The biggest storm to ever hit the northeast United States is creating a tremendous amount of havoc up and down the eastern seaboard. It is hard to describe how gigantic this storm actually is. From end to end, Hurricane Sandy is more than 1000 miles across. It is twice the size of the state of Texas, and meteorologists are calling this storm a "worst case scenario". It is currently coming ashore in New Jersey, but this is just the beginning. A winter storm approaching from the west is going to combine with Hurricane Sandy, and the combined storm is projected to hammer the northeast with wind and rain all the way through the end of the week. Meteorologists all over the nation are saying that they have never seen anything like this. Hurricane Sandy is the biggest storm in modern U.S. history, and earlier today the storm pressure was recorded to be even lower than the Long Island Express Hurricane of 1938. In fact, Hurricane Sandy has the lowest pressure ever recorded for any storm north of the state of North Carolina. On Monday evening it was packing maximum sustained winds of about 90 miles per hour, and hurricane-force winds could be felt as far out as 175 miles from the center of the storm. To say that this storm is a major disaster is a tremendous understatement.
On Monday night, it is projected that wind speeds in New York City could reach 80 miles per hour. But that is only part of the story. The higher you go, the more intense the winds will be. For example, if you live 30 stories above New York, a gust of wind at 80 miles per hour on the ground will be close to 100 miles per hour for you.
New York City has never seen anything quite like this. Anything that is not completely secured is in danger of being picked up by the wind and hurled down the streets. The damage that will be caused by flying projectiles alone is likely to be immense.
On Monday afternoon it was being reported that a giant crane working on the top of a new skyscraper known as One57 had broken because of the wind and was in danger of totally collapsing. One57 is going to have some of the most beautiful apartments in New York City. In fact, the penthouse recently sold for $90 million. But this just shows us that despite our great advances we are more vulnerable to nature than we might like to think.
But of course wind is not the only problem that New York City will be facing. Hurricane Sandy is pushing a massive wall of water in front of it. It is being estimated that water levels could reach up to 11 feet above normal along Long Island Sound and in New York Harbor. A lot of areas that have never been under water before will experience tremendous flooding as a result of this storm.
Overall, it is being projected that 60 million Americans will be affected by this storm. So far, about 14,000 flights have been cancelled and more flight cancellations are anticipated.
More than 2 million homes and businesses have already lost power, and by the end of this disaster it is estimated that up to 10 million people could lose power. Once people do lose power, they might not get it back for a week or more.
Essentially, the entire northeast will be shut down for most of this week. This is going to be a storm that nobody will forget any time soon. It is going to take many months to clean up the mess that this storm will create.
But if you don't live near the coast don't think that you will be able to escape the worst of this storm. The center of the storm is projected to stall somewhere over Pennsylvania, and some areas to the west are going to get tremendous amounts of snow.
For example, it is being forecast that some areas in the mountains of West Virginia could see up to 3 feet of snow before this is all over.
This is an extremely unusual storm. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy says that this is "the most catastrophic event" that his state has had to deal with...
"This is the most catastrophic event that we have faced and been able to plan for in any of our lifetimes."
Stu Ostro, the senior director of weather communications at The Weather Channel, says that this is "the big one" that meteorologists dream of...
"When I was a young boy growing up in the Northeast (New Jersey) and obsessed with the weather, I used to wonder what it’d be like when the big one comes. Well, we’re about to find out."
The storm is just now starting to come ashore, and it has already done a tremendous amount of damage all along he east coast. For example, earlier today an 80 foot section of the Atlantic City boardwalk was spotted floating free down the streets of Atlantic City.
In New York City, large sections of Battery Park, Brooklyn and Wall Street are already underwater. There are some that even believe that parts of LaGuardia airport could be underwater before this is all over.
The New York Stock Exchange will be closed once again on Tuesday, and many are hoping that it will be able to reopen on Wednesday. But at this point that looks like it will be quite a challenge.
The power of this storm is being felt over a vast area of the country. Just check out what meteorologists are saying conditions will shortly be like along the Great Lakes...
A gale warning has been issued for Lake Huron from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, with waves expected to reach a maximum of 17 to 24 feet. The National Weather Service in Chicago on Sunday issued a gale warning for Lake Michigan, predicting waves as high as 33 feet by Tuesday. Vessels were advised to seek safe harbor.
33 foot high waves on Lake Michigan?
That is crazy.
And obviously the economic impact of this storm is going to be absolutely massive. Some are projecting that this storm will cost the U.S. economy 10 billion dollars a day. Others believe that it will be even worse. As I noted yesterday, one meteorologist believes that this gigantic storm could potentially cause a total of 100 billion dollars in damage to the U.S. economy.
If you live in an area that is in the path of this storm, please do your best to stay safe and stay dry. This is definitely not a storm to be taken lightly.
So what are you seeing in your area? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts on the storm below...