Daily Archives: October 31, 2012

Sandy Saga, Part 4

By Vladimir Brezina and Johna Till Johnson

<— Part 3

Even rats drowned

Sandy’s gone.  She’s now somewhere to the northwest of us, passing into Canada, still producing wind, rain, and snow. If last year’s storms Irene and Lee are any guide, the heavy rain and flash flooding will be devastating, particularly in hilly areas.

But here in New York City, Sandy is over. Her consequences, however, are another matter. First, the good news: Not all that much rain fell in the city (though exact statistics are hard to come by at present with many of the relevant internet sites down). The extreme wind—when we had to cower in the bedroom—only lasted from about 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday as Sandy came ashore, a little to the south of us, near Atlantic City, NJ. Then the winds diminished steadily through the night. Yesterday there were still some sharp gusts, but this morning there is little wind, the clouds are breaking up, and it’s becoming sunny. The rain and wind were over much sooner than anticipated.

Cars float in a flooded below-street-level parking area in New York’s Financial District on Tuesday (photo by Getty Images)

The bad news, of course, is that the storm surge followed the worst predictions. Coinciding unfortunately with the time of high tide, “water levels in Battery Park on the tip of Lower Manhattan rose to 13.88 feet at 9:24 p.m Monday, smashing the record high of 10.02 feet set in 1960 during Hurricane Donna,” the National Weather Service reported. As we’d feared, last year’s Irene was just a mild preview.

As a result, New York City is crippled.

Dark Manhattan (photo by the New York Times)

Power outage in Manhattan on Monday (photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

Since many of the seawalls around the city are just a few feet high, the storm surge flooded many low-lying areas—notably Lower Manhattan. The water knocked out electrical power and flooded tunnels and the subway, many parts of which remain flooded. Especially as the salt water has probably ruined a lot of equipment, recovery will take days if not weeks.

Lower Manhattan will probably remain without power at least through the weekend. Cell phone service is spotty. Many subway lines are out indefinitely, though on a positive note, some lines—including our lifeline, the number 6—are to resume service along sections of track that were not flooded tomorrow. Buses are running, but slowly and erratically, since many streets are gridlocked with traffic.

The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is flooded with about 12 feet of water Tuesday after a tidal surge caused by Hurricane Sandy (photo by Getty Images)

This evening’s Halloween Parade has been canceled. The New York Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, is still on, although skeptics fear that the difficulties of transporting so many people through the city will prove insuperable.

But it could have been much worse—and in many places outside the city, especially in coastal New Jersey where Sandy came ashore, it was.

Continue reading