9. 50 pm: Hurricane Sandy hits Air India, Jet flights to US
Jet Airways and Air India on Monday cancelled its flights to Newark and New York due to Hurricane Sandy which is set to hit the East Coast of the United States. These are among more than 7,600 flights that have been cancelled across cities on the East Coast due to the hurricane even as millions of people were evacuated from cities that are likely to be affected.
Air India spokesperson said the airline’s AI 191 Mumbai-Newark and AI 101 Delhi-New York, scheduled for Monday have been cancelled, while Tuesday’s flights have been rescheduled for departure at 1300 hours.
Passengers have been informed about the cancellations and and transit passengers have been provided hotel accommodations in Delhi, the spokesperson said. “We would be accommodating them in flights as soon as the operations to the US resume,” he said. Besides, Jet Airways has cancelled its flights 9W 227 and 9W 228, operating between Brussels and Newark, an airline spokesperson said, adding the same flights scheduled for October 30 and 31 would be affected.
The Mumbai-Newark service AI-191 has been rescheduled to depart Tuesday at 1 pm instead of 1.35 am. Tuesday, and the Delhi-New York flight AI-101 will leave at 1 pm Tuesday instead of 1.20 am on Tuesday. Both will, however, be operated subject to clearances from the appropriate US authorities.
Passengers scheduled to travel on these flights are requested to contact Air India for further information in the matter, the official said.
8.06 pm: Six French citizens missing from the Caribbean
Officials say at least six French citizens boating in the Caribbean are missing after they disappeared during Hurricane Sandy’s storm swell. The French Transportation Ministry told the Sipa news agency Monday that the group disappeared Sunday while between the islands of Martinique and Dominica.
Sebastien Roux of the Antilles-Guyane rescue service says the group left in a motorboat Sunday for a music festival in Dominica and were supposed to return Monday. Sandy was blamed for 65 deaths in the Caribbean before it began traveling northward.
7. 40 pm: 14 crew members rescued by US coast guard
Fourteen members of the crew of the HMS Bounty replica have been rescued by Coast Guard helicopters but two are missing at sea, reports Reuters. The vessel was around 90 miles off the coast of North Carolina when its crew were forced into lifeboats. The rescued 14 have been taken to Air Station Elizabeth City in North Carolina, while the search continues for their missing colleagues.
7.25 pm:US Stock markets remain close
All US stock markets will be closed on Monday and possibly Tuesday, the operator of the New York Stock Exchange said late on Sunday, reversing an earlier plan that would have kept electronic trading going on Monday. There had been plans to allow electronic trading to go forward Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, but with all mass transit shut down in and out of the city, the risks were determined to be too great.
The Nasdaq and the CME Group in Chicago will also close. CME Group’s Nymex headquarters and New York trading floor are located in a mandatory evacuation zone in Manhattan. Its New York trading floor will be closed, but electronic markets were functioning. The New York Stock Exchange could remain closed Tuesday as well, depending on the severity of the storm. If that should occur, it would be the first time since 1888 that a weather-related event caused a two-day shutdown. The cause in 1888 was a blizzard that left drifts as high as 40 feet (12.2 meters) in the streets.
7. 15 pm: Superstorm causes upheaval in US presidential race
US President Obama cancelled campaign events in the key battleground state of Florida to hurry back to Washington and oversee the federal response to Hurricane Sandy, which was forecast to send a wall of water into the heavily urban Atlantic coast, from the capital to New York City.
Parts of four competitive states were in the hurricane’s path: Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and New Hampshire. Those states and five others — Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada and Colorado — that don’t reliably vote Democrat or Republican will decide the close election. The storm threatened to draw attention from both candidates’ campaigns and hinder early voting before the 6 November election. Voters in many states are already casting ballots early, and about one-third of the electorate will have voted before Election Day. Read more here.
7. 15 pm: Atlantic City’s boardwalk collapses
With the arrival of the morning high tide, flooding has begun in the streets of Atlantic City. There are reports that parts of Atlantic City’s boardwalk have collapsed. The pier in Ocean City, Md, has been reportedly destroyed. Justin Berk tweeted a photo of the destroyed pier earlier this morning.
— Justin Berk (@JustinWeather) अक्टूबर 29, 2012
4.09 pm: Sandy gathers speed ahead of US landfall
Hurricane Sandy is seeing winds of up to 93 km/h as it bears down the US east coast, reports the New York Times. According to the report,
At 5 a.m., the huge storm was producing sustained winds of 85 miles an hour after turning due north, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was expected to veer again to the northwest later Monday morning and take dead aim at the coastline of New Jersey.
Officials warned that the powerful surge the storm was creating in the ocean, combined with the strong winds, could wreak destruction in the Northeast for days. As many as 10 million people were expected to lose electricity as Sandy toppled trees and light poles and ripped down power lines.
12.37 pm: Travel plans upended across the globe
Hurricane Sandy grounded thousands of flights in the US northeast Monday and upended travel plans across the globe, stranding passengers from Hong Kong to Europe. The massive storm threatens to bring a near halt to air travel for at least two days in a key region for both domestic and international flights.
Major carriers such as American Airlines, JetBlue and Delta planned to cancel all flights into and out of three area airports in New York, the nation’s busiest airspace. According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, nearly 7,500 flights had been canceled for Sunday and Monday. Both Philadelphia International Airport and Newark International Airport, a hub for United Airlines, each had more than 1,200 cancellations for the two days.
A spokesman for United Airlines parent United Continental Holdings Inc. said the carrier has suspended an unspecified number of flights to New York and Washington-area airports beginning Sunday evening with plans to resume Tuesday as conditions permit.
JetBlue Airways Corp., which flies out of JFK, said it has canceled more than 1,000 flights from Sunday through Wednesday morning.
American Airlines and American Eagle canceled 140 flights Sunday and canceled another 1,431 flights Monday through Wednesday due to Hurricane Sandy, the company said.
US Airways said it had suspended all operations at the three New York airports Sunday evening and Monday and at Philadelphia and Washington on Monday.
Disruptions on the East Coast of the US also impact international carriers. Air France has canceled four Monday flights into JFK and two departures. Lufthansa canceled three flights to the Northeast and one flight out of Newark.
A total of eight flights out of Tokyo’s Narita International Airport to New York, Newark and Washington were canceled Monday.
Hong Kong’s Cathay canceled its two daily flights to New York for Monday and Tuesday and Air India said its daily flights to Newark and JFK had halted since Sunday.
South Korean flag carrier Korean Air delayed a flight scheduled to leave Incheon International Airport for JFK on Monday by 22 hours. Asiana Airlines delayed its JFK flight from Seoul by 26 hours.
12.19 pm: Hurricane Sandy fails to deter Times Square tourists says NY Times
The New York Times has wryly noted that even an impending monster storm like Hurricane Sandy has not kept the tourists away from Times Square. In a post, one of its reporters says, “The approach of Hurricane Sandy may have shut down Broadway theaters on Sunday night, but it did not blow all of the tourists out of Times Square.
Late into the evening, hundreds of people milled about in the cool, fresh air, bathed in the glow of electronic signs and giant TV screens. They seemingly had no place to go: All the stores had been closed for hours, many surrounded by sandbags that appeared too small to hold back much more than the overflow from a bathtub.”
12.04 pm: Oil falls as Hurricane Sandy bears down on US
Oil prices fell Monday as a gargantuan storm headed to the heavily populated U.S. East Coast.
Benchmark oil for December delivery was down 34 cents to $85.92 a barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 23 cents to end at $86.28 per barrel in New York on Friday.
Forecasters say the massive storm system could blow ashore Monday across a wide swathe of the eastern seaboard, bringing with it the potential for massive flooding and widespread power outages.
“We’re going to get some bad weather somewhere in the US because of Hurricane Sandy and that’s not good for demand,” Carl Larry of Oil Outlooks and Opinions said in an email commentary.
New York City, the nation’s biggest city, is in the direct path of the storm and expected to bear its brunt.
Air, land and rail transportation was halted and hundreds of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate.
The New York Stock Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange are shutting their trading floors in New York Monday, although trading will go on electronically.
While more than half a dozen refineries could be in the path of the storm, the US is well-supplied with oil while demand for gasoline is down as large numbers of Americans remain unemployed and so don’t drive to work.
Oil is down 13 percent since hitting $99 in mid-September.
11.32 am: Tracking Hurricane Sandy
The New York Times has a great interactive map widget on its site that is tracking ‘Frankenstorm’ Hurricane Sandy in real time. You can access it here.
There is also a ‘Sandycam’ that is curating feeds and updates in real time. You can access that here.
11.07 am: Hurricane Sandy heads to US after Caribbean carnage
As Americans braced for Hurricane Sandy, Haiti was still suffering.
Officials raised the storm-related death toll across the Caribbean to 65, with 51 of those coming from Haiti, which was pelted by three days of constant rains that ended only on Friday.
As the rains stopped and rivers began to recede, authorities were getting a fuller idea of how much damage Sandy brought on Haiti. Bridges collapsed. Banana crops were ruined. Homes were underwater. Officials said the death toll might still rise.
“This is a disaster of major proportions,” Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told The Associated Press, adding with a touch of hyperbole, “The whole south is under water.”
The country’s ramshackle housing and denuded hillsides are especially vulnerable to flooding. The bulk of the deaths were in the southern part of the country and the area around Port-au-Prince, the capital, which holds most of the 370,000 Haitians who are still living in flimsy shelters as a result of the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Santos Alexis, mayor of the southern city of Leogane, said Sunday that the rivers were receding and that people were beginning to dry their belongings in the sun.
“Things are back to being a little quiet,” Alexis said by telephone. “We have seen the end.”
Sandy also killed 11 in Cuba, where officials said it destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of houses. Deaths were also reported in Jamaica, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Authorities in the Dominican Republic said the storm destroyed several bridges and isolated at least 130 communities while damaging an estimated 3,500 homes.
Jamaica’s emergency management office on Sunday was airlifting supplies to marooned communities in remote areas of four badly impacted parishes.
In the Bahamas, Wolf Seyfert, operations director at local airline Western Air, said the domestic terminal of Grand Bahamas’ airport received “substantial damage” from Sandy’s battering storm surge and would need to be rebuilt.
10.56 am: Images of preparations for Hurricane Sandy
10.11 am: New York Stock exchange, subways closed for first time since 9/11
The New York Stock Exchange announced it will close its trading floor Monday but continue to trade electronically, despite fears from some experts that flooding could knock out the underground network of power, phone and high-speed Internet lines that are vital to the nation’s financial capital.
This is the first time trading has been closed since the 9/11 attacks.
Officials also postponed Monday’s reopening of the Statue of Liberty, which had been closed for a year for $30 million in renovations.
Airlines canceled more than 7,600 flights and Amtrak began suspending passenger train service across the Northeast. New York and Philadelphia moved to shut down their subways, buses and commuter trains Sunday night and announced that schools would be closed on Monday. Boston, Washington and Baltimore also called off school.
10.00 am: ‘Don’t be stupid, get out’
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has warned people in low-lying areas of lower Manhattan and Queens to get out.
“If you don’t evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you,” he said. “This is a serious and dangerous storm.”
New Jersey’s famously blunt Gov. Chris Christie was less polite: “Don’t be stupid. Get out.”
New York called off school for the city’s 1.1 million students and announced it would suspend all train, bus and subway service Sunday night because of the risk of flooding, shutting down a system on which more than 5 million riders a day depend.
In Washington, President Barack Obama promised the government would “respond big and respond fast” after the storm hits.
“My message to the governors as well as to the mayors is anything they need, we will be there, and we will cut through red tape. We are not going to get bogged down with a lot of rules,” he said.
He also pleaded for neighborliness: “In times like this, one of the things that Americans do is we pull together and we help out one another And so, there may be elderly populations in your area. Check on your neighbor, check on your friend. Make sure that they are prepared. If we do, then we’re going to get through this storm just fine.”
The storm forced the president and Republican rival Mitt Romney to rearrange their campaign schedules in the crucial closing days of the presidential race. And early voting on Monday in Washington and Maryland was canceled.
Shelters across the region began taking in people.
“We were told to get the heck out. I was going to stay, but it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Hugh Phillips, who was one of the first in line when a Red Cross shelter in Lewes, Delaware, opened at noon.
“I think this one’s going to do us in,” said Mark Palazzolo, who boarded up his bait-and-tackle shop in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, with the same wood he used in past storms, crossing out the names of Hurricanes Isaac and Irene and spray-painting “Sandy” next to them. “I got a call from a friend of mine from Florida last night who said, ‘Mark. Get out! If it’s not the storm, it’ll be the aftermath. People are going to be fighting in the streets over gasoline and food.’”
At least twice as many train passengers as usual crowded the Amtrak waiting area Sunday morning at New York’s Penn Station. Many were trying to leave New York earlier than planned.
The noon and 1pm trains to Boston were sold out. Randall Ross, a bookseller from Shreveport, Louisiana, and his traveling companion, Mary McCombs, were waiting for an Amtrak train to Syracuse, the destination they chose after attempts to book flights through eight other cities failed.
“I just want to be somewhere else except New York City,” said McCombs, who will stay with friends in Syracuse until she and Ross can get a flight. “I don’t want to risk it.”
Despite the dire warnings, some souls were refusing to budge.
Jonas Clark of Manchester Township, New Jersey — right in the area where Sandy was projected to come ashore — stood outside a convenience store, calmly sipping a coffee and wondering why people were working themselves “into a tizzy.”
“I’ve seen a lot of major storms in my time, and there’s nothing you can do but take reasonable precautions and ride out things the best you can,” said Clark, 73. “Nature’s going to what it’s going to do. It’s great that there’s so much information out there about what you can do to protect yourself and your home, but it all boils down basically to ‘use your common sense.’”
9.56 am: US braces for Hurricane Sandy
Big cities from Washington to Boston braced for the onslaught of a superstorm that could menace 50 million people in the most heavily populated corridor in the US, with forecasters warning New York could be in particular peril.
Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate warned that the “time for preparing and talking is about over,” as Hurricane Sandy made its way up the Atlantic on a collision course with two other weather systems that could turn it into one of the most fearsome storms on record in the U.S.
“People need to be acting now,” he said.
Forecasters warned that the megastorm could wreak havoc over 1,300 kilometers from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. States of emergency were declared from North Carolina to Connecticut.
As rain from the leading edges of the monster hurricane began to fall over the Northeast, tens of thousands of people in coastal areas from Maryland to Connecticut were under orders to clear out Sunday. That included 50,000 in Delaware alone and 30,000 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where the city’s 12 casinos were forced to shut down for only the fourth time in the 34-year history of legalized gambling there.
Authorities warned that the biggest US city could get hit with an 11-foot wall of water that could swamp parts of lower Manhattan, flood subway tunnels and cripple the network of electrical and communications lines that are vital to the nation’s financial center.
Sandy, a Category 1 hurricane, is about 756 kilometers southeast of New York City and the center of the storm is expected to be near the mid-Atlantic coast on Monday night.
The National Hurricane Center said that the storm has top sustained winds of 121 kph, with higher gusts. It is moving toward the northeast at 23 kph. Hurricane-force winds extend up to 175 miles (284 kilometers) from the storm’s center.
Sandy was expected to hook left toward the mid-Atlantic coast and come ashore late Monday or early Tuesday, most likely in New Jersey, colliding with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic.
Forecasters said the monster combination could bring close to a foot of rain, a potentially lethal storm surge and punishing winds extending hundreds of kilometers outward from the storm’s center. It could also dump up to 2 feet of snow in Kentucky, North Carolina and West Virginia.
Louis Uccellini, environmental prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Associated Press that given Sandy’s east-to-west track into New Jersey, the worst of the storm surge could be just to the north, in New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey.
“This is the worst-case scenario,” Uccellini said.