US east coast braces for Hurricane Sandy

29 October 2012 14:41  [Source: ICIS news]

Hurricane Sandy nears US east coastWASHINGTON (ICIS)--US federal offices have been shut down, subway and other public transportation services in the capital region have been suspended or redirected, and local governments have ordered evacuation of low-lying coastal areas as Hurricane Sandy on Monday closed on the US northeast coast.

Similar precautions were being taken by state governments along a broad stretch of the US Atlantic coastline from the Carolinas in the south to Massachusetts and New York states in the north.

Stock markets in New York City were closed on Monday, and officials of the various exchanges said they likely would remain shuttered through Tuesday.

Although Sandy was only a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest level on the five-category storm chart, some meteorologists think that it could ultimately be classed as a rare 100-year storm because it was poised to collide with a cold front moving south from Canada into the US northeast region.

The US National Weather Service (NWS) warned that Sandy was strengthening as its centre neared the coast, with its winds and tidal storm surges worsening.

Sandy is expected to bring life-threatening storm surges, coastal hurricane winds and heavy snow in the Appalachians,” the weather service said.

The Appalachian Mountains chain runs from northern Tennessee in the south all the way to the state of Maine in the north and roughly parallels the Atlantic coast.  In some places, the mountains are within 100-150 miles of coastal areas, especially just west of New Jersey.

The NWS said that the Canadian cold front coming south and Sandy’s water-logged storm system surging north could combine over the Appalachians to produce record snowfalls.

The centre eye of Hurricane Sandy was expected to make landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey, late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, but hurricane-force winds of up to 100 miles/hour (160 km/hour) extend outward 175 miles from the storm’s centre and are already blasting US coastal areas.

New Jersey governor Chris Christi ordered the casinos and other resort hotels in Atlantic City to be closed and evacuated ahead of the storm.

The storm was expected to cause electric power outages across a wide area of the coastal region and for miles inland as well. Some utility operators have warned customers that outages could last for days in some areas.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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