The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

October 29, 2012

NYC braces for wall of water from superstorm

— NEW YORK (AP) — After days of seeming to take a looming superstorm in stride, New Yorkers gathered supplies or tried to get out of the way as forecasters warned that a wall of water could hit the nation's largest city.

Facing a seawater surge of anywhere from 6 to 11 feet from Hurricane Sandy, the city shut down its mass transit system, closed its schools and ordered hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes Sunday. Some New Yorkers packed grocery stores for water and food and scrambled to get out of flood zones, while others insisted they weren't going anywhere.

Clutching a white pillow in her left hand and two computers in another, Alyssa Marks rushed to get to the subway before it stopped running Sunday evening. She'd gotten cash but had no time to get toiletries and water.

"I'm nervous, but I'm also excited," she said as she left her apartment in a lower Manhattan evacuation zone for a friend's place on higher ground.

Ralph Gorham watched the sea get rough, but he planned to weather the storm at the Red Hook Lobster Pound, the seafood business he co-owns in a low-lying part of Brooklyn.

"I'm not leaving. My house is here. My business is here," he said. "When the bell tolls, you live with it."

Warnings about the superstorm — a predicted combination of Sandy, a wintry system moving in from the West and cold air streaming down from the Arctic — took on a much more ominous tone Sunday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's environmental protection chief, Louis Uccellini, called the projected storm surge "the worst-case scenario" for New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey.

It threatened to swamp parts of lower Manhattan, flood subway tunnels and knock out the underground network of power, phone and high-speed Internet lines that are the lifeblood of America's financial capital.

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