Hurricane Sandy: millions brace for impact
New York partially evacuated before ‘super storm’ arrives; US presidential election campaign is also thrown into disarray
Ewen MacAskill in Washington and Matt Wells in New York
Sunday 28 October 2012
Tens of millions of people braced themselves for the arrival of hurricane Sandy on Sunday, as the gigantic storm threatened to unleash punishing winds, driving rain, heavy snow and a potentially lethal storm surge along the east coast of the US.
The hurricane, which has claimed 65 lives in the Caribbean, is also likely to play havoc with the US election, introducing a fresh element of uncertainty and disruption in the final days of the closely contested campaign.
Although Sandy is not expected to make landfall until late on Monday, gale-force winds were on Sunday night already buffeting Virginia and North Carolina. The “super-storm” is expected to veer left towards the east coast, colliding with wintry weather moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic.
“It’s a very, very large system,” Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center, told Reuters. “The storm is going to carve a pretty large swath of bad weather, both water and wind.”
New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore and Boston all lie in the target zone, but Sandy is likely to cause disruption across much of the US and officials warned it could cause power cuts lasting for days. “The time for preparing and talking is about over,” warned Craig Fugate, federal emergency management administrator. “People need to be acting now.”