Hurricane Sandy Live Updates: Here Comes the Rain

Update Tuesday Morning: The sun is shining (at least here at the Boston Magazine offices) and here’s where we stand now. The number of powerless customers reached about 350,000 at the storm’s peak, but already that number is back down to 290,000 or so. The Globe reports that so far, no storm-related deaths are being reported in Massachusetts. Boston schools are open. The MBTA is back up and running. And state workers had a delayed 10 a.m. start. So with that, we direct you to the rest of our Boston Daily coverage for more updates and the recovery and relief efforts.

Update 7:40 p.m. Sandy is no longer a tropical system and is instead a “super storm” says the National Weather Service, though at this point, that’s mostly a semantic distinction as the storm hits the New Jersey coast with 80 mph winds. There is still a lot of flooding in Massachusetts and the number of powerless continues to climb to over 300,000.

Meanwhile in New York City, the most striking image of damage is this one of an apartment building in Chelsea whose facade has been entirely blown off by wind.

Image via @DAVEKUSH

And perhaps less disastrous but still unpleasant is that websites like Gawker, the Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed are crashing. The nation will be denied its gossip, slideshows, and breaking feline news for a while longer.

Update: 5:30 p.m. Power outages are at about 290,000. The National Weather Service says the wind in southern New England is expected to reach its peak in the early evening (that’s … now) after which it should abate a bit, so that seems like good news.

Update 4:30 P.M. Sen. Scott Brown announced he won’t be participating in tomorrow’s scheduled debate with Elizabeth Warren, according to The Globe‘s Glen Johnson. When asked earlier about the state of the debate, he noted that if it didn’t happen Tuesday, it would likely be rescheduled, though there isn’t any mention of that in his spokesman’s statement. Via The Herald, it reads:

“The Scott Brown campaign today announced that out of concern for the hardship faced by people in the path of Hurricane Sandy that he will not be participating in tomorrow’s fourth and final debate,” spokesman Colin Reed said in a statement. “It is simply not appropriate to go forward with a political debate when a disaster strikes. The focus for all of us before, during and after the storm needs to be on emergency response and disaster relief, not campaigns and politics.”

Update 3:54 p.m. Gov. Deval Patrick held a press conference this afternoon, saying that the state is faring relatively well now that we’re hours into what’s predicted to be the worst part of the storm. “All in all we are holding our own,” he said. He didn’t make a call on whether state employees will work Tuesday, and unsurprisingly he named New Bedford and Westport areas on the South coast as the most concerning ones as we face another couple high tides this evening.

Meanwhile, the numbers of those without power continues to climb to 110,000 at last count. “The number of people without power in the last hour-and-a-half has gone up considerably, but utilities are coordinating relatively well,” Patrick said. We say: Charge that cell phone! (For tips on how to preserve its battery once your power does go out, see Quartz’s helpful roundup.)

Update 2:37 p.m. The number of powerless customers in Massachusetts has reached 50,000, according to reports from NStar and National Grid. The rain has arrived (at least in Cambridge) and if you’re curious what that looks like on the satellite, check out Google’s helpful Crisis Map. See that cloud sitting over us? Yeah.

 

Anyway, the National Weather Service’s 2 p.m. bulletin doesn’t hold many surprises. The storm is still slated to hit land in New Jersey early this evening. That doesn’t mean we aren’t well acquainted with dear Sandy already. Milford, Conn. is underwater.

As is, to a lesser extent, our own Morrisey Boulevard.

And the MBTA is officially closed so if you didn’t make it to where you need to go … start looking into some other options or get comfortable where you are.

You can compare reported wind gusts in different places around the state, thanks to the National Weather Service. The winner appears to be Cuttyhunk Island with a gust up to 81 m.p.h. That’s not good.

Update 12:24 p.m. About 17,000 customers are without power in Eastern Massachusetts, reports The Globe. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service reports that the storm itself is expected to veer west and hit landfall in New Jersey this evening. “Damaging winds and widespread power outages are anticipated across all of Southern New England,” NWS warns. “The strongest winds will occur from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. And finally, weather disasters always yield some iconic images and already a photo from First Army Division East’s Facebook page is going insanely viral on the Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. It shows the soldiers posted to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C. in the face of some gross weather. UPDATE: It appears this photo was taken during some gross weather in September, not during this storm. But there is a soldier on duty today, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment notes on Facebook. Update 11:26 a.m. There’s not a lot to report out of Boston, short of a climbing number of power outages, road closings and wind speeds. (Remember, you can see a map of power outages via the websites of NStar and National Grid. Sections of Morrisey Boulevard and Quincy Shore Drive as well as a few other roads are closed due to flooding. The real story nationally is that the situation looks pretty disastrous in New Jersey’s coastal communities, particularly Atlantic City. As you can see, via Instagram, the flooding is pretty dire and the storm hasn’t even hit land yet.

Update 10:15 a.m. The MBTA is suspending all service at 2 p.m. today. So if you took the train to work today … better leave early or find another way home. (We suggest leaving early.)

Update 10:00 a.m. National Grid and NStar both report that outages around Massachusetts have begun, with the number of people affected reaching into the thousands. Both sites have maps that show reported outages so you can check to see if yours has been called in or just find out where the outages have happened. We’re still a few hours away from high tide, but in the meantime, you can see that the storm is hitting the mid-Atlantic region quite hard. Here’s one resident of Red Hook, Brooklyn, where streets are flooded.

And here’s what was once a boardwalk on the Jersey Shore.

And finally, a helpful reminder, via @BostonDotCom, for anyone tempted to think Sandy is just a repeat of the underwhelming Hurricane Irene last year. Compare the size of the two storms: Posted at 9:00 a.m. The Boston area is beginning to see the first effects of Hurricane Sandy Monday morning, though the brunt of its impact is yet to come. The storm’s outer edges are bringing high winds here, but the National Weather Service warns that storm surges and flooding will be more dangerous around midday, when high tide comes. “Along the east coast … the coastal flooding may be comparable to or worse than the Patriots Day Storm of 2007,” NWS cautions. If you’re having trouble remembering the Patriots Day Storm, The Globe reminds us that things got bad enough that the IRS pushed back the tax filing deadline. The tax filing deadline!
Meanwhile, Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency over the weekend. MBTA service is running as close to schedule as possible until further notice though they expect delays. Many schools and universities have cancelled classes, and non-essential government worker are staying home. In general, officials are trying to encourage everyone to stay put and keep out of harm’s way. (The Hubway bikeshare service will be cut off at 10 a.m. Monday, for instance, so you know this storm’s the real deal … or something.)

Hopefully you already stocked up on water, candles, and all your other Frankenstorm essentials. (A Whole Foods in Cambridge had a broad definition of “essentials” on Sunday, this writer observed…)

Anyway, enjoy your day off (or rue your bosses for sending you to work), stay safe, and check back here for updates.