Sandy Saga, Part 3

By Johna Till Johnson and Vladimir Brezina

<— Part 2

Monday 10/29/12, 11: 30 PM:

From the National Weather Service earlier this evening:

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED WINDS UP TO 110 MPH BETWEEN 1500 AND 3000 FEET. SOME OF THESE VERY STRONG…DAMAGING
WINDS WILL OCCASIONALLY REACH THE SURFACE…PRODUCING GUSTS OF
70-90 MPH ACROSS THE NEW YORK CITY METROPOLITAN AREA…

GUSTS OF THIS MAGNITUDE WILL DOWN NUMEROUS TREES…INCLUDING LARGE
ONES. HIGH RISE BUILDINGS ARE ALSO SUSCEPTIBLE TO DAMAGE WITH
THESE GUSTS. PERSONS ARE URGED TO REMAIN SHELTERED IN A STURDY
BUILDING DUE TO THE THREAT OF FALLING TREES…LARGE LIMBS AND
FLYING DEBRIS.

They weren’t kidding about the winds. Thank heavens we’re not at 1,500 feet, but we are in a HIGH RISE BUILDING! Even on the 17th floor—a couple of hundred feet off the ground—the gusts are fierce and very loud. The window frames appear to be flexing, which is disconcerting. Occasionally the whole building rattles, all 30 floors of it. When an unexpected gust slams into it, we are tempted to take refuge in the bedroom and pull the sheets over our heads.

Instead, we take heart and, while we still have power, are roasting a chicken with red cabbage…

The headlines being updated every few minutes in The New York Times tell the catastrophic story elsewhere in the city:

  • More Than 9,000 Flights Canceled So Far
  • Crane Collapses on West 57th Street
  • Power Losses Cascading as Storm Descends
  • More Area Bridges Are Closing
  • Building Facade Collapses in Chelsea, N.Y.C.
  • Con Ed Shuts Off Power to Lower Manhattan
  • Cars Floating on Wall Street
  • Record Water Level at Battery, With Higher To Come
  • Lady Liberty Goes Dark
  • First N.Y.C. Fatality
  • Subway Bridge to Rockaways Underwater
  • 250,000 Without Power in Manhattan
  • New York’s 911 System Overloaded
  • Flooding in Tunnels and Subways
  • Dangerous Water Levels at Nuclear Plant
  • Explosion and Flooding Knock Out Power

Lower Manhattan, October 29, 2012 (photo by Hurricane Sandy)

Floodwaters rush into a subterranean parking garage in the financial district, October 29, 2012 (photo by Rationalist)

Much of Manhattan is now without power (photo by Rationalist)

Another catalog of the bad news is here:

Hurricane Sandy sent floodwater gushing into New York’s five boroughs, submerging cars, tunnels and the subway system and plunging skyscrapers and neighborhoods into darkness.

The storm shaped up to be among the worst in city history, rivaling the blizzards of 1888 and 1947. Two deaths were reported in Queens and more than 670,000 were without power in the region as of 11:30 p.m., according to Consolidated Edison Inc. The company cut electricity to some areas to save its equipment and a transformer exploded at a plant on 14th Street, blacking out others. New York University evacuated its Langone Medical Center when it went dark and backup systems failed.

After the storm’s tide crested about 8 p.m., the East River topped its seawall in the Financial District and flowed up Wall Street in a torrent that turned avenues into canals and intersections into lakes. Flooding took over Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, submerging cars to the roof, while the Gowanus Canal overflowed and tree limbs plummeted. A downed power line sparked a fire in the beachfront Queens neighborhood of the Rockaways and the sea topped Coney Island’s boardwalk.

A flood gauge at Battery Park, at the southernmost end of Manhattan, registered at 13.88 feet as of 9:24 p.m., beating the modern record of 10.02 feet in September 1960 during Hurricane Donna, the National Weather Service said.

The runways became waterways at New York’s three airports, which make up the nation’s busiest air-travel market…

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was investigating water entering a subway tunnel in Lower Manhattan, said [a] spokesman for the largest U.S. transit agency, which stopped its 24-hour system for weather for only the second time in its 108-year history. There’s no way to tell when the system run again, he said.

Manhattan came the closest to becoming a true island since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, after officials blocked the majority of 11 major crossings into the borough…

Not good at all.

Part 4 —>

81 responses to “Sandy Saga, Part 3

  1. Pingback: Sandy Saga, Part 2 | Wind Against Current

  2. That sounds scary. Hope the worst is over.

    Like

  3. Take care and stay safe, Vladimir.

    Like

  4. Intense! Keep safe.

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  5. I keep reading that they are about to evacuate Bellevue but I can’t find a source I really trust. What are you hearing?

    Like

  6. Stay safe!

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  7. I hope, the most of the hurricane sandy is over N.Y. and you have silent in the next days.

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  8. Please be careful and stay safe.

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  9. How awful…..
    My thoughts are with you all over there, take care and stay safe. Hope the worst is over now…..

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  10. Wow, I’ve been thinking of you both all through the news reports, glad to hear you are safe. Can’t imagine what the recovery will be like for the city. Thank you for the “feet on the street” reports – truly amazing!

    Like

  11. Keep safe and I hope things turn around soon.

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  12. Unprecedented and a lot of frightening footage emerging – hope you are both OK.

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  13. Got a friend who left Oz today in the hope that they’ll be able to get from LA to NYC in time to run the marathon on Sunday – but I’m not sure it will even take place, now. The damage to the city seems extensive.

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  14. Thank you for the update. This is worse than I ever imagined it could be. Everyone on the West Coast is following the story, and sending good thoughts and wishes to the folk back there. Stay warm and dry and safe.

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  15. stay safe! my prayers.

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  16. OMG! I do hope that you are alle safe and well. Takk good care.
    Thinking about you,

    Dina

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  17. Vladimir,
    Those pictures are unbelievable! Hope you got through it all ok!
    Where I live in Massachusetts (a bit inland) we had some loud wind and rain, but didn’t lose power…we were VERY lucky. Hope today brings relieve for NY.

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  18. As if New York doesn’t have enough to deal with on a daily basis… Stay safe in your perch and keep us updated.

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  19. Glad you are safe. And have good food. :)

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  20. I won’t like this post, Vlad… just wishing you to stay safe.

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  21. Glad to hear from you. This is a monster storm, stay safe!

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  22. Good luck Vladimir. Hope the worst is behind you.

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  23. Be warn of the anger of god!!!!….. or maybe it’s just a natural event. Good luck.

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  24. We hope you two are OK …

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  25. Pingback: Giving thanks and seeking hope « The (Urban-Wildlife) Interface

  26. Thank-you for the first-hand account…intense… Stay safe.

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  27. I’ve been glued to the news. I hope the worst is over, and now come the mopping up operations. It was certainly very scary for those involved.

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  28. Roast chicken with red cabbage, while the other one stays glued to the internet, trying to find out the latest – everyone so isolated in a dark locked down city. Great post you two :)

    Like

    • Actually, it wasn’t quite like that. A number of people have commented on how the internet, no matter how alienating it may be at other times, made them feel more connected at a time like this, and I think we experienced that too. In addition, we both work online much of the time, and so Monday we were working at home most of the day—in between reading the scary reports coming in, admittedly. But in retrospect, it turned out to be quite an ordinary day—since the power and the internet stayed on—except of course for the hurricane winds rattling the building. The chicken and cabbage helped too ;-)

      Like

  29. Your post adds some personality to the footage we are getting over here…take care.

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  30. The photos look surreal. Take care!

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  31. I can’t even imagine how terrible a hurricane can be. I hope it’s over now. I wish you to get back to normality as quick as possible.

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  32. Pingback: Sandy Saga, Part 4 | Wind Against Current

  33. Frightening. So glad you’re all right, and worried for the parts of our city – and well beyond – that are suffering. Tonight the sound of traffic outside my apartment sounds closer to normal. But I’m afraid recovery will be a more drawn-out affair than we realize. Hoping the power returns sooner than currently expected across the Sandy’s path.

    Like

    • Johna Till Johnson

      Yes! I’ve been tracking the return to normalcy by the sounds. During the storm, all we could hear was wind and rain. Then afterwards, the eerie silence… punctuated by the wails of sirens. Yesterday was still scarily quiet.

      I can’t recall when the first honking horns sounded, but now the ordinary sounds of traffic have resumed.

      One thing that’s disturbing is that there was a huge run of sirens down 2nd Avenue an hour or two ago. We don’t yet know what it was.

      But for now, all we can hear is traffic, and the squeals and yells of trick-or-treaters (amazing how their voices carry!)

      Like

  34. Oh.My.Goodness… I can’t even imagine going through any of this… And I can’t imagine living on the 17th floor! YEOWZA! I absolutely would have ran for cover (to my room and pulled the blankets over my head!!!), and taken a few Xanax too! Glad you guys are safe!

    Like

  35. Every time I get stuck traveling to Las Vegas, luck would have it that I always get put on the 54th+ floor (and I’m terrified of heights)… it makes me queasy thinking about being on anything above the 2nd floor with gusts of wind strong enough to “flex” or “vibrate” the windows!!! :-O I seriously don’t know how you guys made it through the night w/o a myocardial infarction! You ‘East Coasters’ are tough people in my book!

    Like

    • It’s not even so much the windows vibrating, it’s the whole building swaying, which you can most definitely feel when you are high enough. Of course, we all know that they are designed to do that, but still… ;-)

      Like

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