Sandy hits the proverbial fan

Sandy was originally scheduled to pass over the Gulf Sream, intensify, then back off a bit in intensity as it spun closer to the cost, with the midpoint of the thousand mile wide tropical storm passing over the coast in the wee hours of the morning, Tuesday. Instead, Sandy has sped up and is heaving itself landward as a full blown Category One hurricane of unbelievable extent. Since the hurricane is hitting New Jersey, it’s right punch is heading for New York City, and as I write this, the storm surge at The Battery (that’s the lower, southernmost tip of Manhattan, where you catch the Staten Island Ferry) is a few inches below the level at which it is likely to flood the subway in that area.

The expected normal high tide is scheduled for about two hours form now and the storm tide is currently at just over 10 feet, and will easily hit the 10.5 mark (that’s where it starts to flood the subway, probably) without any difficulty.

No one really has a clue as to what will happen if the subway is flooded. I’m thinking there will be a lot of pumping followed by a lot of rinsing (salt water can’t be good for any of the structure, piping, wires, tracks, or anything). Do keep in mind that the subways are always being pumped out, so minor flooding is probably not too big of a deal. Of course, there is no telling what will happen if the Second Avenue subway becomes temporarily attached to the sea!!!! Halloween just around the corner … perfect timing … (Note: Proof that no matter how good Wikipedia may be, it is also a harbinger of the end of civilization as we know it, is that the Second Avenue Subway entry does not have a single reference to Giant Alligator.)

Anyway, the next few hours, any time from now to about 1:00 AM eastern time, is when important news from New York is expected. that’s not the only thing going on, of course. Barrier beaches and coastal zones are getting pretty badly ripped up as we speak in New Jersey and Delmarva, and West Virginia is getting snowed on. And so on. Stay tuned. If you’re in the area, let us know how you are doing.


  1. #1 HP
    October 29, 2012

    I admit I haven’t been following the storm obsessively, living well inland, but now I’m wondering whether massive precipitation in Pennsylvania will affect the Ohio river. Has anyone seen any predictions/speculation about the effects of Sandy on the Ohio and Mississippi systems? I live in Cincinnati on what used to be the Ohio floodplain, although it no longer is, thanks to the TVA and the Army Corps of Engineers (Whose motto is, apparently, “Screw You, Kentucky”). I have friends and neighbors and regular destinations in Columbia-Tusculum, OH and Bellevue, KY who are not protected by the current dike/floodwall scheme.

  2. #2 HP
    October 29, 2012

    Okay, on another forum, someone just posted this NOAA Ohio River forecast for all you folks between Pittsburgh and Cairo:

    You might want to bookmark this; I expect it will change as we know more.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    October 29, 2012

    Yeah, it looks not too bad there.

  4. #4 Russell
    October 30, 2012

    In what may go down as the high water mark of climate denial dementia Watts Up With That? has already begun denying that Sandy was a hurricane,

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    October 30, 2012

    Yah, I’ve been hearing that it was not a hurricane. That’s really, really, funny.