Hurricane Sandy Closes in on US Mid Atlantic & NYC: Widespread Flooding Likely

Eastern US braces for dangerous superstorm... Flight cancellations are mounting... NYC schools, transit to close ahead of storm... NYSE to trade electronically today, shut floor... DC Metro to close Monday because of Sandy... Superstorm cuts short Statue of Liberty reopening ... Hurricane

Credit: AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Forecasters say Hurricane Sandy is about 470 miles southeast of New York City and the center of the storm is expected to be near the mid-Atlantic coast on Monday night.
The National Hurricane Center said late Sunday night that the storm has top sustained winds of 75, with higher gusts. It is moving toward the northeast at 14 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend up to 175 miles from the storm's center.
Sandy is on track to collide with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic.
Major metropolitan areas from Washington to Boston are bracing for what is expected to be a superstorm that could menace some 50 million people in the most heavily populated corridor in the nation.
National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb says the storm's size means some coastal parts of New York and New Jersey can see water rise up to 11 feet above ground from surge and waves. The rest of the coast north of Virginia can see up to 8 feet of surge. He says millions of people may be harmed by inland flooding.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Airlines care continuing to cancel flights in the Northeast as Hurricane Sandy moves up the coast.
The massive storm threatens to bring a near halt to air travel for at least two days in a key region for both domestic and international flights.
Major carriers such as American Airlines, JetBlue and Delta plan to cancel all flights into and out of three area airports in New York, the nation's busiest airspace. Delays are rippling across the U.S. and the Atlantic, affecting travelers in cities such as San Francisco, Chicago and Paris.
Cancellations are mounting. According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, more than 7,200 flights have been canceled so far. Both Philadelphia International Airport and Newark International Airport, a hub for United Airlines, each had more than 1,200 cancelations for tonight and tomorrow.
The disruption has spread to Asia where numerous airlines canceled or rescheduled flights to New York and Washington from cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul, South Korea. Flight cancelations from European cities are also mounting.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs five airports in the area, says it expects all carriers to cease operations tonight. It advised passengers to check with their carriers before heading to the airport.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Subway and bus service has been suspended in New York City ahead of the massive storm approaching the eastern third of the U.S.
The city is also closing schools on Monday and ordering some residents in low-lying areas to leave.
Rainfall is expected to start late Sunday or early Monday in New York. Hurricane Sandy is headed north from the Caribbean to meet a winter storm and a cold front. Experts say the rare hybrid storm that results will cause havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Stock Exchange is closing its trading floor Monday as Hurricane Sandy barrels its way up the Northeast, but trading will continue electronically.
The NYSE says it will invoke its contingency plans beginning today.
Trading has rarely stopped for weather. The NYSE shut down on October 27, 1985 for Hurricane Gloria.
The New York Mercantile Exchange also will be shutting its trading floor which is located in a mandatory evacuation zone. The CME Group, which owns NYMEX, says all electronic markets will open at their regularly scheduled times.
Pfizer Inc., NRG Energy and Entergy are rescheduling the release of their third quarter 2012 earnings reports because of the storm.
Hurricane Sandy is headed north from the Caribbean, on course to meet a snowstorm and a cold front. Experts say the rare hybrid storm could cause havoc over 800 miles stretching from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington area's Metro subway and bus system will be closed Monday as the nation's capital braces for Hurricane Sandy.
Metro officials say they made the decision after getting updated forecasts calling for higher wind speeds. The closure of federal government offices in the Washington area also factored into the decision.
Metrorail and bus service will run until midnight tonight before closing. There's no timetable for reopening the transit system.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Statue of Liberty has officially reopened to the public after a renovation project. The public will just have wait until a massive storm has passed to see it.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and a group of U.S. Military Academy cadets were the first to visit on Sunday. The statue had been closed for a year to undergo a $30 million interior renovation project. Visitors had been restricted to the grounds on Liberty Island during that time.
The renovation included replacing the stairs to the crown, as well as creating wheelchair access to one of the observation decks at the top of the pedestal.
But the monument will be closed Monday and Tuesday because of the superstorm. It is expected to reopen Wednesday.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- As Americans brace for Hurricane Sandy, the Caribbean is still suffering.
Officials say the storm-related death toll has risen to 65 as of early Sunday. Haitian authorities have reported 51 of those deaths. Continued rains have added to the initial jolt of the hurricane.
The country is especially vulnerable due to its ramshackle housing and flood-prone hillsides, as well as the fact 370,000 people are still living in emergency shelters after a catastrophic 2010 earthquake.
Deaths also have been reported in Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

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