The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 29, 2012

STORM TRACK: Sandy comes ashore; Wind gusts tonight

The Daily Item

7:37 p.m. Monday

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Forecasters say Sandy is no longer a hurricane, but is still a dangerous system taking dead aim at New Jersey and Delaware.

The National Hurricane Center said this evening that Sandy is a post-tropical storm and losing strength, but still has sustained winds at 85 mph.

The center says storm surge has reached heights of 12.4 feet at Kings Point, N.Y.

Gaining speed and power through the day, the storm knocked out electricity to more than 1.5 million people and figured to upend life for tens of millions more. It clobbered the boarded-up big cities of the Northeast corridor, from Washington and Baltimore to Philadelphia, New York and Boston, with stinging rain and gusts of more than 85 mph.


6:36 p.m. Monday

STATE COLLEGE - Sandy has come ashore in New Jersey and the worst of the winds were expected to arrive the Central Susquehanna Valley this evening.

"Sandy is onshore. It looks like it hit right by the Sea Isle City and Avalon area," AccuWeather meteorologist Henry Margusity said.

The eye of the storm is expected to track west this evening, generating wind gusts above 60 mph.


4:16 p.m. Monday:

STATE COLLEGE - Central Pennsylvania will be see the worst of Hurricane Sandy after 8 p.m. today, Accuweather senior meteorologist John Feerick said this afternoon.

Harvey Cedars, N.J., north of Atlantic City, N.J., recorded a peak wind gust of 69 mph. Barnegat Inlet, N.J., also north of Atlantic City, N.J., recorded a peak wind, gust of 65 mph. A wind gust of 76 mph was recorded 2 miles south of Groton, Conn., Accuweather reports.

By midafternoon, the storm was 85 miles southeast of Atlantic City, its winds at 90 mph. It had speeded up to 28 mph and had begun the turn toward the coast that forecasters had feared.

As the storm closed in, a crane dangled precariously in the wind off a 65-story luxury building in New York City, and the streets were cleared as a precaution.

The storm washed away an old section of the world-famous Atlantic City Boardwalk and left most of the city’s emptied-out streets under water. All 12 casinos in the city were closed, and some 30,000 people were under orders to evacuate.

“This is a very powerful storm and it is going to be hitting landfall at around 6 p.m.,” Feerick said.  “The rain will be with us for quite some time.”

Feerick said rainfall could total up to 8 inches in some spots, but he doesn’t expect major flooding in the Susquehanna River.

“There will be some localized flooding,” he said. “We are expecting the major flooding to be to our south.”

12:13 p.m. Monday

NEW YORK — Waves splashed over the sea walls at the southern tip of Manhattan, already at Hurricane Irene levels Monday hours before the worst of a mammoth storm was to hit the nation's largest city with a wall of water that could reach 11 feet.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo closed two key tunnels to downtown Manhattan after the city shut its mass transit system, stock exchanges, schools and Broadway and ordered hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes ahead of Hurricane Sandy's storm surge. While light rain fell steadily and New Yorkers still bustled on the streets, Cuomo warned residents to get out of the way.

12:05 p.m. Monday

LEWISBURG — Evangelical Community Hospital announced this morning that all hospital services are open and available to patients today.

The status of hospital services will be evaluated and announced as the situation develops, administrators said.

Announcements will be made through the local media and Facebook. Patients with procedures scheduled for Tuesday will be contacted should the procedure be cancelled.

“I want to assure the community that Evangelical is ready for this storm and is committed to providing the very best in patient care even in the worst of conditions,” said Michael N. O’Keefe, Hospital CEO.

“Our employees regularly practice emergency response drills and have developed extensive plans for such occasions. We want to encourage everyone to take every precaution to keep you and your loved ones safe.”

The hospital is equipped with sufficient back-up power supply to keep all essential equipment operational and arrangements are being made to maintain appropriate staffing levels.


11:50 a.m. Monday:

SUNBURY - Area counties and the city of Sunbury have declared a state of emergency in an effort to coordinate all national, state, county ,and city emergency services to meet the needs of our residents.

"Our City wide emergency management team  is working hard and will continue to prepare for all aspects of the storm," Sunbury Mayor David Persing said.

"Important information will be released for the citizens as the storm progresses. All citizen cooperation will be appreciated.”

Northumberland and Union counties also have made the emergency declarations.

The Northumberland County Emergency Operations Center has been elevated to a partial activation and is planning staffing for an initial 72 hour period.

11:03 a.m. Monday:

LEWISBURG - The SUN Area American Red Cross, serving Snyder, Union and Northumberland Counties has three shelters in the area to assist people affected by Hurricane Sandy as it rips through the Valley.

The three shelter locations are: Donald Eichorn Middle School, Washington Avenue in Lewisburg; Selinsgrove Area Middle School, 18th Street in Selinsgrove; and Shamokin Area High School, West State Street, Coal Twp.

Each shelter will have county animal rescue teams on site to assist with pets forced to evacuate with their families, said Aniie Smith, communications cordinator with the Red Cross. However, the Red Cross is encouraging those that can to make alternate arrangements for their pets, Smith said.

People with severe medical issues should also call 911 instead of reporting to their local shelter, Smith said.

The SUN Area Red Cross is updating their Facebook page frequently to keep people updated, Smith said. People in affected areas should also tune into their local media for updates on the storm, Smith said.

7:15 a.m. Monday:

By Alex Sosnowski

STATE COLLEGE — Damaging wind and stream and urban flooding are forecast for the Central Susquehanna Valley.

Sandy is forecast to make landfall later today in New Jersey and push inland over Pennsylvania. Since this will be such a large storm in terms of surface area, effects could equal a Category 1 or 2 hurricane.

Conditions will deteriorate across the region throughout the day today. People should be prepared for lengthy power outages and disruptions to travel.

At this time meteorologists expect wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph over Northeastern Pennsylvania. However, gusts can be locally stronger over the ridges, in between buildings and through the mountain gaps.

Gusts this strong will down trees, power lines, send loose objects airborne and cause minor property damage.

Avoid walking or parking under trees, as large limbs can come down without notice.

Enough rain will fall in the local area to cause flash, urban and stream flooding. Fallen leaves will block storm drains, adding to the risk of flooding in city streets. meteorologists do not believe enough rain will fall to cause major flooding along the Susquehanna River. However, the major rivers will have a significant rise in levels this coming week.

There will be major impact due to wind and flooding not only in northeastern Pennsylvania, but as far north as portions of New England, as far south as Norfolk, Va. and as far west as western Pennsylvania.

Alex Sosnowski is an expert senior meteorologist at Accuweather, based in State College.