama reportedly canceled a planned campaign event to return to the White House and monitor the storm. Federal government offices will be closed all day October 29.
Sandy is blamed for about 65 deaths in the Caribbean, and the storm brushed along the Carolinas on its path to the northern East Coast.