Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Superstorm Sandy: live

At least 16 dead across the US east coast and Canada as superstorm Sandy, a former hurricane, causes widespread flooding and power cuts.

New York taxis are stranded on a flooded street in Queens
New York taxis are stranded on a flooded street in Queens  Photo: Xinhua /Landov / Barcroft Media
Tweet @jswinch or email jessica.winch@telegraph.co.uk if you are affected by superstorm Sandy.


14.25 (10.25) Governor Christie says it took eight days to restore full power after Hurricane Irene - it may take longer this time. He says 5,500 people are in shelters and that 29 hospitals across the state have lost power. There is "major damage" to the state's rail lines and "no county has been spared" damage from falling trees. It will take another 24 to 48 hours to fully assess the damage.
His conclusion: the damage to the Jersey Shore is "beyond anything I thought I would ever see".
14.18 (10.18) Governor Christie says there are currently 2.4 million New Jersey households without power, twice as many as Hurricane Irene. He tells residents to avoid travel unless "absolutely necessary".
14.14 (10.15) New Jersey governor Chris Christie is currently holding a press briefing, while New York's Mayor Bloomberg is also due to update the public.
<noframe>Twitter: Governor Christie - For all those who have been affected by <a href="http://search.twitter.com/search?q=Sandy" target="_blank">#Sandy</a>, we are with you as we all work to recover over the coming weeks.</noframe>
13.50 (09.50) Raf Sanchez takes a look at the political ramifications of the storm:
We are exactly one week from the election and yet so far the political truce is holding as everyone focuses on the storm. But liberal trigger fingers are itching to start sniping at Romney over his suggestion that FEMA, the federal agency that deals with natural disasters, could be sent broken up and turned into smaller state agencies or else privatised altogether.
During the Republican primaries he was asked about FEMA's budget and said: "Every time you have the occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction and if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that's even better."
Yesterday, his campaign insisted it would not scrap FEMA but repeated its emphasis on a local, rather than national, response. "Governor Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions," a spokesman said.
The New York Times fired the first shot in an editorial this morning, warning: "Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of 'big government', which is why Mitt Romney wants to eliminate it."
When the rains clear it will be interesting to see if the Obama campaign uses the same attack.
13.34 (09.34) A crane collapsed in New York yesterday during superstorm Sandy. Here is the video of the moment it happened:
13.30 (09.30) Firefighters in boats rescued more than 25 people from 50 homes in a New York neighbourhood that were destroyed by a mass blaze after superstorm Sandy, officials said Tuesday.
AFP reports that firefighters said it was "a miracle" that only two minor injuries were reported after the blaze left the Breezy Point district of Queens a smouldering tangle of wood and metal. Here is a photograph of the scene:

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
13.16 (09.16) Raf Sanchez has sent this report from a "deserted" Washington DC:
The streets of the American capital remain deserted here for a second day in a row. The federal government is still shuttered, meaning hundreds of thousands of state employees and contractors are at home and the businesses that serve them are closed. While the White House, the Department of Defence and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have been working through the night, Congress will hold only a symbolic session today.
13.13 (09.13) From New Jersey governor Chris Christie:
<noframe>Twitter: Governor Christie - The cost of this storm is incalculable at this point.</noframe>
12.47 (08.47) London Mayor Boris Johnson has praised the New York authorities for being "well-prepared" ahead of superstorm Sandy. He said:
They took it very, very seriously and I think, had they not taken it so seriously, the consequences might have been even worse.
I do think, as far as I'm able to tell, the New York authorities have prepared extremely well.
12.45 (08.45) More from Mark Hughes in New York:
Quote I've just seen an underground car park where seven cars are just piled on top of each other. It looks like the garage flooded and the cars piled up as they were swept out. It's the most destructive thing I've seen yet. Just prior to that I saw a couple of shops on Wall St had been smashed and all the goods were scattered across the road.
12.43 (08.43) AP is reporting the death toll along the US East Coast has risen to "at least 17".
12.35 (08.35) Meanwhile, James Orr has been talking to firefighters in Atlantic City:
Atlantic City Firefighter Joe Biscieglia, 31, was part of a rescue team of five last night during a 38-hour shift. He said: "the fire department had 400 calls for help yesterday. There were places in five to six feet of water that even we couldn't get through in an army truck. We rescued one family off a two story roof. Their ceiling had collapsed."
12.33 (08.33) While Barbara McMahon sends this update on the road in Manhattan:
Quote Driving east in Manhattan and attempting to get to Queens, I'm amazed by the number of trees that have snapped like broken twigs. A giant plane tree has smahed onto cars on 90th street, a quiet street full of brownstones. Other trees down near Natural History Museum. Power still out in huge swathe of lower Manhattan. Midtown Tunnel shut. Trying to get over Williamaburg Bridge. Emergency vehicles everywhere. Traffic lights out. People are venturing out and seem stunned by scale of the damage.
12.30 (08.30) This report has been called in from Mark Hughes in New York:
Quote I'm down at the tip of lower Manhattan at what's known as the Brooklyn–Battery Tunnel. The tunnel has a clearing of 12ft 7in and the entire thing is underwater. Last night huge trucks were parked at either end of the tunnel to stop cars driving through - both trucks are completely underwater. I spoke to the guy who parked the trucks last night, he couldn't believe it now and he said the water had moved a truck overnight.
There's chaos down here, there's debris everywhere, everything's broken. The weather is better - there is a light breeze and drizzle. But it's just a mess.
It was very difficult to get a taxi this morning, there are no cars on the street. The streets are also covered in oil and the streets are very slippery. I think the oil from cars in flooded underground car parks is seeping out - it doesn't smell very nice.
Here is a picture of the tunnel:

12.07 (08.07) 'I knew this would come in handy one day'... a jet skier navigates floodwaters in New Jersey.
12.04 (08.04) John Constantine makes his way out of his house in Andover, Massachusetts, after being hit by superstorm Sandy.

12.01 (08.01) Almost 6,000 flights to/from/within the US have been cancelled today, according to flight tracking service FlightAware.com.
11.36 (07.36) A New York update from Richard Blackden:
Lower Manhattan has woken up to find it's without power. It looks like anywhere below about 28th Street is without power. Apart from the odd vehicle, police cars are the only traffic on Broadway. There are a few trees down, but otherwise the damage - at least at first glance - does not look as bad as feared.
The most serious problem confronting lower Manhattan is the lack of power.

11.20 (07.20) The Goldman Sachs building still had its lights blazing in New York last night... car in front not doing as well.

(via @storyful and @emilybell)
11.07 (07.07) An update from our man in New Jersey, James Orr:
It's dark and wet as I head into Atlantic City. The road in is littered with debris and the rain is still coming down. Large flooded areas make driving difficult. Everywhere is black and deserted.
... The wind is still driving in Atlantic City. Gusts are strong enough to knock you off your feet. The area is empty as it gets light and I've just seen a section of the boardwalk which is complete demolished. On the coast the waves are still raging. I'm a surfer but there's no way I'd paddle out in that.
11.00 (07.00) Here are some of the front pages that the US is waking up to this morning:

10.49 (06.49) Hundreds of people are being evacuated after a levee broke in northern New Jersey. Bergen County executive chief of staff Jeanne Baratta has said the entire town of Moonachie is under water and as many as 1,000 people could need to be evacuated, according to AP.
10.47 (06.47) Read a first hand account of the situation in New York from Australian freelance journalist Mathew Murphy. Here are a few paragraphs:
Quote My bathtub is filled with water and my cupboard is stocked with all the cans I could take as people elbowed their way through the non-perishable section of my local supermarket yesterday.
My makeshift bed for the night consists of my couch cushions lined up in the hallway of my apartment, the only area in my 700-square-foot studio that isn't exposed to windows.
10.28 (06.28) A video showing the snowfall in West Virginia and Tennessee:
10.22 (06.22) A sobering thought from ABC anchor Chris Cuomo:
<noframe>Twitter: Chris Cuomo - New York has a wounded feel to it that reminds of our darkest day...but sandy's damage can and will be fixed. We have suffered much worse</noframe>
10.18 (06.18) A levee broke in northern New Jersey on Tuesday, flooding the towns of Moonachie, Little Ferry and Carlstadt with 4 to 5 feet of water in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, officials told Reuters.
"We are in rescue mode," said Jeanne Baratta, chief of the Bergen County Executive. There were no reports of fatalities as of yet, she said.
Baratta said the three towns had been "devastated" by the flood of water.
10.05 (06.05) Some incredible mobile footage of trees coming down on a suburban street in New York from YouTube:
09.55 (05.55) Some sage advice from the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts:
<noframe>Twitter: RedCrossEasternMA - Power out? Driving for coffee? Turn around when you see puddles -- you don't know how deep they are. Take another route</noframe>
09.47 (05.47) Dramatic footage from across the US east coast captures the damage and chaos inflicted by superstorm Sandy:
09.43 (05.43) Barack Obama has declared a 'major disaster' in New York state after the storm, according to AFP reports.
09.30 (05.30) A NASA image of the US East Coast, taken at midnight on October 29.

09.25 (05.25) Sky News is reporting at least 16 people have died in the US and Canda durng superstorm Sandy.
09.15 (05.15) 84 flights between London and the US East Coast have been cancelled today from Heathrow, according to an airport spokesman.
09.10 (05.10) Here is the latest update from the National Hurricane Center on post-tropical cyclone Sandy, which is moving westward across southern Pennsylvania with winds of 65mph and is expected to move into Canada on Wednesday:
LOCATION...40.5N 77.0W
09.05 (05.05) Reuters reporting that 6.8 million people are currently without power following the arrival of superstorm Sandy.
08.34 (04.34) A still from the scene at the huge fire in the Breezy Point area of Queens, New York, from a video by NBC News:

08.27 (04.27) The Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Bettes puts the snow into perspective:
<noframe>Twitter: Mike Bettes - Snowing in Dayton, Columbus, & Cincinnati! Avg date of first measurable snow is late November! Last snow on Halloween was 1993 Superstorm.</noframe>
08.20 (04.20) 200 firefighters are on the ground in the Breezy Point area of Queens in New York, fighting a blaze that has destroyed at least 50 houses. There have been reports of trapped civilians but at the moment, two people are reported to have suffered minor injuries.
08.05 (04.05) New York's mayor Michael Bloomberg has held a press conference, telling the city's residents to stay in their homes. Here is the video:
08.00 (04.00) As Sandy made its way toward land, it converged with a cold-weather system to bring not only rain and high wind, but snow too. This picture is from Beckley, West Virginia, as Hurricane Sandy wheeled toward land.

07.55 (03.55) Rising water, caused by Hurricane Sandy, rushes into a subterranian parking garage in the Financial District of New York (GETTY)

07.40 (03.40) This is a stunning wind map of the US from Hint.fm - visit their website to see the animated version.

07.32 (03.32) Superstorm Sandy will close stock markets for a second day on Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. NYSE Euronext and Nasdaq, the largest two US exchange operators, said they intend to reopen Wednesday, conditions permitting. The bond markets will also close on Tuesday, with traders aiming to reopen on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
07.20 (03.20) Off North Carolina, the US Coast Guard has rescued 14 of the 16 crew members who abandoned the replica ship HMS Bounty, using helicopters to lift them from life rafts. The Coast Guard later recovered the body of Claudene Christian, 42, while continuing to search for the 63-year-old captain of the ship, Robin Walbridge. The ship sank in 18-foot (5.5 meters) seas.

07.13 (03.13) Read a round up of events so far by Nick Allen, Mark Hughes and James Orr. Here is a selection of key points:
Sandy made landfall in New Jersey at 8pm local time (midnight GMT), leaving Atlantic City underwater, and hurling a record-breaking 13-foot wall of seawater at New York City.
A spectacular explosion occurred at a power sub-station in Manhattan and 250,000 people there were plunged into darkness.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it was a "once in a long time storm," and that the public was making 10,000 emergency 911 calls every 30 minutes.
Sandy was expected to cause up to $20 billion in damage, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in US history.
07.03 (03.03) Power and back-up generators have failed at New York University hospital, with patients being taken elsewhere for care.
AP report that dozens of ambulances were lined up around the block outside New York University Tisch Hospital as doctors and nurses began the slow process of evacuation.
06.54 (02.54) Surging seawater forced ashore by superstorm Sandy flooded seven New York subway tunnels and six bus garages in the worst disaster in the history of the city's transport system, the network's chief said.
"The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night," said Joseph Lhota, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
"Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region. It has brought down trees, ripped out power and inundated tunnels, rail yards and bus depots," he said.
"All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal."
06.40 (02.40) A still taken from a surveillance camera capturing footage of water engulfing an underground station in Hoboken, N.J.

06.35 (02.35) In New Jersey, Exelon Corp has declared an alert around its Oyster Creek nuclear power plant due to rising waters, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said. Officials said if waters rise further, they may be forced to use emergency water supplies from a fire hose to cool spent uranium fuel rods.
The alert - the second lowest of four NRC action levels - came after water levels at the plant rose by more than 6.5 feet (2 meters), potentially affecting the pumps that circulate water through the plant, an NRC spokesman said.
06.25 (02.25) Here is a picture of the New York skyline - Reuters report 588,000 people in the city are without power:

06.20 (02.20) At least 13 people have been killed in the US and millions are without power this morning following the landfall of Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey.
It has been downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm but has cause widespread flooding and more than 5.7 million people are without power across the US East Coast.
06.15 (02.15) Good morning and welcome to our live coverage after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coastline overnight and sent a record-breaking 13ft surge of seawater at New York City.

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