Enlarge Photo Reuters/REUTERS – New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (C) rings the opening bell with Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel (L) and Chief Executive Officer of NYSE Euronext Duncan Niederauer, at …moreRELATED CONTENTPlay Video Video: Superstorm Sandy Rocks Entertainment Industry0:00 | 0 viewsPlay Video Video: Will Superstorm Sandy’s Aftermath Cancel Halloween?0:00 | 0 views
NEW YORK (AP) — Two major airports reopened and the floor ofthe New York Stock Exchange came back to life Wednesday, while across the river in New Jersey, National Guardsmen rushed to rescue flood victims and fires still raged two days after Superstorm Sandy.For the first time since the storm battered the Northeast, killing at least 61 people and inflicting billions of dollars in damage, brilliant sunshine washed over the nation’s largest city — a striking sight after days of gray skies, rain and wind.
At the stock exchange, running on generator power, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a thumbs-up and rang the opening bell to whoops from traders on the floor. Trading resumed after the first two-day weather shutdown since the Blizzard of 1888.
New York’s subway system was still down, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo said parts of it will begin running again on Thursday. He said some commuter rail service between the city and its suburbs would resume on Wednesday afternoon.Kennedy and Newark Liberty airports began handling flights again just after 7 a.m. New York’s LaGuardia Airport, which suffered far worse damage and still had water on its runways, remained closed.It was clear that restoring the region to its ordinarily frenetic pace could take days — and that rebuilding the hardest-hit communities and the transportation networks that link them could take considerably longer.More than 6 million homes and businesses were still without power, mostly in New York and New Jersey. Electricity was out as far west as Wisconsin and as far south as the Carolinas.The scale of the challenge could be seen across the Hudson River in New Jersey, where National Guard trucks rolled into heavily flooded Hoboken to deliver ready-to-eat meals and other supplies and to evacuate people from their condo high-rises, brownstones and other homes.The mayor of the city of 50,000 issued an appeal for people to bring boats to City Hall to help with the evacuation.And new problems arose when firefighters were unable to reach blazes rekindled by natural gas leaks in the heavily hit shore town of Mantoloking. More than a dozen homes were destroyed.New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie issued an order postponing Halloween trick-or-treating until Monday, saying floodwaters, downed electrical wires, power outages and fallen trees made it too dangerous for children to go out.
President Barack Obama planned to visit Atlantic City, N.J., which was directly in the storm’s path Monday night and saw part of its historic boardwalk washed away.
Outages in the state’s two largest cities, Newark and Jersey City, left traffic signals dark, resulting in fender-benders at intersections where police were not directing traffic. At one Jersey City supermarket, there were long lines to get bread and use an electrical outlet to charge cellphones.
Amid the despair, talk of recovery was already beginning.
Photos: Superstorm Sandy wreaks havoc
Obama gets first-hand look at storm devastation By JULIE PACE | Associated Press – 27 mins agoEnlarge PhotoAssociated Press/Pablo Martinez Monsivais – President Barack Obama is greeted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon his arrival at Atlantic City International Airport, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in Atlantic …more
Cars are blurred as they pass by a building in Manhattan’s darkened Flatiron district after Hurricane Sandy. (Mario …
In a prescient New York Times article in September, scientists warned that New York City could become paralyzed for a month or more if a storm—or rising sea levels caused by climate change—caused significant flooding.
This passage, flagged by Reuters’ Felix Salmon, stands out in particular:
Consolidated Edison, the utility that supplies electricity to most of the city, estimates that adaptations like installing submersible switches and moving high-voltage transformers above ground level would cost at least $250 million. Lacking the means, it is making gradual adjustments, with about $24 million spent in flood zones since 2007.Scientists have been saying for years that the city is at risk due to rising sea levels.Currently, 250,000 ConEd customers in lower Manhattan are without power, and city officials say it could take several more days for it to be restored. The utility company’s transformers at a facility on 14th Street exploded during the storm surge Monday night, raising the question of whether this $250 million investment would have prevented that from happening.At a news conference on Monday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg questioned the feasibility of another suggestion from scientists and experts in that article: that the city build gates to shut off subway tubes when water rises. Currently, the city’s subway system is expected to be down for at least the week.”I don’t know how practical it is to put gates on PATH tubes and subway tunnels,” Bloomberg said.New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters Tuesday that the city needs to rebuild with what he called new, more severe weather patterns in mind. „It is something we’re going to have to start thinking about. … The construction of this city did not anticipate these kinds of situations. We are only a few feet above sea level,” Cuomo said.
Over six million remain without power in U.S. Northeast
(Reuters) – About 6.2 million homes and businesses in 16 states remained without power on Wednesday as utilities scrambled to restore service disrupted by Hurricane Sandy, federal data showed.The power companies had restored electricity to some 2 million customers in the U.S. Northeast, although the pace of recovery in New York appeared to lag behind other storm-hit states, the data showed.At the storm’s peak, 8.48 million customers were without power after Sandy came ashore with hurricane-force winds in New Jersey on Monday, according to a Department of Energy collection of data.Power has been restored to nearly 600,000 customers in New Jersey, out of more than 2.6 million, although more than half the state still remains in the dark, according to the data as of 10 a.m. EDT.But in New York, Sandy, which knocked out power to nearly a third of the customers in New York City and Westchester County, only about 165,000 customers of the total 2.1 million in the state have seen power restored, according to the figures.The DOE did not provide any further comment or explanation for the figures.In New York, power company Consolidated Edison Inc said about 786,000 homes and businesses in New York City and Westchester County were still without power due to the storm’s devastation.Con Edison said its crews had restored service to about 109,000 customers by 11:00 a.m. EDT Wednesday.That is less than the estimated 140,000 customers the company said it restored on Tuesday. Officials at Con Edison were not immediately available to explain the difference.Con Edison said those customers still out include: about 237,000 customers in Manhattan, 115,000 in Staten Island, 109,000 in Queens, 108,000 in Brooklyn, 40,000 in the Bronx, and 176,000 in Westchester County.Customers in Manhattan and Brooklyn, who are served by underground electric equipment, should have power back within three days.Restoration to all customers in other areas served by overhead power lines will take at least a week.Con Edison said Sandy was the largest storm-related outage in its history. The previous record was the more than 200,000 customers affected by Hurricane Irene in 2011.Irene left more than 8.38 million customers out along the U.S. East Coast from South Carolina to Maine.Tuesday night, Con Edison said it cut power to about 160,000 customers in southern Brooklyn and central Staten Island due to Sandy-related problems on high-voltage systems supplying electricity to those areas.The company also said it reduced the voltage in several neighborhoods in Brooklyn by 8 percent Tuesday night as workers fixed problems there.On Wednesday, the company said Sandy knocked down more than 100,000 electric wires. Some roads were blocked by trees or flooding, slowing those working to restore power in areas served by overhead wires like Westchester.For areas served by underground wires like Manhattan, Con Edison said workers must clean and dry equipment of seawater before it can be safely placed back in service.Con Edison said it has secured assistance from 1,400 external contractors and mutual aid workers from utilities as far west as California to help with the restoration efforts.(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by James Dalgleish, Jim Marshall and Leslie Gevirtz)
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Hess Corp. said on Wednesday that its 70,000 barrel per day refinery in Port Reading, New Jersey, remained without power after the plant was shut ahead of Hurricane Sandy on Monday.A company spokeswoman said a timeline will be determined once the company knows about power restoration. (Reporting By Janet McGurty; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)
Hurricane Sandy: Is climate change to blame? By The Week’s Editorial Staff | The Week – 6 hours agoView Photo Sandy is the second big storm to rip through the East Coast in two years, but scientists say we can’t call it a trend, nor can we blame it solely on global warming „New York isn’t known for its hurricanes,” says Will Oremus at Slate. „At least, it never has been before.” But after Hurricane Sandy collided into a cold front coming down from Canada to create a hybrid superstorm that ravaged large swaths of New York City and New Jersey — just a year after Hurricane Irene made its own unwelcome mark on the region — lots of people are wondering if the Big Apple is becoming a featured stop in hurricane alley, and why? Climate scientists aren’t very encouraging on the question for residents up the East Coast. Is global warming responsible for Sandy’s massive destruction, and is the Northeast doomed, as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) quipped, to „have a 100-year flood every two years now”?Did climate change cause Hurricane Sandy?The short answer is no, not exactly, but it was largely responsible for making it one of the most destructive storms in U.S. history. „Many variables go into creating a big storm,” and hurricanes are no exception, but it has become very clear that „climate change amps up other basic factors that contribute to big storms” like Sandy, says Mark Fischetti at Scientific American. SEE MORE: Could Hurricane Sandy actually help the economy?How did warming make the storm worse?First, climate change is making the oceans warmer — September saw the second-highest average global sea temperatures on record — and „warm oceans are jet fuel for hurricanes,” says Chris Mooney at Britain’s The Guardian. Second, „there’s no doubt that global warming has raised the sea level,” which means that Sandy and every future hurricane „surfs atop a higher ocean and can penetrate further inland.” And finally, „scientists agree that global warming has added more moisture to the atmosphere,” which means more rain and more flooding when hurricanes hit. „I have no equivocation in saying that all heavy rainfall events, including [Sandy], have an element of climate change in them, and the level of that contribution will increase in the future,” says meteorologist Greg Holland at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.What are the caveats?At a basic level, „hurricane formation is not completely understood” by scientists, says Albert Sabaté at ABC News. Also, it’s not at all clear that one of Sandy’s distinctive features, its monstrous size, is attributable to climate change,” says Mooney at The Guardian. Nor is it clear how much global warming contributes to hybrid storms like Sandy — they happen around the world with some frequency, but „nobody has bothered to compile a comprehensive climatology of hybrid storms,”says MIT hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel. „Caveats notwithstanding,” says Mooney, „when people worry about climate change in relation to Sandy — and wonder why their presidential candidates aren’t bringing the matter up — it’s hard to say they’re misguided in doing so.”SEE MORE: WATCH: New York’s massive Con Edison explosion during Hurricane SandyIf Sandy is a product of climate change, what can we do?”We can — and should — hope for global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” to slow or stop global warming, says Matthew Yglesias at Slate. But it’s „extraordinarily unlikely” that change will come fast enough to keep densely populated areas like New York safe. At this point, „the best place to look for guidance is probably the city’s former colonial overlords in the Netherlands,” experts in keeping the waters at bay with dikes and dams. „The idea of essentially damning up New York Harbor sounds extreme,” but if the state put an open sluice across key parts of the harbor, like the Verazano Narrows, „they would defend Lower Manhattan, the badly flooded Red Hook part of Brooklyn, Long Island City, LaGuardia Airport, and a big swath of New Jersey.”Is New York doomed to big yearly hurricanes?Probably not, but climate change models can’t really predict that, says Slate‘s Oremus. „Every hurricane is a fluke, to some degree,” Columbia Univesisty atmospheric scientist Adam Sobel tellsSlate. Every one is formed and controlled by local weather conditions and other factors — the full moon made tides higher and increased Sandy’s flooding, for example — and so no two are ever the same. Plus, „hurricanes are still rare events,” and „to see trends, you need to have enough of them to compute averages in a way that isn’t going to change with the next storm.” But with ocean levels risings and waters warming, the next hurricane to hit the Big Apple is likely to be a doozy, too.SEE MORE: Hurricane Sandy: What New York needs to do to get back on trackSources: ABC News, The Guardian, Scientific American, Slate (2)
Crippled NYC subways could hamper storm recovery By DAVID B. CARUSO | Associated Press – 15 hrs ago New York subway left flooded by Hurricane SandyReuters Videos 0:55 | 0 viewsNew York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) releases video showing the extensive damage and …RELATED CONTENTPlay VideoVideo: After Sandy, New Yorkers adapt to changed city1:00 | 0 viewsPlay VideoVideo: Raw: After Sandy, New Yorkers head back to work1:25 | 0 viewsEnlarge PhotoA man uses his mobile phone to …
NEW YORK (AP) — The floodwaters that poured into New York’s deepest subway tunnels may pose the biggest obstacle to the city’s recovery from the worst natural disaster in the transit system’s 108-year history.Critical electrical equipment could be ruined. Track beds could be covered with debris. Corrosive salt water could have destroyed essential switches, lights, turnstiles and the power-conducting third rail.Several of the tunnels that carry cars and subway trains beneath New York City’s East River remained flooded Tuesday. The head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it was too early to tell how long it would take to pump them dry and make repairs.There has always been flooding in the tunnels, which collect storm water constantly, even in the lightest of rains. But authorities said there has never been anything like the damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy. The South Ferry subway station, at Manhattan’s southern tip, had water up to its ceiling.The high water meant inspectors weren’t immediately able to assess how badly the water had damaged key equipment, raising the possibility that the nation’s largest city could be forced to endure an extended shutdown of the system that shuttles more than 5 million riders to work and home every day.Mayor Michael Bloomberg guessed it could take four days for train service to resume. And even then it was unclear how much of the nation’s largest public transit system would be operational.”If there are parts of the subway system we can get up, we will get them up,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said. But he suggested that, for a time, the system would be a patchwork, with buses filling in many of the gaps. Buses resumed operations Tuesday evening. Fares were being waived through Wednesday.Experts suggested that the cost of repairs could be staggering.A report released last year by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority estimated that a flood roughly comparable to the one that hit the city Monday night would do $10 billion in damage to the transportation infrastructure and cause another $40 billion in economic losses due to the paralyzing effects of a crippled transit system.Klaus Jacob, an environmental disaster expert at Columbia University who oversaw the portion of the report dealing with transit disruptions, said the study estimated that it would take four weeks to get the subway system back to 90 percent of normal capacity.”I’m not saying that this is definitely what is going to happen here,” he cautioned.But he said the transit authority’s challenges are severe.”In the tunnels under the East River, all the signal-and-control systems are underwater. And it is salt water,” he said. „It’s not just that it doesn’t work right now. It all has to be cleaned, dried, reassembled and tested. And we are not sure what the long-term corrosion effect might be.”At the time of the study, he said, the MTA also had only a fraction of the large pumps it would need to get major floodwaters out of train and vehicle tunnels quickly.The study looked at the kind of flood that the Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates would only strike the city every 100 years.This week’s storm, he said, illustrates the pressing need for better defenses against the higher water levels that will come with a warmer planet.”I think we have come to the end of studies. What we need now is action,” he said.Some authorities were contemplating the same ideas.”We have to start thinking about how we redesign the system so this doesn’t happen again,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. „I don’t think anyone can sit back anymore and say, ‘I’m shocked at this weather pattern.’ There is no weather pattern that can shock me anymore.”Seven subway tunnels and two vehicular tunnels took on massive amounts of water during the night as the rivers that surround Manhattan rose to record levels. Nearly 4,000 feet of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel remained heavily flooded Tuesday morning. Water also poured into the Queens-Midtown Tunnel across the East River. Floodwaters also inundated parts of the PATH system that brings commuters from New Jersey to the World Trade Center site and midtown Manhattan.
Photos: Superstorm Sandy wreaks havocNextPrevPhoto By Metropolitan Transportation Authority51 mins agoThis Oct. 30, 2012, photo provided by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) shows a flooded escalator in the South Ferry station of the No. 1 subway line, in lower Manhattan, after … more The river tunnels that allow Amtrak trains to connect with New York City also filled with an „unprecedented” amount of water, railroad officials said in a statement.Amtrak planned to offer modified service between Newark, N.J., and points to the south on Wednesday, but officials could offer no timetable for restoring trains into Manhattan. No trains were running between Boston and New York.The Holland Tunnel, one of only three ways to get across the Hudson River to New Jersey from Manhattan by car, remained closed as well, with no date for reopening.The subway system has built-in pumps that typically remove 13 million gallons of water from the tubes across the city. Special pump trains were being deployed to handle the extra load.The MTA cut power to tracks before the flood, hoping to minimize damage, but until the tunnels and stations are dry, inspectors won’t know if the precautions worked.”We’ll find out. But right now, we just don’t know,” said Charles Seaton, an MTA spokesman.Water in the two vehicle tunnels receded slightly as the tide fell Tuesday morning, but the massive pumps that will eventually empty the tubes were unable to immediately make headway because the places where they normally send water — the river and sewer system — remained so high, the outflow pipes in the pumping system were still submerged.”Our pumps are working. It’s just that the water has no place to go,” MTA spokeswoman Judy Glave said. „We pump it out and it just comes back in.”Pasquale DiFulco, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, offered no estimate on how long it might be before the PATH commuter rail lines reopen.”We’re still trying to assess what happened,” he said.Most of the city’s bridges did well during the storm and reopened Tuesday when the wind died down. One of the two bridges leading out to the ravaged Rockaway barrier islands remained closed because of flood damage in the surrounding neighborhoods. A train causeway to the Rockaways also remained closed because of flooding.There were other problems in the transportation system. Some rail yards and bus garages took on water. Sludge and debris covered some tracks. Trees blocked bus routes. Workers will need to walk hundreds of miles of track on foot to search for damage. At least 40 Long Island Rail Road power stations lost electricity, and the overhead power lines that allow Metro-North trains to operate were damaged in several areas.One diesel-powered patrol train inspecting the Metro-North’s Hudson line, which runs north along the Hudson River, found a 40-foot boat blocking the tracks in Ossining, N.Y., officials said.