Hurricane Sandy Is Here
The East Coast braces for a superstorm that will affect millions
TOP: As many as 60 million people could be affected by Sandy’s strong winds as well as potential flooding. (NASA Getty Images)
CENTER: Sandbags absorb excess water and can help protect buildings at risk of flooding. (U.S. Department of Defense / Reuters)
BOTTOM: Flood warnings have been issued all the way from Virginia to the Great Lakes. (Associated Press)
People in the northeastern U.S. are hunkered down to weather what forecasters are calling a historic hurricane. A hurricane is a storm that typically originates over the Atlantic Ocean, with winds of at least 74 miles per hour (mph). By Monday morning, Hurricane Sandy’s winds had already reached 85 miles per hour as it started turning toward shore from its path along the East Coast over the Atlantic.
Sandy is expected to make landfall—when the eye of the hurricane reaches land—near Delaware and New Jersey late Monday night. Forecasters think the storm will pass north through Pennsylvania and New York on Tuesday in a path toward Maine and even Canada.
Authorities warn that Sandy is an extremely large and dangerous storm. Some are calling it a “superstorm.” Damage from high winds and flooding could be serious. As many as 60 million people could be affected.
Flood warnings have been issued all the way from Virginia to the Great Lakes. Forecasters say the hurricane has gathered strength while moving north. The National Weather Service predicts that tides may be as high as 10 to 12 feet when the worst of the storm hits the coastline in New Jersey.
Hundreds of thousands of people who live in coastal areas likely to flood have been ordered to evacuate, or leave their homes, and get to a safer area. Many schools in the region were closed on Monday and will remain closed on Tuesday. Public transportation, like buses and subways, has been halted in major cities, including Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Flights throughout the region have been canceled, and cruise ships have been asked to dock north or south of the region until the hurricane passes.
People have been asked to stay off roads and avoid being outside if possible because of the dangerous winds. Many have prepared by making sure they have flashlights and batteries in case they lose power, and enough food and water until the storm passes in a few days.
“This is going to be a big and powerful storm, and all across the Eastern Seaboard, I think everybody is taking the appropriate preparations,” President Barack Obama told reporters on Monday afternoon. He urged Americans to take safety precautions very seriously and to follow the instructions of state and local officials.
More than 10 million people could be without electricity if strong winds and flooding affect power lines. Officials say restoring power could take up to a week after the storm leaves the region.
Life along the East Coast has ground to a halt, with schools, businesses, and government offices closed. Halloween celebrations are on hold, and even campaign events ahead of next Tuesday’s presidential election have been canceled. Government officials have asked everyone to stay safe inside until Sandy passes and officials have had a chance to assess the damage.