Oct 28, 2012 / 8:04 pm
Big cities from Washington to Boston braced Sunday for the onslaught of a superstorm that could menace 50 million people in the most heavily populated corridor in the U.S., 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 800 miles (1,300 kilometres) from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. States of emergency were declared from North Carolina to Connecticut.
Airlines cancelled more than 6,700 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.
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 U.S. city could get hit with an 11-foot (3.3-meter) 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 centre.
Sandy, a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 120 km/h as of Sunday evening, was blamed for 65 deaths in the Caribbean before it began churning up the Eastern Seaboard. As of 8 p.m., it was centred about 780 kilometres southeast of New York City, moving at 24 km/h, with hurricane-force winds extending an incredible 281 kilometres from its centre.
Read more World News
- Pope Francis blesses Harley-Davidsons
- Earthquake strikes south of Mexico City
- 24 dead in new wave of Iraq attacks
- Cat vies for mayor of Mexican city
- N Korea proposes nuclear talks with US
- Rowhani wins Iran election
- A parade fit for a Queen
- Hezbollah vows to keep fighting in Syria
- Woman mauled by chimp can't sue state
- Early results in Iran presidential election
- Newtown, Conn: six months later
- Boston woman pays $560K to park
(Click for RSS instructions.)