October 30, 2012
Sandy "Plunges New York City Into Darkness"
Hurricane Sandy turned sharp left as (ultimately) predicted, and crossed the eastern coast of the United States last night rather earlier than anticipated earlier in the day. Advisory bulletins on "Post-tropical Cyclone Sandy" are now being issued by the HPC instead of the NHC. Their first one says that:
POST TROPICAL CYCLONE SANDY MOVING WESTWARD ACROSS SOUTHERN PENNSYLVANIA. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS 65 MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE 960 MB.
GALE-FORCE WINDS WILL CONTINUE EARLY TODAY OVER PORTIONS OF THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES FROM VIRGINIA NORTHWARD THROUGH NEW ENGLAND. EVEN THOUGH WATER LEVELS ALONG THE COAST HAVE BEEN SUBSIDING THE COMBINATION OF STORM SURGE AND THE TIDE COULD STILL CAUSE NORMALLY DRY AREAS NEAR THE COAST TO BE FLOODED BY RISING WATERS, ESPECIALLY DURING THE NEXT HIGH TIDE CYCLE.
The NHC were predicting large storm surges yesterday evening, and they duly arrived. According to the BBC:
Sandy has swept into the US East Coast with hurricane-force winds, bringing flooding, cutting power and claiming at least 13 lives.
Sandy caused a record surge of seawater in New York City, flooding subway and road tunnels and plunging much of Lower Manhattan into darkness.
Here's a video from Associated Press showing "a transformer exploding in Lower Manhattan", amongst a number of other scenes revealing the damage Sandy has caused to the infrastructure of New York City:
More than 650,000 customers in New York City and Westchester County lost electrical power due to Hurricane Sandy. This is the largest storm-related outage in our history. The previous record was more than 200,000 customers affected by Hurricane Irene in 2011.
Challenges include, for example, more than 200 wires down on Staten Island. In Westchester County, more than 180 roads are closed. Restoring electrical service to underground equipment demands cleaning all components of sea water, drying and testing to make it safe to restore power.
Here's what ConEd's power outage map for New York looks like at the moment:
I hope you're not superstitious, since it's currently showing 666,000 "customers" without any electricity. Just next door in New Jersey the Public Service Electric and Gas Company issued a press release at midnight saying they were:
Reporting more than 1 million customers are without power due to the extreme wind and excessive flooding created by the storm surge, which affected a large number of substations in Essex, Hudson and Middlesex counties. PSE&G has taken these stations out of service until the water recedes, the equipment can be cleaned and dried, and the stations can be safely re-energized.
PSE&G will be ready to respond to outages as soon as the strong winds subside and it is safe to work in bucket trucks and other equipment. Flooding and downed trees also can make it hard for crews to get to damage locations. We work closely with towns and counties to clear roads so that we can respond.
PSE&G urges customers to prepare for the possibility of lengthy outages – perhaps seven days or more — due to the enormity of Hurricane Sandy.
A quick "straw poll" of the power outage maps of the larger electricity suppliers in the path of Sandy reveal that in total at least 6 million "customers" are without electric power at the moment. We'll keep you posted on how that number changes over the coming days and weeks.
Do you recall that last year Hurricane Irene also left many millions without power in the same area, albeit slightly earlier in the year? The next obvious question to ask is:
Do these things come in threes?
Filed under Disasters by