Hurricane Sandy is Taking Aim at the East Coast

From the Live Weather Cam, this image looks like a scene from the film, Day After Tomorrow. It’s surreal and I would suggest that people heed the warnings to evacuate.

6th Avenue in New York looks stark and desolate. Service for the buses and subways have been suspended. Businesses and schools are closed. People please, don’t think you’re invincible, use common sense and seek safety. Remember, you aren’t just putting your life in danger but also that of the First Responders, family and friends who may try to rescue you if necessary.

NYC Braces for Wall of Water from Superstorm

City faces a seawater surge that could reach 11 feet


Updated Monday, Oct. 29, 11:33 a.m.

A woman takes a picture as water washes over the sea wall near high tide at Battery Park in New York on Monday. (AP) 

NEW YORK (AP) – Waves splashed over the sea walls at the southern tip of Manhattan, already at Hurricane Irene levels Monday hours before the worst of a mammoth storm was to hit the nation’s largest city with a wall of water that could reach 11 feet.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed two key tunnels to downtown Manhattan after the city shut its mass transit system, stock exchanges, schools and Broadway and ordered hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes ahead of Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge. While light rain fell steadily and New Yorkers still bustled on the streets, Cuomo warned residents to get out of the way.

“Don’t be fooled, don’t look out the window and say, it doesn’t look so bad,” Cuomo said. “The worst is still coming.”

Cuomo said emergency boats were being moved downstate and the Brooklyn Battery and Holland Tunnels, both prone to flooding, would close at 2 p.m. The floor of the New York Stock Exchange was deserted in its first unplanned shutdown since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. More than 20,000 customers, mostly in Long Island, has lost power in the area by Monday morning, utility officials. Most of the city’s 3,600 outages were in Brooklyn, officials said.

PHOTOS ON SKYE: Waters Rise as Superstorm Threatens Coast
On Monday, crowds gathered along the South Street Seaport, until police shooed them away. In Battery Park City, a complex of high-rise offices and apartment buildings erected on a landfill in lower Manhattan, holdouts watched as the Hudson rose and began to breach sections of scenic walkways along the river.

Many people were still out jogging, walking their dogs and even taking infants out in strollers amid gusts of wind.

Mark Vial pushed a stroller holding his 2-year-old daughter Maziyar toward the door of a building where they live on 15th floor.

“We’re high up enough, so I’m not worried about flooding,” he said. “There’s plenty of food. We’ll be ok.”

Vial, 35, said his building had several holdouts. “The laundry room was packed last night,” he said.

Some New Yorkers packed grocery stores for water and food and scrambled to get out of flood zones, while others insisted they weren’t going anywhere.

Others heeded warnings. Clutching a white pillow in her left hand and two computers in another, Alyssa Marks rushed to get to the subway before it stopped running Sunday evening. She’d gotten cash but had no time to get toiletries and water.

RELATED ON SKYE: Mapping the Megastorm – Track it Live

“I’m nervous, but I’m also excited,” she said as she left her apartment in a lower Manhattan evacuation zone for a friend’s place on higher ground.

Warnings about the superstorm – a predicted combination of Sandy, a wintry system moving in from the West and cold air streaming down from the Arctic – took on a much more ominous tone Sunday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s environmental protection chief, Louis Uccellini, called the projected storm surge “the worst-case scenario” for New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey.

It threatened to swamp parts of lower Manhattan, flood subway tunnels and knock out the underground network of power, phone and high-speed Internet lines that are the lifeblood of America’s financial capital.

The major American stock exchanges closed for the day, the first unplanned shutdown since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. The floor of the NYSE, typically bustling with traders on a Monday morning, fell within the city’s mandatory evacuation zone. The United Nations canceled all meetings at its New York headquarters. New York called off school for the city’s 1.1 million students.

RELATED ON SKYE: Tips on Preparing for the Megastorm

The NYSE’s parent company said late Sunday that the shutdown might be extended through Tuesday “pending confirmation,” according to exchange operator NYSE Euronext.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Sunday announced a mandatory evacuation affecting 375,000 people in low-lying areas from the beaches of Queens to Battery Park City. Subways and buses were shut down Sunday night, leaving more than 5 million mostly carless daily riders on their own to get to higher ground.

Cuomo deployed National Guard troops to the city and Long Island. Consolidated Edison weighed the possibility of shutting down power in parts of lower Manhattan to protect equipment. Broadway shows were canceled for Sunday and Monday. One small hospital was being evacuated, while several others were moving patients to higher floors.

It marked the second time in 14 months that New York City has faced a scenario forecasters have long feared: a big hurricane hitting the city or a bit south, such that the cyclone’s counterclockwise winds drive water into miles of densely populated shoreline.

Hurricane Irene ultimately came ashore as a tropical storm in Coney Island, with a 4-foot storm surge that washed over parts of the southern tip of Manhattan but didn’t wreak the havoc that officials had feared, although it caused tremendous damage elsewhere. Some experts have said that a surge 3 feet higher could have caused huge damage.

PHOTOS ON SKYE: Waters Rise as Superstorm Threatens Coast

Examiner Local Editorial – D.C.: No more foot-dragging on IG’s recommendations

This is an interesting article on what can happen when the elderly are exploited and abused in a system that’s suppose to be there to protect them. One of my dearest friends is battling a court appointed conservator for access to her mother’s finances. It is a sad commentary when the courts can come into a person’s life, with only lies and deception as their license to hijack, and plunge good people into Hell with dishonest conservators and questionable judges.

If you think that it can’t happen to you, then think again. Get your elderly relative’s legal documents in order, outlining specifically who is in charge and what they want done. Meaning, draw up the power of attorney for healthcare, financial and disposition of remains with the name of the person(s) who has the right to control the individual in question….in life and in death. Never allow yourself to get ensnared in an unjust and corrupt system because you will be fighting the good fight for years and ultimately, even if you prevail and the ruling is in your favor, you’ve lost. Think about it.

No more foot-dragging on IG’s recommendations

Having an internal watchdog to audit city agencies does not result in significant improvements in performance and operations if those same agencies fail to make the recommended changes. But as The Washington Examiner’s Alan Blinder reported last week, that’s exactly what happened in D.C., where 11 of 21 agencies failed to implement at least one of the recommendations made by Inspector General Charles Willoughby’s team of auditors.

District law confers the responsibility of overseeing the IG’s recommendations on the Office of Risk Management. But Willoughby’s latest report notes that since fiscal 2005, the ORM has not tracked the implementation of at least 44 of his recommendations to make sure they were implemented. The same old excuses were cited as reasons agency heads apparently felt free to blow off auditors on issues that included the recovery of overpayments to city contractors: not enough money or staff, legal restrictions, etc.

Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. Council members should no longer allow agency heads to get away with such excuses. If they can’t or won’t fix the problems identified by the D.C. Office of the Inspector General in a timely fashion, they should be replaced.

Particularly damning was the IG’s determination that D.C. Adult Protective Services repeatedly failed to report criminal incidents of abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly and vulnerable adults to the police. Willoughby warned that “unabated” problems in the troubled agency left the door open for known or suspected criminals to prey on elderly and disabled citizens without fear of prosecution, which his team substantiated at the average rate of 10 cases per month.

APS claimed that it lacks a “formal system to communicate with police” — which other adult protective services in other cities manage to do on a regular basis. Doesn’t anybody over there know how to dial 911?

Protecting this vulnerable population is supposed to be APS’ main job, so this is a mission-critical failing. D.C. Council Member Jim Graham called the IG’s report “amazing and upsetting,” but District citizens have told The Examiner that they were repeatedly ignored when they asked APS and various council members to help elderly relatives who were being exploited.

APS has finally agreed to create a partnership with the Metropolitan Police Department. But like the other foot-dragging agencies named in the report, it cannot be trusted to follow through without direct supervision by ORM — which should also be required to report to the council on a monthly basis.