Weather forecasters warned yesterday that Hurricane Sandy will affect a large area of the US east coast, but said it was too early to pinpoint where the storm, which has the potential to be the biggest to hit the mainland US, would make landfall.
Government officials in several states in Sandy’s path faced tough decisions on emergency plans, including mandatory evacuations in vulnerable coastal areas, and residents scrambled to buy supplies before the storm arrives tonight.
On its current projected track, Sandy is most likely to make US landfall between Delaware and the New York/New Jersey area, forecasters said. However, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said it could not yet predict the precise point.
“It is still too soon to focus on the exact track ... both because of forecast uncertainty and because the impacts are going to cover such a large area away from the center,” the NHC said in an advisory.
While Sandy’s winds were not overwhelming for a hurricane, its width was what made it exceptional. Hurricane force winds extended 165km from its center while its lesser tropical storm-force winds reached across 1,125km.
Sandy could have a brutal impact on major cities in the target zone. In New York, city officials discussed whether to shut the subway system yesterday in advance of the storm, which could bring the country’s financial nerve center to a standstill.
The storm could also cause the worst flooding Connecticut has seen in more than 70 years, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said.
Sandy was located about 420km south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with top sustained winds of 120kph early yesterday, the NHC said.
The storm was moving over the Atlantic parallel to the US coast at 20kph, but was forecast to make a tight westerly turn toward the US coast last night.
Tropical storm conditions were spreading across the coast of North Carolina yesterday morning and gale force winds were forecast to begin affecting the New York area and southern New England by this morning, the NHC added.
Sandy could be the largest storm to hit the US, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Web site.
“The size of this alone, affecting a heavily populated area, is going to be history making,” said Jeff Masters, a hurricane specialist who writes a blog posted on the Weather Underground.
Sandy could hit Boston, New York, Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia, one of the most densely populated regions of the country and home to tens of millions of people.
Forecasters said Sandy was a rare, hybrid “super storm” created by an Arctic jet stream wrapping itself around a tropical storm, possibly bringing up to 30cm of rain in some areas, as well as heavy snowfall inland.
Sandy killed at least 66 people as it made its way through the Caribbean islands, including 51 in Haiti, mostly from flash flooding and mudslides, according to authorities.
The approaching storm forced a change of plans for both presidential candidates ahead of the Nov. 6 election. The White House said US President Barack Obama canceled a campaign appearance in Virginia scheduled for today and another stop in Colorado for tomorrow, and will instead monitor the storm from Washington.
Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney rescheduled campaign events planned for Virginia yesterday and was flying to Ohio instead.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s