"Superstorm." "The Perfect Storm." "Frankenstorm."
Whatever you want to call it, the East Coast is
bracing for Hurricane Sandy, a "rare
hybrid storm" that is expected to bring a life-threatening storm surge
to the mid-Atlantic coast, Long Island Sound and New York harbor,
forecasters say, with winds expected to be at or near hurricane force
when it makes landfall sometime on Monday.
York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the
immediate, mandatory evacuation for low-lying coastal areas, including
Coney Island, the Rockaways, Brighton Beach, Red Hook and some parts of
lower Manhattan along the East River. "If you don't evacuate,
you're not just putting your own life at risk," Mayor Bloomberg said at
a news conference Sunday. "You're endangering first responders who may
have to rescue you."
Sandy is expected to continue on a
parallel path along the mid-Atlantic coast later Sunday before making a
sharp turn toward the northwest and southern New Jersey coastline on
the Jersey Shore and New York City in its projected path. But the path
is not necessarily the problem.
"Don't get fixated on a particular track," the Associated Press said.
"Wherever it hits, the rare behemoth storm
inexorably gathering in the eastern U.S. will afflict a third of the
country with sheets of rain, high winds and heavy snow."
tropical storm warning has been issued between Cape Fear to Duck, N.C.,
while hurricane watches and high-wind warnings are in effect from the
Virginia to Massachusetts. The
hurricane-force winds extend 175 miles from the epicenter of the storm,
while tropical storm-force winds extend 500 miles--or roughly 1,000
miles end to end, making Sandy one of the biggest storms to ever hit the
looking at impact of greater than 50 to 60 million people,"
Louis Uccellini, head of environmental prediction for the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Associated Press. "The
size of this alone, affecting a heavily populated area,
is going to be history making," Jeff Masters wrote
on the Weather Underground blog.
According to the National Hurricane Center summary, coastal water levels
could rise anywhere between 1 and 12
feet from North Carolina to Cape Cod, depending on the timing of the
"peak surge." A surge of 6 to 11 feet is forecast for Long Island Sound
and Raritan Bay, including New York Harbor. The storm surge in New York
Harbor during Hurricane Irene in September 2011, forecasters noted, was