Superstorm Sandy startles East Coast

by Ana Ceballos

MCT Campus

As 90 mph winds whirl across the mid Atlantic coast, people on the East Coast are preparing for what many forecasters predict may be the worst storm in two generations.

Superstorm Sandy, which is currently threatening approximately 50 million people with surge energy numbers bigger than the disastrous Hurricane Katrina in 2005, has already forced hundreds of thousands of people to move to higher ground.

According to the National Weather Service, 4-7 inches of rain is expected along with a pro- longed period of wind more than 35 mph with peak gusts of 70 mph. This will inevitably result in flooding and power outages.

In addition to the rainfall, the full moon today will add two to three inches to the storm surge in New York.

“Everyone is going crazy preparing for this storm,” Virginia Com- monwealth University sociology graduate Brendolyn Daniels said. “The shelves are empty at the gro- cery stores, the streets are empty. I have never seen East Coasters take a storm so seriously.”

Maryland, New York, Pennsyl- vania, Virginia and Washington have been declared in states of emergency.

Precautionary measures were taken last night as several states shut down their subways, buses and commuter trains. Schools across the Eastern Seaboard will be closed along with federal gov- ernment offices.

More than 12,000 flights in and out of Eastern cities have been cancelled and more than 10 million people are predicted to lose electricity.

“As much as we would like to be scared about this hurricane, most of us East Coasters are happy that we get an extra day to add onto the weekend,” Daniels said. “Yes, the severity is there, but how do we take something like this seriously when we have never experienced a hurricane to this caliber?”

The strongest winds and heavi- est rains are expected to occur on Monday and Tuesday according to the NWS. Forecasters show more concern about inland flood- ing from storm surge rather than winds. As a result of flooding, the saturated ground can knock down trees, which can affect power lines.

For Boston University graphic design graduate Lessa Chung, this will be her first experience with such a severe storm. Chung lives alone and says her family and friends have been sending her care packages of canned goods.

Chung said she is constantly on Twitter checking storm updates, but she still feels unprepared. “(Twitter is) only telling us basic things, like to prepare a disaster kit, secure your trash if you put it out,” Chung said. “Not sure if I need to be concerned about boarding my windows or sandbags.”

Chung went into work yesterday but the entire office was forced to leave because the Boston trains were going to shut down within the hour.

The slow-moving storm has also postponed the presidential campaigns. Both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have rescheduled their planned appearances for today.