By Johna Till Johnson and Vladimir Brezina
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
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
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.