Sandy Makes Landfall In New Jersey With Punishing Winds, Driving Rain
Sandy made landfall along the New Jersey coast, earlier this evening. The storm has already wreaked havoc across the Mid-Atlantic and northeast and its expected to affect millions more Americans as it moves northwest, dumping rain and kicking up winds of up to 80 mph.
We'll update this post with the latest news about the storm, which forecasters warn is historic in size and intensity.
Update at 5 a.m. ET Tuesday. Dozens Of Homes Destroyed In Fire
Dozens of homes have been destroyed in a massive fire in the New York City borough of Queens. The New York Times reports:
"A huge fire in the Breezy Point section of the Rockaways spread further during the early morning hours of Tuesday, destroying more than 50 homes and drawing nearly 200 firefighters attempting to quell the blaze.
"The Fire Department upgraded the fire to a six-alarm around 3:30 a.m. and said it had not yet been contained."
Update at 11:39 p.m. ET. NYU Hospital Evacuations:
As we told you earlier, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that NYU Hospital had lost power and their backup generator had failed.
Fox New York was in front of NYU Langone Medical Center and they reported a fleet of ambulances were lined up in front of the medical center awaiting to transport patients from Langone to other facilities.
The video shows the ambulances parked in front of a large, completely darkened building.
According to CNBC, Langone is in the process of transferring "approximately 215 patients to nearby facilities."
NPR's Margot Adler told our Newscast unit that other medical facilities across the city were reporting problems as well.
Update at 11:11 p.m. ET. Sandy Now Near Philadelphia:
The center of Sandy is now near Philadelphia, the National Hurricane Center reports in its latest advisory.
The storm has also weakened slightly with sustained winds of 75 mph and higher gusts. That said, the same warnings stand: The storm has a large wind field and it will cause damage through a massive storm surge, rainfall in the mountains of West Virginia with one to two feet of snow.
Update at 11:02 p.m. ET. 10 Dead:
The Associated Press reports that at least 10 people are dead because of Sandy. The AP reports:
"Ten deaths were reported in New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Some of the victims were killed by falling trees. At least one death was blamed on the storm in Canada."
The storm had already killed 69 people in the Caribbean.
Update at 10:35 p.m. ET. The Story So Far:
Here are the highlights of the story so far:
— The storm, which has spread rain and high winds from North Carolina up into New England and west into Pennsylvania and upstate New York, continues to head northwest. The National Hurricane Center says the storm is now a post-tropical cyclone but it is still packing 75 mph winds.
-- New York City and Atlantic City appear to be among the cities most affected. In New York, five deaths have been blamed on Sandy. Both cities are facing widespread flooding and major disruptions to the power grid.
-- The Associated Press reports that 10 deaths have been blamed on the storm.
— Gusts of about 88 mph have already been recorded in southern New Jersey, and even stronger — hurricane force — winds will be lashing New York City, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C., from tonight into Tuesday.
— The AP estimates that already more than 1.5 million are without power across the northeast. That number will surely rise. CNN, for example, estimates that number is already up to 2.2 million. The Weather Channel puts that number at 3.1 million.
— Forecasters also warning about huge surges of water along coastal areas, including in New York City. Some parts of Lower Manhattan are already flooded and the electric company has cut off power to a large part of it.
The New York Times reports that 70 to 80 percent of Atlantic City, N.J. was under water. The chief of emergency services told the paper the city was "under siege."
— President Obama and other officials have urged anyone in the path of Sandy to listen to local authorities and heed all warnings and orders. The president and his Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, have both asked all Americans to donate what they can to the American Red Cross, which is collecting to help those in harms' way. More than 60 million people live in areas where Sandy is expected to have an impact.
— The storm is already a deadly one. The AP reports Sandy has been blamed for at least 69 deaths when it rumbled through the Caribbean.
-- Travel will continue to be a headache. Some 8,000 flights have been cancelled and public transportation has been shut down from Washington to Boston.
Update at 10:30 p.m. ET. Five Dead:
NPR's Margot Adler tells our Newscast unit that New York State of Homeland Security and Emergency Services says five people are dead because of Sandy.
Update at 10:20 p.m. ET. Image Of A Flooded Subway Station:
Perhaps one of the most dramatic images we've seen out of this storm is one coming from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
It shows water gushing into the PATH station in Hoboken, N.J.
Update at 10:04 p.m. ET. 'The Storm... Met Our Expectations':
"We knew this was going to be a very dangerous storm. And now the storm is meeting our expectations," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during a brief televised statement.
Bloomberg said the storm surge had exceeded what was forecast. But he said at around midnight the tide should begin receding.
Bloomberg did not give any details but he said NYU Hospital's backup power failed.
Update at 9:54 p.m. ET. Mayor Bloomberg Will Give Update:
Any minute now, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will give a short briefing on the situation in Manhattan. We'll update this post with his remarks.
Update at 8:32 p.m. ET. The Situation In Manhattan:
The situation in Manhattan is looking very serious. The New York Times reports that one death has been reported when a tree fell on a man's house in Queens.
Flooding is now widespread in Lower Manhattan. The Times adds:
"As the evening high tide was drawing closer, there were reports of flooding in several low-lying areas around the five boroughs, places that had not in recent memory experienced flooding. In Lower Manhattan, water crossed South Street, and cars could be seen floating on Wall Street on television screens at the ConEd headquarters. In Brooklyn, water had piled back onto Van Brundt Street — which flooded during the morning high tide — well in advance of the evening high water mark. At 7:25 p.m., Ninth Street in Gowanus was a nearly uncrossable river of water."
Perhaps the most symbolic event of how serious things are: The light atop Lady Liberty flickered off at around 7 p.m. ET. the Times reports.
Earlier today, Consolidated Edison cut power to a part of Lower Manhattan. A few minutes ago, the power company tweeted that it was also shutting down service in Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn.
"Sea water from Hurricane #Sandy's storm surge threatened to flood the underground electrical delivery system," the company said, explaining the shutoff.
Update at 8:12 p.m. ET. Atlantic City:
Post-tropical cyclone Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, the National Hurricane Center says, citing data from aircraft and surface radar.
In its latest advisory, it says that New York and New Jersey are being pounded. It reports:
"NATIONAL OCEAN SERVICE TIDE GAUGES HAVE RECENTLY REPORTED STORM SURGE HEIGHTS OF 11.9 FEET AT KINGS POINT NEW YORK...8.4 FEET AT THE BATTERY NEW YORK...AND 8.6 FEET AT SANDY HOOK NEW JERSEY.
"WITHIN THE PAST HOUR OR SO...A SUSTAINED WIND OF 49 MPH WITH A GUST TO 73 MPH WAS REPORTED AT JFK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN NEW YORK. A WIND GUST TO 71 MPH WAS RECENTLY OBSERVED AT FARMINGDALE NEW YORK."
Update at 7:42 p.m. ET. Lower Manhattan Is Now Dark:
New York City's power company Consolidated Edison Inc. has shut down power to a large part of Lower Manhattan.
The New York Times says it is an unprecedented step done to "try to prevent damage to equipment stored underground so that power could be restored more quickly after the storm."
Alex Goldmark, of NPR member station WNYC, just tweeted a picture of the darkened skyline.
Update at 7:23 p.m. ET. Another Record:
Another record has fallen today, according to the Weather Channel. It reports:
Update at 7:18 p.m. ET. Scene In New Jersey:
NPR's Jeff Brady is in the southern New Jersey town of Vineland. He tells our Newscast unit that the rain and wind have been relentless. And officials have been disappointed that some people chose not to evacuate.
Now, Jeff says, they will only make an attempt at a rescue if the rescued doesn't put emergency personelle in danger.
Update at 7:10 p.m. ET. A Post-Tropical Cyclone:
Sandy is no longer a hurricane. It is a "post-tropical cyclone." Note this doesn't mean that Sandy has lost any steam, it means that it has lost its tropical characteristics," the National Hurricane Center says in its latest advisory.
Update at 6:53 p.m. ET. Atlantic City:
The Wall Street Journal reports that in Atlantic City, officials are trying to rescue about 490 people. Of the city's 40,000 residents, only about 3,000 did not evacuate.
The paper reports:
"This is a hurricane. This is what happens,"" Tom Foley, the city's director of emergency management told the paper. "The people who chose to stay here did not heed the warnings of emergency management and National Weather Service."