As what some are calling the ‘storm of the century’ approaches, Governors of northeastern states are each declaring a state of emergency and demanding mandatory evacuations along the coastal areas.
Hurricane Sandy, which has weakened to a tropical storm, regained Category 1 hurricane strength overnight and is expected to collide with a nor’easter winter storm as it makes landfall on late Monday or early Tuesday.
While the sustained 70 mph winds are expected to gust much higher, the real danger is the size of the storm and its impact with other major storm fronts, which may result in a behemoth superstorm over the most populated area of the United States.
Jeff Masters, director of Weather Underground, explains that being the end of hurricane season and the beginning of arctic storm season is such a dangerous combination as “Part hurricane, part nor’easter” equals “all trouble.”
With a storm this large predicted to hit New Jersey head on, some 40-60 million people may be impacted by it with anticipated flooding and power outages.
Governors from North Carolina to Connecticut declared states of emergency and many have already initiated mandatory evacuations of coastal communities fearing flooding and power outages.
“I can be as cynical as anyone,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie of the extreme measures. “But when the storm comes, if it’s as bad as they’re predicting, you’re going to wish you weren’t as cynical as you otherwise might have been.”
William Craig Fugate, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator, said widespread preparations are being made with FEMA working closely with the Department of Defense and other federal agencies.
“In coordination, we’ve asked that DOD begin sending what we call our defense coordinating officers that are stationed in our FEMA regions, getting them ready to go and bringing on some additional defense coordinating officers to support the multiple states that may be impacted,” he said.
“We’re talking to DOD about potential use of some of their facilities as staging bases for our operations,” Fugate said. “But we’ve also been talking to the Department of Energy … as well as the Department of Transportation.”
500 National Guard troops have already been called up in Virginia and other states are expected to follow suit as the storm approaches.
The National Weather Service recommends preparing for wind damage, downed trees and snapping off large tree branches, power outages that could last at least several days, blocked some roads from debris, and flooding in low-lying areas.