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.