Super Storm Sandy

The report at Stuff is sobering reading:

The most devastating storm in decades to hit the most densely populated US region has cut off modern communication and left millions without power, as thousands who fled their waterlogged homes wonder when – if – life will return to normal.

A weakening Sandy, the hurricane turned fearsome super storm, killed at least 50 people, many hit by falling trees, and still wasn’t finished. …

More than 8.2 million households were without power in 17 states as far west as Michigan.

Nearly two million of those were in New York, where large swaths of lower Manhattan lost electricity and entire streets ended up under water – as did seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn at one point, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

The New York Stock Exchange was closed for a second day from , the first time that has happened since a blizzard in 1888.

The city’s subway system, the lifeblood of more than five million residents, was damaged like never before and closed indefinitely, and Consolidated Edison said electricity in and around New York could take a week to restore.

New York with no subway system!

Forecasting firm IHS Global Insight predicted the storm will end up causing about US$20 billion in damages and US$10 billion to US$30 billion in lost business. Another firm, AIR Worldwide, estimated losses up to Us$15 billion – big numbers probably offset by reconstruction and repairs that will contribute to longer-term growth.

Not really – this is a common mistake. Yes reconstruction does contribute to economic growth, but the money spent on it has an opportunity cost – and is money not invested in other areas – which would often contribute more to economic growth.

One of the most dramatic tales came from lower Manhattan, where a failed backup generator forced New York University’s Tisch Hospital to relocate more than 200 patients, including 20 babies from neonatal intensive care.

Dozens of ambulances lined up in the rainy night and the tiny patients were gingerly moved out, some attached to battery-powered respirators as gusts of wind blew their blankets.

So emotional.

What damage could be seen on the coastline was, in some locations, staggering – “unthinkable,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said of what unfolded along the Jersey Shore, where houses were swept from their foundations and amusement park rides were washed into the ocean. “Beyond anything I thought I would ever see.”

The power of nature.

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