After Sandy ... Athena?
As you may have heard, it appears another coastal storm -- more of a garden-variety November nor'easter this time -- could impact the Northeast sometime in the middle of next week. Initially, this looked like an Election Day threat, but now it appears that it will hold off until Wednesday or Thursday before having its biggest impact. Here's the current European model forecast for Wednesday evening, courtesy of Ryan Maue:
The storm, which could be (unofficially) named "Athena" pursuant to The Weather Channel's decision to name winter storms this year, will be nowhere near as intense or damaging as Sandy, but it could bring rain, snow and wind -- perhaps as high as 40 mph -- to an area that surely doesn't need any more weather-related misery right now. Already it's getting colder, making the widespread power outages more and more of a problem. They don't need snow and wind, too.
As the National Weather Service's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center puts it:
THE GLOBAL NUMERICAL MODELS SUGGEST NO REST FOR THE WEARY ACROSS THE UNITED STATES, WITH...THE POSSIBILITY OF ANOTHER SLOW-MOVING CYCLONE ALONG THE MID ATLANTIC AND NORTHEAST COASTS. THE EAST COAST SYSTEM WOULD BE A MORE TYPICAL NOR'EASTER, WITH THE SAME SET OF [COMPUTER MOEDL] GUIDANCE SUPPORTING ITS GENESIS AT DAYS 5 AND 6 AS WITH THIS WEEK'S SPRAWLING HYBRID STORM... ANY SYSTEM THAT PRODUCES SIGNIFICANT WIND AND
PRECIPITATION IN THE MID ATLANTIC AND NORTHEAST IS OF NOTE IN LIGHT OF THE CONTINUED RECOVERY FROM SANDY AND ITS POST-TROPICAL TRANSFORMATION.
The Wall Street Journal's Weather Journal has more.
Meanwhile, the death toll from Hurricane Sandy continues to rise. It's now at 98 in the U.S., with 40 of those in New York City. Hardest hit, it's increasingly clear, is the "forgotten borough" of Staten Island where -- even as the city's failed mayor preps for an unnecessary marathon that should obviously be postponed -- the situation remains dire:
The residents of Staten Island are pleading for help from elected officials, begging for gasoline, food and clothing three days after Sandy slammed the New York City borough.
“We’re going to die! We’re going to freeze! We got 90-year-old people!” Donna Solli told visiting officials. “You don’t understand. You gotta get your trucks down here on the corner now. It’s been three days!” ...
One of the devastated neighborhoods was overwhelmed by a violent surge of water. Residents described a super-sized wave as high as 20 feet, with water rushing into the streets like rapids. ...
Staten Island officials sounded increasingly desperate today, asking when supplies will arrive. They blasted the Red Cross for not being there when it counted.
“This is America, not a third world nation. We need food, we need clothing,” Staten Island Borough President Jim Molinaro said today. ...
Molinaro urged New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Wednesday to cancel Sunday’s New York City Marathon. The race’s staging area is on Staten Island and Molinaro said it would be “crazy, asinine,” to have the race after what has happened.
“My God. What we have here is terrible, a disaster,” Molinaro said Wednesday. “If they want to race, let them race with themselves. This is no time for a parade. A marathon is a parade. Now is the time to put your shoulder to the wheel. If they want to prepare for something, let them prepare for the election, not a marathon.”
“Do you realize how many police officers you need for a marathon?” he asked. “There are people looting stores on Midland Avenue. There is looting taking place in the homes on the South Shore that were destroyed. That is where we need the police.”
More here on the situation in Staten Island. Money quote: "We are in a post-apocalyptic state. ... Looting, oil spills, floods, the whole city is underwater and there is no help on its way." There's also a reference to "hundreds still missing," which is entirely unconfirmed, though it matches my fear that "the eventual death toll may shock some people." I'm not sure we really have any idea yet how bad it is.
On the subject of looting, and human suffering in general (particularly in places like Staten Island and Hoboken, where the flood isn't over yet) it's always hard to separate the truth from the Fog of War -- remember New Orleans in that regard -- but a series of tweets last night by National Review's John Podhoretz expresses my sense of foreboding as well:
No question the Sandy story is taking a turn. Especially here in NY.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) November 2, 2012
[More after the jump.]
@jpodhoretz It's not good. It's not good.— Harry Enten (@ForecasterEnten) November 2, 2012
Difference between Katrina, Irene, and Sandy? 30 degrees. It's getting pretty cold.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) November 2, 2012
It's cold. And there's no gas. And millions without power. And it's going to start getting unsafe, is my guess. #Sandy— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) November 2, 2012
Oh, and one more note. Lest anyone think that my criticism, both at the time and in retrospect, of Mayor Bloomberg's decision to delay the evacuation of "Zone A" until just hours before the subways closed -- and to order no evacuation of "Zone B" -- is an academic point, check out the response to this Eric Holthaus tweet yesterday:
@wsjweather yes, in Williams burg Brooklyn some house along Kent Ave which are in Zone B at Border of Zone A had floodings— Yoely's News (@YoelyNews) November 1, 2012
@wsjweather Some did. The grnd-flr apt of a friend in Zone B (albeit just one block outside of Zone A) was flooded.Six ft. of water.— shilgia (@shilgia) November 1, 2012
@nevis_highwire see recent retweets. yes, it appears there were many spots in Zone B that got flooding.— Eric Holthaus (@WSJweather) November 1, 2012
But yeah, totally, let's lionize Bloomberg -- who advised Zone B residents that they didn't need to evacuate, even when there was a clear threat of catastrophic flooding -- declaring his performance "sterling," and hell, let's make him president while we're at it. Awesome.