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Why Sandy could be The Big One

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

BIG SANDY UPDATE ( SUNDAY MORNING): New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered a mandatory evacuation of low-lying areas in New York City before 7 p.m., when the city’s transportation system will be shut down.Yes, this could be The Big One.

    • NJ News Commons , based at Montclair State, is pulling together information from various news sources across the state, including CLIFFVIEW PILOT . For the latest:

About 370,000 people live in the evacuation zones, which include Coney Island, Red Hook, and other areas around the East River in Brooklyn, the Rockaways, Broad Channel, the Staten Island coast line, City Island, Battery Park City, stretches of the West Side waterfront and parts of the Lower East Side and the East Village.

Major bridges will be closed on a “case by case” basis or when the wind reaches speeds above 60 mph, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

As Northeasterners went to sleep last night, Sandy turned into what meteorologists called an “exceptionally large tropical cyclone.” That put it between between a high-end tropical storm and low-end hurricane.

These are distinctions that won’t make a difference if Saturday night forecasts come true.

The left hook that Sandy is supposed to throw at land hasn’t been seen in this area in quite some time.

“I know what you’re thinking. ‘Crap, this isn’t going to happen. The weathermen got it wrong,’” Gov. Christie said yesterday. “I’m as cynical as any of you. (But) we should not underestimate the impact of this storm, and we should not assume that the predictions will be wrong.”

KEEP THESE NUMBERS HANDY ( DON’T FORGET : 911 is for emergencies only and shouldn’t be used to check on power, phone or cable outages or to ask about road conditions.) :

The path of heavy rain and high winds that are pushing water toward the mainland are expected to keep widening as Sandy moves north. The earliest we should see rain is just before noon.

Sandy is expected to make landfall over Delaware or New Jersey, either late tonight or early tomorrow — although we’re expected to get hit with high winds as early as 5 o’clock tonight.

At that point, Sandy is expected to have merged with a winter storm system from the west, along with frigid air coming down from Canada to essentially create a megastorm.

Throw in a full moon, which will raise tides than usual, clearing the way for RECORD flooding, and not just by a few inches.

Experts are cautioning everyone to not be fooled by Sandy’s center, which will remain well into sea. The “wind field,” as it’s called, creates high surf, rip currents and rain that was expected to begin pounding the Jersey Shore this morning.

Some say that’ll be nothing compared to what hits North Jersey late tonight and growing in intensity tomorrow morning.

Relief? That’s a ways off (see map, above).

If the winds kick up to 75 mph, as expected along the coast, trees and utility poles could come down. The leafy trees still standing might also be weakened by snow.

It could mean no power for days on an even larger scale than after Irene: Utility officials already are warning that outages could last up to 10 days.

All of which means that the time to prepare is now — not tonight and certainly not tomorrow.

So:

  • Charge mobile devices and stock up on batteries and other supplies;
  • Remember food safety: Have a cooler on hand to keep food cold, and group food together in the freezer so it stays cold longer;
  • Bring loose objects inside or tie them down;
  • Be careful hooking up generators: DO NOT mess with extension cords or other patchwork connections (“How ‘bout we go by this rule: Anything that looks stupid is stupid,” Christie said. “If you think you’re being overly clever but you know it looks really stupid, don’t do it.”);
  • Throw together a “go bag” that includes water, a first-aid kit, flashlights, important documents (including copies of any prescription medications) and an extra set of keys;
  • Be sure friends and family know how to contact you. REMEMBER: Text messages can often bypass network disruptions when calls won’t go through;
  • Avoid walking or driving through any flooded areas,” says Englewood Mayor Frank Huttle. “It takes only six inches of fast-moving flood water to knock over an adult, and two feet to move a vehicle.”
  • Make sure your neighbors are OK, please.

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