Hurricane Sandy wrecked the New York City area and New Jersey. Millions are without power, subway systems are crippled, and flooding is extensive.
Below are extensive updates on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Bookmark and refresh this page for the latest news. We're reporting on flooding, power outages, damage, election 2012, and closures.
And be sure to stay safe out there.
Wednesday, 3:50 pm: Subway Updates: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday afternoon released an update of mass transit conditions, including details of the subway service restorations to begin on Thursday. Officials have said that for the gaps in service along typical subway routes, buses will often be added to make the necessary connections. Here is the statement from the governor’s office:
N.Y.C.T. SUBWAY SERVICE:
1 trains will operate local between 242nd Street (Bronx) and Times Square-42nd Street.
2 trains will operate between 241st Street (Bronx) and Times Square-42nd Street, with express service between 96th Street and Times Square.
3 trains are suspended.
4 trains will operate in two sections making all local stops:
• Between Woodlawn (Bronx) and Grand Central-42nd Street
• Between Borough Hall and New Lots Avenue
5 trains will operate express in Brooklyn between Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center and Flatbush Avenue.
6 trains will operate local between Pelham Bay Park and Grand Central-42nd Street.
7 trains are suspended.
42nd Street Shuttle S trains will operate between Times Square and Grand Central.
A trains will operate in two sections making all local stops:
• Between 168th Street (Manhattan) and 34th Street-Penn Station
• Between Jay Street/MetroTech and Lefferts Blvd.
B and C service is suspended.
D trains operate in two sections:
• Between 205th Street (Bronx) and 34th Street-Herald Square making all local stops
• In Brooklyn, between Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center and Bay Parkway making express stops between Pacific Street and 36th Street
E trains are suspended.
F trains operate in two sections making all local stops:
• Between 179th Street (Queens) and 34th Street-Herald Square
• In Brooklyn, between Jay Street-MetroTech and Avenue X
G trains are suspended.
J trains operate between Jamaica Center and Hewes Street making all local stops.
L trains operate between Broadway Junction and rockaway Parkway making all local stops.
M trains operate between Myrtle Avenue-Broadway and Metropolitan Avenue.
N trains operate between Ditmars Blvd. (Queens) and 34th Street-Herald Square making all local stops.
Q trains are suspended.
R trains operate in Brooklyn between Jay Street-MetroTech and 95th Street making all local stops.
Both the Franklin Avenue and Rockaway Park S shuttles are suspended.
All shuttle buses will operate north on 3rd Avenue and south on Lexington Avenue.
1. Between Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center and 57th Street-Lexington Avenue via the Manhattan Bridge
2. Between Jay Street-MetroTech and 57th Street-Lexington Avenue via the Manhattan Bridge
3. Between Hewes Street and 57th Street-Lexington Avenue via the Williamsburg Bridge
LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD:
City Terminal – (Jamaica – Penn Station): Suspended (anticipate shuttle between these stations later tonight)
Ronkonkoma Branch: Suspended (goal to restore hourly service from Ronkonkoma to Penn Station for AM rush hour Thursday, Nov. 1)
Port Washington Branch: Suspended (goal to restore hourly service from Great Neck to Penn Station for AM rush hour Thursday, Nov. 1)
Babylon Branch: Suspended
Port Jefferson Branch: Suspended
Montauk Branch: Suspended
Hempstead Branch: Suspended
Long Beach: Suspended
Far Rockaway: Suspended
Oyster Bay Branch: Suspended
West Hempstead: Suspended
Hudson Line: Suspended
Upper Harlem Line: Suspended
Lower Harlem Line: Restored with hourly service
New Haven Line: Suspended
New Canaan Branch: Suspended
Danbury Branch: Suspended
Waterbury Branch: Suspended
Pascack Valley: Suspended
Port Jervis: Suspended
Bridges and Tunnels
Robert F. Kennedy Bridge: Open
Henry Hudson Bridge: Open
Throgs Neck Bridge: Open
Bronx-Whitestone Bridge: Open
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge: Open
Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge: Open
Cross Bay Veterans Memorial: Open northbound to Broad Chanel; Open southbound to Rockaways but subject to period closures for emergency equipment
Hugh L. Carey Tunnel: Closed
Queens Midtown Tunnel: Closed
Wednesday, 2:30 pm: The waters are receding and the sun is shining after Sandy, but downtown Manhattan remains a post-zombie-apocalypse scene with the lights out as people roam the streets seeking power and internet like Revolution extras.
Let’s take a quick look at what the what is going on.
Mayor Bloomberg said that subways could be closed for the next three or four days. The city will not reopen the trains until it is safe to do so, and the first step in the long process of repairs is to assess the damage.
New York Governor Cuomo, at a noon press conference, said that there will likely be very limited subway service on Thursday.
Here's a quick short list of what the things look like as of noon on Wednesday:
- OPEN: MTA (Bus) Local, Limited-Stop and Express Bus service will operate as close to a normal weekday schedule as possible, no fares
- OPEN: Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Tappan Zee Bridge, Marine Parkway Bridge
- OPEN: NYS Bridge Authority Bridges
- CLOSED: All Subway Lines, LIRR, Metro-North (likely very limited operation on Thursday)
- CLOSED: New York State Canal System is Closed to Navigation
New York’s Mass Transit Authority tweeted that the governor and MTA chairman went out Wednesday to survey the system from above. Now that the city and MTA have a clearer idea of what they’re dealing with, it should be easier to for them to give the realistic timelines that everyone is itching for.
Buses in New York are currently running on a regular schedule now but there will probably be significant detours because of blocked roads, crowding for obvious reasons, and delays.
New Jersey Transit also reports that they are conducting damage assessment and still have no timetable for when rail service will resume.
Per the NJ Transit homepage, currently all bus service is suspended except for limited service in Camden County.
Power is still out for many residents of the tri-state area after the largest hit to the grid in history.
Con Edison spokesperson Chris Olert said the goal is for the company to restore power to Manhattan within 4 days, and 10 days for those in the outer boroughs.
Unfortunately, things aren’t looking good for at least two boroughs. On Tuesday the company explained that, “Problems on high voltage systems supplying power to southern Brooklyn and central portions of Staten Island required the company to cut electrical power.” Approximately 160,000 people will be without power in these areas.
ConEd also posted a statement Wednesday morning with Halloween safety tips. They warned trick or treaters to avoid the more than 5,000 live wires that Sandy downed, and to be careful crossing streets since many traffic lights are still dead. Flashlights and safety vests are encouraged in areas without streetlights. Basically, please don't die for candy.
For information on whether or not there is power in a particular neighborhood, refer to ConEd’sservice area map and enter the area code.
Wednesday, 9:26 am: New Yorkers go back to work (minus subways) ... gridlock ensues.
Wednesday, 9:15 am: Officials try to turn the power back on.
Wednesday, 6 am: How will Hurricane Sandy impact the elections? PM Editor Chris Miles reports:
We’re a week out of the election and the presidential race has suddenly become the back-page story to one of the worst natural disasters the country has had to deal with in recent memory.
With just seven days to go in one of the tightest presidential races in American history, the Sandy even has become one of the biggest chapters in election 2012. With the eleventh hour in this contest fast approach, Sandy may be a short chapter, but it may also be the most crucial.
With both President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney statistically tied in the polls, each candidate is looking for any sort of edge that will propel them to victory over the next week.
A new NPR poll shows that Romney has a 1 percentage point lead [nationally] ... The president led by 4 percentage points in the smaller sample of 466 voters in 12 vital battle ground states: Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. ... Both the Romney lead and the Obama lead were within the poll's margin of error."
The Daily Kos/SEIU State of the Nation Poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, shows Obama and Romney tied at 49. Obama's up 59-41 among those who have already voted. Romney's up 53-44 among those who plan to vote on Election Day.
Washington Post/ABC tracking: Tied at 49.
Pew Research Center: Tied at 47.
Gallup tracking: Romney up 5 (51-46). They find that 15 percent of registered voters nationwide have already voted.
CNN of Colorado: Romney up 1 (48-47).
According to these polls, then, the most basic assumption we can come to is that Romney seems to be winning the popular vote, but Obama is taking the all-important Electoral College (really the only thing that matters here).
The one thing that the polls can’t account for in any measurable way, is the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the minds of voters.
Sandy is an October surprise of epic magnitude. A mega storm that ripped apart America’s most populated region.
How both candidates react to Hurricane Sandy now becomes paramount. Romney will have to walk the most awkward and (for him in this election) hazardous path as he navigates through the political chaos of post-storm clean-up. Romney, who has been surfing a wave of momentum in October, has to find a way to keep campaigning in states that weren't affected, without looking cheap or opportunistic. Looking presidential without actually being president can be tough to do.
Romney can’t have a Paul Ryan-in-the-soup-kitchen moment here, one of the Romney campaign's most cringe-worthy moments, when the Republican VP breezed through a soup kitchen in Youngstown, Ohio, after the homeless patrons had left for the morning, put on a crispy-white apron and scrubbed a pot that appeared to the pool to already be clean. No, Romney has to do more of this:
Smile, wear jeans, act cool, don’t get in anybody’s way, make sure you’re solemn about everything.
Romney has everything to lose. Obama, on the other hand, has everything to gain.
President Obama has been doing his day job, has a natural platform and can command a national audience at any moment. For him, his reaction to Sandy doesn’t look cheap, but commanding and strong.
So far he’s looked exactly that. The president has been seen as calm and capable so far in this crisis, putting politics aside to focus on what’s best for the country.
Obama said at a visit to Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C., that he wants people affected by the storm to know "America is with you," and praised the coordination between state and local officials.
Obama said his message to government officials is "no bureaucracy. No red tape."
"Obviously this is something that is heartbreaking for the entire nation," Obama said.
One White House official who spoke to the Daily Beast describe Obama through Sandy’s Monday night landfall: "Throughout the night, the President was updated on the impacts of Sandy as it came ashore and moved inland. Overnight the President also spoke with New York Governor Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Christie, New York City Mayor Bloomberg, Jersey City Mayor Healy and Newark Mayor Booker. The President will also receive another briefing this a.m. Overnight the President also provided major disaster declarations for the states of New Jersey and New York - building on resources already available - and providing additional federal support for state and local efforts, as well as direct federal assistance to affected individuals in declared counties."
Even hardcore Romney supporter and rumored future Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said Obama is doing a good job. Christie, to George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "Good Morning America" said this a.m. that Obama "called me last night around midnight ... to ask what else could be done [and] offered any other assets that we need ... I have to say the administration, the President himself and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far. We have a great partnership with them, and I want to thank the president personally for his personal attention to this."
Tomorrow Obama will be in New Jersey surveying the storm damage with the NJ Governor.
Still, Romney could see Sandy swing to his advantage … especially if the president completely drops the ball on federal government storm relief efforts. Were Obama to muff this crisis, people would naturally come running to the former governor as a foil to the president. Still, this scenario is highly unlikely. Obama doesn’t have the same humanitarian disaster on his hands that his predecessor, George W. Bush, had with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The situation in New York is more streamlined, more controlled. The president had the fore-sight to preemptively provide New York and New Jersey with disaster relief, then immediately after the storm declared "major disasters" in New York and New Jersey, opening up a flood (no pun intended) of federal money to help the storm-ravaged area. More so, Romney doesn’t have the ability to play the you-failed-with-Sandy card so soon after the disaster. The former governor can only sit on the fence and watch as the president either succeeds … or fails … with this event.
Obama knows what’s at stake with Sandy. For him, the storm (political, not meteorological) doesn’t end for another seven days.
If he manages this disaster appropriately, it could be the October surprise that turned one of the tightest elections in U.S. history in the incumbent’s favor.
Sandy will have had the only vote that mattered in all of this.
Tuesday, 6 pm: How the Energy Grid Works and Why It Takes So Long to Get Power Back, PM Editor Marni Chan reports.
After the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, the eastern seaboard just experienced the biggest blackout since 2003 (when a large-scale power line failure in Ohio caused several states and millions of customers to lose electricity). According to a statement issued today by New York power supplier Con Edison, “Hurricane Sandy toppled trees and flooded underground equipment in the most devastating storm in company history.”
The company approximated that 780,000 customers were without power as of this morning and estimated, “that customers in Brooklyn and Manhattan served by underground electric equipment should have power back within four days. Restoration to all customers in other areas served by overhead power lines will take at least a week.”
In the face of such huge outages and long repair estimates we at PolicyMic we were curious: Just how does the power grid work? Why was power shut off to lower Manhattan even prior to the storm’s arrival, and, why is it taking so freaking long to get it back on? To find out, we chatted with Peter Wallach, an energy consultant at Boston Pacific Company and founder of FACES (the Foundation For the Advancement of Energy Studies). Here’s what we learned.
There are pre-existing problems with the grid:
In the U.S. we use the AC system (alternating current) versus the DC system. Unfortunately, like picking the Imperial over the Metric system, we chose the wrong one. A direct current can shoot power out to one spot. But, with an alternating current you need an equal and opposite transition to balance the system, otherwise they system fails. Basically, we already have an AC grid system much more vulnerable to voltage crash, because there are more points of weakness, a.k.a. more opportunities for Sandy to do damage.
Another problem with New York is that we have one of oldest grid systems in country, built in the 1920s. New York used to have multiple utility companies, but they were consolidated when the state created a privately owned monopoly in the ’20s. This has evolved to the point where ConEd is basically the single energy provider for New York City along with a few others servicing the rest of the state.
This led to the last problem — the current way energy is sold. In our system today, power plants, the actual electrical generators, are called upon to ramp up and down their power output as the grid operator (companies like ConEd) requests. Usually an hour ahead, the operator requests X much electricity in market for the next hour. Power is bought from the generators in an auction format until the price goes up for supply to equal demand (marginal price).
The energy business is based solely on how much energy the distributor needs in a given hour, and as little incremental investment as they can do to keep the lights on. With the way the market currently works, there’s no incentive to build new infrastructure, especially considering that cost recovery for building said infrastructure takes 40 years, distributed as confusing riders on your electric bill.
How the power grid actually works:
To picture the electrical system, imagine a very broad set of tubes channeling water around to various spots. In certain spots, if small parts of the tubes get damaged or fall away, the tubes can keep functioning. But, if a particular spot goes out or the number of holes reaches a critical point, the water (electrons) will stop flowing. The water falls out of the system. For the electric grid to run, it needs to maintain a certain level of voltage. If that voltage collapses below a certain point, the system breaks. Additionally, at various points, there are gates that control the flow of the energy. If any of the gates are damaged, this is also a problem.
To get to your home, electricity is first created in a generator, which is a power plant. From the generator, a transformer — the power lines — steps up or down the amount of megawatts delivered to customers. If a large transformer, such as a big voltage line, or “backbone” line is damaged by a storm it can cause widespread blackouts, like in 2003. The transformer regulates the amount of power that goes to operate local lines (like the ones birds sit on outside your apartment).
How the grid broke and why it will take so long to fix:
For above ground lines, utility crews can’t go up in crane boxes to repair them until the wind dies down. Until the wind calms down, repairs can't even start. Some of you may have also seen the viral video or heard news of the ConEd transformer that exploded in lower Manhattan. Without this transformer — one of the water gates — the company has lost its connection between the power plant and the local lines.
In its statement today ConEd also reported that flooding is also preventing swift repairs, “Restoring electrical service to underground equipment demands cleaning all components of sea water, drying and testing to make it safe to restore power.”
If turning power back on could lead to larger blackout, they’ll wait until diagnostics are done before turning it back on.
Water damage was also the reason for the preemptive shut down to the downtown area. According to Bloomberg Business News, “blackouts in Manhattan, which covered much of the city below 39th Street, were caused by flooding in substations as the storm surge brought water into Battery Park, the East Village and Chelsea. Con Edison killed power in those areas last night to limit damage from salt water reaching its equipment.”
The company is also turning on the power in stages, according to need, as you can see from this map. They’ll first focus on the most populous areas and go from there. Hospitals and nursing homes are also given priority. Power will take longer to reach the suburbs because the company will first restore the lines that serve the most people.
Mostly however, if repair personnel need to put new transformers in, and repair hundreds of lines, that will take time. Let’s remember that this is the most extensive damage to the power grid everand try to sit tight.
Tuesday, 4:30 pm: The West Village Halloween parade has been cancelled, the first time in it's 49-year history.
Tuesday, 4:15 pm: Amazing video of 14th St ConEd electric plant explosion:
Tuesday, 3:30 pm: Was Hurricane Sandy Over-Hyped? PM Pundit Katelyn Fossett reports:
When you ask whether Hurricane Sandy was over-hyped on the East Coast, the answer depends on whom you’re talking to. For those from hurricane-prone areas, the answer would probably be yes. But for most New Yorkers who have little precedent or established protocol to use as reference, it’s fair that a little extra panic drove the tone in news coverage. And of course, with 33 hurricane-related deaths already on the records in the United States, any question of whether it was over-hyped should probably be rendered null and void.
But, I was nonetheless shocked when a friend of mine, who had stayed up-to-date with all of the storm coverage, told me the storm was worse than she expected. It was bad, certainly — I heard of cars actually floating away downtown, and seven million people were without power. There was a fire in Queens that took as many as 80 homes, the subways were flooded, and life was essentially paralyzed in New York.
But I wondered what the media or state and local officials could have done differently to emphasize the seriousness of the storm, if there were people who were shocked by the magnitude of it. I saw headlines warning of “Frankenstorm” since Friday. I saw the dire warning from the National Weather Service. Connecticut Governor Dan Molloy called it “the most catastrophic event that we have faced and been able to plan for in any of our lifetimes.”
I think I found my answer, though, in another trend I noticed in the hurricane coverage. There seemed to be a lot of acknowledgement from meteorologists and state and local officials that people were expecting exaggeration. Weather Channel meteorologist Stu Ostro was perhaps the most quoted example: “History is being written as an extreme weather event continues to unfold, one which will occupy a place in the annals of weather history as one of the most extraordinary to have affected the United States. … This is an extraordinary situation, and I am not prone to hyperbole.” This quote stands as fairly representative of a lot of media coverage of the storm. He exhausted himself emphasizing the deadliness and seriousness of the storm, and then had to go even further to make sure no one was writing off his warning as typical over-blown media brouhaha.
If coverage like this did one thing, it revealed that the media is well aware of the dangers of its own fondness for sensationalist news. It is not unusual for us to express frustration at the over-the-top reporting and penchant for drama that characterizes today’s 24-hour news coverage. The Newsroom is an entire TV show premised on that frustration. But it’s more serious than that. The constant inundation of panic desensitizes us. After Hurricane Irene, New Yorkers were wary of the apocalyptic language that was of course employed to warn us of the dangers of Sandy, and it caused a lot of us to brush off the storm’s seriousness.
The media has important responsibilities with events like Sandy, and I don’t think any of the news coverage during Sandy was gratuitously extreme because, well, it needed to be extreme. But it should concern us that papers were saturated in headlines about Doomsday for a week, and most of us are still surprised at how serious it actually was. A study found that only 50% percent of people were likely to evacuate if it were recommended, but 75% would do so if it were mandatory. That a recommendation would be taken seriously only by 50% of people during an event like Sandy should demonstrate the dangers of insensitivity that come with being bombarded by the constant sensationalism of today’s news coverage.
The media’s problem in conveying the seriousness of the storm was not that they didn’t use forceful enough language or dire enough warnings from public officials. It was that they use the same panicked tones too often. It is common to express annoyance at this kind of hype and exaggeration in the media. The exhausting horse-race coverage of the 2012 election is just the latest cause of news fatigue. But Hurricane Sandy has demonstrated that this constant frenzied state is not just annoying; it’s dangerous.
Tuesday, 2:50 pm:
Tuesday, 2:30 pm: There are so many people on the streets of Manhattan with wifi devices clustered outside closed Starbucks to grab some internet. #MakesSense #FirstWorldProblems
Tuesday, 2 pm: NYC in Chaos After Hurricane Sandy Strikes – Hurricane Sandy will enter the history books as one of the most exceptional and potentially destructive storms to strike the Northeast in modern history. The storm that made landfall in New Jersey on Monday evening with 80 mph sustained winds has killed at least 17 people in seven states, cut power to more than 7.4 million homes and businesses, and caused predicted economic losses which could reach $20 billion, only half insured. Millions of people awoke on Tuesday to flooded homes, fallen trees, and widespread power outages. The storm swamped the New York City subway system and submerged Wall Street underwater.
*PolicyMic team update All of the members of PolicyMic’s team are safe, although we are experiencing severe power outages, which have forced us to shut down our Midtown office for another day. We are working around the clock remotely to bring you the latest storm updates.
Tuesday, 1:15 pm: 5,700 Flights Canceled Tuesday, Major Airports Remain Closed – More than 5,700 flights have been canceled on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cancellations caused by the storm to 15,500. That surpasses the disruptions from Hurricane Irene, which caused 14,000 flight cancellations in August 2011. The three New York airports remain closed and service is not expected to resume to and from New York before Wednesday afternoon. It could take several days, or even until next week, for passengers to be rebooked.
Tuesday, 12:25 pm: Mayor/ governor updates: New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the press 11:00 a.m. (see full video here), outlining key points for New Yorkers to deal with during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The mayor warned, “the worst of the storm has passed but conditions are still dangerous.” Getting the power grid and public transit repaired were listed as a top priority, as were lifesaving operations — putting out fires, restoring power to hospitals and nursing homes, and search and rescue efforts. Bloomberg implored New Yorkers on behalf of the safety of first responders to stay away from parks and beaches.
“I know it’s fun to challenge nature” he said, but “nature proved more powerful than we are.”
Transit and Power:
Subways and airports remain closed. The mayor estimated it would be at least “three to four days until ConEd and the subways are running,” however, he also noted that it could take up to five days before the systems are fully operational.
An executive order was issued authorizing cabs to pick up multiple passengers even if people are already in the car. Livery and black cars with TLC licenses are also authorized to pick up customers anywhere in the city. A subsequent press conference by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that bus service will begin at 5:00 p.m. and will be running on a Sunday limited schedule. No fares will be charged for buses today or tomorrow.
Mayor Cuomo announced that all bridges are now open except those in the Rockaways, but citizens are urged to stay off the road if possible.
School and Office Closings:
Schools will remain closed today as well as Wednesday. Many federal offices are still closed however HRA centers are open for anyone seeking replacement food stamp vouchers. The mayor instructed that only those who can safely travel to work should do so. Wall Street remains shut down.
Bloomberg urged citizens to use 911 only for “life threatening emergencies, not trees,” in order to not overload the system. To report downed trees or branches send a text to 311. The city is currently dealing with 4,000 tree service requests, mostly in the Queens area. The damaged crane on West 57th street is currently stable, however the street will not reopen until after winds die down and the boom can be firmly secured.
Tuesday, 12:15 pm: NJ Gov. Christie Praises Obama – On ABC’s “Good Morning America,”: President Obama "called me last night around midnight ... to ask what else could be done [and] offered any other assets that we need ... I have to say the administration, the President himself and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far. We have a great partnership with them, and I want to thank the President personally for his personal attention to this."
Tuesday, 11: 57 am: On Monday, The Weather Channel’s website had its biggest day ever, with up 200 million page views as of 7 p.m. Eastern. That shattered its previous one-day record of 140.9 million page views set during the blizzard on Feb. 1, 2011. Sandy took down a number of the most popular news sites, including Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and Gawker.
Netflix said video streaming was up 20 percent compared with last Monday. Many of the most popular titles were children’s movies, a sign that children are staying home from school. Most of the activitity came from New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.
Tuesday, 11:41 am:
Tuesday, 11:08 am: East River bridges -- BK Bridge, Manhattan, Williamsburg -- are now open.
Tuesday, 11:04 am: Mayor Bloomberg addresses the city:
Tuesday, 10:35 am: Historic power outages throughout the NYC area, as nearly 1 million people without power:
A large part of New York City is dark on Tuesday. In one quick sentence, though, New York City is more or less a sh*t show, and will likely be so for the next couple of days.
This is the biggest power outage in New York City power operator ConEdison's history.
Nearly 1 million New Yorkers are without power after Hurricane Sandy made landfall Monday night. Blackouts in Manhattan stretch from 14th Street and down, and are the most extensive in the Financial District and Lower East Side.
The Upper West Side and Upper East Side look like they have power and internet.
On a conference call at 11:40 pm, a ConEd spokesman said that "this will be the largest storm related outage in our history."
As of this morning 712,449 are without power in the New York City and surroundin areas … 1 million people in New Jersey … 925,000 are without power in Long Island … nearly half a million people in Connecticut.
ConEd has not said when power will return. ConEd cannot begin repairs until the flooding and winds subside. Worst estimates are between 3 to 4 days.
Officials in Connecticut and New Jersey say that outages can last for as long as 10 days.
New York residents can check to see blackout areas by clicking to view the Outage Map here.
In the Big Apple, subway tunnels, the waterfront, and the Financial District are flooded. The New York Stock Exchange is expected to re-open tomorrow, powered by generators.
The subway system reportedly saw “terrible” and “historic” damage.
Brooklyn has power throughout most of the borough, except in the Coney Island area, where damage is reportedly extensive.
The Bronx and Queens also reportedly have spotty power throughout those Boroughs. Laguardia Airport is reportedly flooded and closed.
Tropical storm Sandy swamped Lower Manhattan with a massive surge of seawater Monday and claimed at least one life in New York City as she terrorized some 15 million people up and down the East Coast.
At least 14 U.S. deaths were blamed on the storm, which brought the presidential campaign to a halt a week before Election Day.
An estimated 5.7 million people altogether across the East are without power. The full extent of the storm’s damage across the region was unclear, and unlikely to be known until later in the morning.
Stay safe, all. Stay safe.
Tuesday, 10:19 am: NJ Gov. Chris Christie reports massive damage to NJ's rail system and significant coastal flooding.
Tuesday, 10:18 am:
Tuesday, 9:50 am: Historic subway damage throughout New York, reports PM Editor Marni Chan: New York City is facing historic and extensive damage to it's vital public transist system, including massive flooding throughout the subway system.
Metro Transit Authority Chairman Chris Lhota released a statement on the system's site early Tuesday morning. In addition to confirming that "seven subway tunnels under the East River [were] flooded," Lhota described the damages incurred by post-tropical storm Sandy as the worst in MTA history:
"The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster asdevastating as what we experienced last night. 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."
Lhota continued to confirm power loses on Metro-North Railroad, evacuation of West Side Yards on the LIRR, flooding of the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown Tunnel, and high water cutting off access to six bus garages.
MTA Subway service will continue to be suspended throughout the day (as will New Jersey Transit) according to their latest tweets. Lhota would not comment on a timeline for reopening, and the MTA is denying rumors that bus service will resume Tuesday at noon.
Tuesday, 9:30 am: Governor Cuomo ordered the closure of Whitestone Bridge, the Throgs Neck Bridge, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the Henry Hudson Bridge, the Cross-Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Triborough Bridge.
The Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, and Queensboro Bridge were also closed to traffic.
So was the Tappan Zee Bridge, though that bridge will reportedly re-open soon.
Tuesday, 8:54 am: BTW, Sandy is now a "post-tropical storm."
Tueday, 8:50 am: The New York Stock Exchange is expected to re-open tomorrow, powered by generators.
Tuesday, 8:35 am: For people without power, the Today Show is livestreaming their coverage of Hurricane Sandy. Watch here:
Tuesday, 7:37 am: Reports on televsion are indicating that seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded last night. This is in addition to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.
Tuesday, 7:09 am: We apologize for the gap in updates but our power has been down due to the storm. Tuesday will be a day of clean up. News of damage from the storm is still coming in. 4 million people in the tri-state area are still without power. Trees are down across the area. In New Jersey, a levee has broke and hundreds in the area are being evacuated.
Tuesday, 1:10 am: Latest path being cut by now post-tropical storm Sandy:
Tuesday, 12:30 am: Hurricane Sandy has been downgraded to a "post-tropical storm" and is stalling west of Philadelphia. Even though the core of the store is in Pennsylvania, winds are stronger further from the center, peaking around Long Island and Connecticut over 80 mph. The storm will now move north through Pennsylvania and into western New York. Winds from Sandy will reach all the way to Chicago and into Canada.
Monday, 11:38 pm: The water levels continue to lower in areas around NYC, although heavy winds will persist pushing water towards the coast. One major issue, NYU Hospital in downtown Manhattan has lost its back-up generator:
Monday, 11:04 pm: Hurricane Sandy has past Philadelphia and is slowing down. The tropical storm will likely stall, before moving north. Pressure has risen to 952 mb from the low-point at 940 mb. The lower the pressure, the more powerful the storm. This was the lowest pressure ever recorded in the North East this point in the year.
Monday, 10:44 pm: Surges of up to 9ft are being reported in downtown Manhattan. Although, tides are now dropping until 3am. The wind is driving water back into New York, but the tide is dropping. We will continue to monitor the situation.
Monday, 10:41 pm: Severe flooding in downtown New York City. The East River has overflowed (images below) into Alphabet city is beginning to recede. Battery Park city, which saw several feet of flooding, is now seeing receding water. Although it is currently unknown how much water has made its way into the tunnels in downtown Manhattan. The West Side highway below 14 St has also flooded.
Monday, 10:34 pm: Photos from the storm. FDR and 34th st. tonight.
Monday, 10:28 pm: Reports that the New York subway system could be crippled for "at least a week" due to salt water flooding the track.
Monday, 10:12 pm: Multiple deaths are now confirmed in NYC. One from a tree falling. Another from electric shock. Mayor Bloomberg has instructions for New Yorkers:
Monday, 10:05 pm: Apologies for the delay. Power has gone out for all New Yorkers below 14th St (including myself and the rest of the team). We will do our best to keep you updated. In the meantime, sever flooding has hit New York City. Here are several photos:
FDR drive flooding:
14 St & Avenue C (in Alphabet city on the lower east side of Manhattan)
Monday, 8:41 pm: Sandy has made landfall and New York and New Jersey are facing the brunt of the storm from now until a little after midnight. Power outages are being reported across New York City and winds are gusting to over 80 mph. If you are in the area, now is the time to stay indoors.
Monday, 7:40 pm:
Monday, 6:41 pm: Parts of New York City start to go black:
Hurricane Sandy is bringing dangerous wind and flooding to New York City, but now New Yorkers will also have to deal with another issue: blackouts.
Parts of Manhattan are going black on Monday night, and for an unspecified length of time. Consolidated Edison Inc, the New York City power provider, warned customers in Lower Manhattan it may shut down power on Monday evening as Hurricane Sandy barrels toward the East Coast, Reuters reported.
Power is reportedly out for over 70,000 New Yorkers, with Lower Manhattan (14th Street and below) the darkest.
Blackouts could affect streets as far north as 36th Street, the company said in a release, though would likely be limited to those avenues closest to the East and Hudson rivers. The central avenues are not expected to be affected.
New York residents can check to see blackout areas by clicking to view the Outage Map here.
The firm's automated calling system had placed calls to homeowners and businesses in the affected area.
The company said in a release it provided the same message to certain customers in flood-prone areas of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.
Con Edison said 71,500 homes and businesses were already without power in New York City and Westchester County primarily due to Sandy's high winds.
The company said all streets in New York City's evacuation zone around Battery Park City on Manhattan's southern tip would be affected by the potential blackout, as well as some on the east and west of the island serviced by the same electrical networks.
The shutdown would be a precautionary measure to avoid water damage to the utility's equipment in the event of a major storm surge. Seawater can damage underground electrical equipment. Shutting the equipment down can help to limit the damage. Among the equipment that could be harmed is the city’s extensive Subway system, of which miles of underground, electric-powered train tracks exist.
The official word from the Metro Transit Authority, New York City's public transit administrator, is, “lines are closed indefinitely.” For those in New Jersey, the system shutdown is projected to continue into at least Tuesday.
[For Live Hurricane Sandy news and updates, see here]
NJ Transit would not say when buses and trains would be rolling again, but did say service would be stopped Through Tuesday. NJ Transit said up to 8,000 employees will be on deck to get limited service running as soon as possible.
Sunday at 7:00 p.m. the MTA shut down the New York City bus and subway system, as well as Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Rail Rail, and Staten Island railway in anticipation of high winds and flooding. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also suspended the full-scale NJ transit system. For those on the roads, all tunnels going between New York City and New Jersey will close at 2:00 p.m. on Monday. To find out when the systems will reopen continue to check the MTA and NJ transit sites, or call 511 (New York) or (973-275-5555) in New Jersey for updates.
Monday, 6:57 pm: Photos from the storm:
Earlier today the "A" was knocked from the USA Today building in Virginia.
Monday, 6:14 pm: The highest points of storm surge will occur between 6:30 and 10:30 pm.
Monday, 6 pm: NYC Mayor Bloomberg on the storm:
The suburban Tappan (TAP'-uhn-zee) Zee Bridge was closed at 4 p.m. because of high winds as Hurricane Sandy neared landfall.
Besides those major crossings, the following bridges also are closing: Bronx-Whitestone, Henry Hudson, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial, and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial.
Monday, 5 pm: Power out for 20,000 New Yorkers, Lower Manhattan gets shut-down robocalls from Con Ed. See here for the latest on power outages.
Monday, 4:27 pm:
Monday, 3:10 pm: New York City: Hurricane Sandy proves that it's time to improve your infrastructure ... PM Pundit Jerome Nathaniel reports:
Last August, Tropical Storm Irene barreled through the east coast and left over 1 million people without power (over 300,000 in the tri-state area alone), caused 50 deaths nationwide, and cost the nation over $15 billion — and that was over $1 billion in New York State when you take into account the amount of money that the MTA lost from shutting down its services. The effects were most devastating for New York state’s dairy farmers who suffered tremendously due to inundated feeds for their cattle and flooded routes that impeded dairy deliveries. But even with nearly 200 upstate family farms left under water, a quick glance at any native New Yorker’s Facebook newsfeed or New York City pub promotion ringed of a single motif: “Storms aren’t that serious here because New York is storm proof!”
But arrogance is an awfully expensive vice (or virtue). As Sandy continues her 800 mile voyage across the east coast and whistles at the speed of 75 miles per hour, it is time for New York to shed itself of its sense of natural disaster impalpably — which is the same mentality of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2011 blizzard blunder — and begin to get serious about truly creating astorm proof city that is technically structured the same way as the overly confident New Yorker boasts.
Following Tropical Storm Irene, I wrote a story that called for three basic undertakings to improve the City’s infrastructure and ensure that we shield ourselves from hurricanes, tropical storms and flooding: (1) improvements to our archaic plumbing system, (2) increased construction of soft infrastructure such as wetland edges and grass swales, and (3) pushing buildings to seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification via green roof construction. Now that I am more acclimated with New York’s agriculture system, allow me to add (4) support for community farming initiatives as a much needed effort throughout the state.
The first suggestion is one that has been underway since the conception of New York’s civilization. New York’s outdated plumbing system — one that includes pipes that are over centuries old and have lead to busted water mains and emergency evacuations — needs an extreme makeover: celebrity edition. If our pipelines and sewer plumbing system is not up to snuff, then we will continue to emit 27 billion gallons of combined sewage overflows (CSO) into our waters. In case you don’t think CSOs are a pressing issue, just bear in mind that CSOs include the flowing of human and animal waste, over 40 identifiable disease causing pathogens, and storm runoff that passed through toxic metals and led into New York’s harbor.
Grass swale construction is another effective, yet admittedly less feasible, approach to making New York flood proof. Grass swales involve the use of vegetation and erosion resistant marshy lands in flood prone areas as a means to impede storm waters and filter pollutants. Building grass swales is cheap and easy; finding space in our crowded city and bottleneck traffic is another story.
While it may not be as practical in backed up highways like the Belt Parkway and the Gowanus Expressway, it is certainly wise to emphasize their construction along dairy delivery routes in the outer counties such as Westchester. In the meantime, areas of the city that is too crowded for grass swales should focus their energy on emphasizing green roofs as an effective way for City buildings to rack up the LEED points for certification. With the ability to soak in and filter 70% to 90% of the precipitation that falls on them during the summer and 25% to 40% during the winter depending on the vegetation that is used, green roofs are an ideal solution for New York City.
Another overdue push for New York State, particularly New York City, is stronger support for community supported agriculture (CSA) and local farming initiatives. Following Irene, Governor Andrew Cuomo committed over $1 million to matching up to 50 percent of the damage costs that New York farmers suffered under the hands of Irene. The US Department of Agriculture and, on a smaller scale, the Federal Emergency Management Agency also helps in providing emergency crop insurance for farmers. However, all of these measures are reactionary. A lot more can be done to preempt the inflation and devastation that America’s most forgotten, yet pivotal, industry undergoes with the turn of every tide and gusts of the wind. If the City would make it easier for local farmers to find land and funding for CSAs and local farming initiatives, then City grocers would not have to be hit hard every time an upstate and outer county delivery route closes down for flooding.
Unfortunately, the hustle and bustle of New York shuts us off from one another — so much so to the extent that a disaster isn’t an issue until it happens under our very own apartment roof. Most New Yorkers do not recognize how every storm can and will affect them, from the food in their fridge to the gas in their pumps. New Yorkers seem to have a hard time comprehending how a state that uses over 23 percent of its land for farming, receives roughly 80 percent of its local produce from upstate farms, and is among the top two dairy producers in the country can suffer during a natural disaster and directly affect their grocery bills; or how a plumbing system that religiously pumps gallons of CSO that have flown through city structure and old pipes into the Hudson will add an extra scoop of mercury and bacteria to their favorite seafood dish. Go figure.
Monday, 3 pm: This: