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Storm on U.S. East Coast Threatens Region Damaged by Sandy

Storm Along U.S. East Coast Threatens Region Damaged by Sandy
The storm threatens to bring high winds and isolated patches of wet snow to a region that’s still recovering from last week’s strike by Hurricane Sandy. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

A coastal storm will bring high winds, flooding, rain, sleet and snow across the U.S. Northeast today, where evacuations have been ordered in New Jersey and flights into New York City have been scrubbed.

Rain from the storm is already moving across New Jersey and should arrive in New York in a matter of hours, said Lauren Nash, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton, New York. Winds and storm surge are expected to start rising this afternoon as the nor’easter makes its way up the coast.

The storm threatens to bring high winds and isolated patches of wet snow to a region that’s still recovering from last week’s strike by Hurricane Sandy. As of yesterday, 931,000 customers were still without power, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

“We are forecasting moderate coastal flooding,” Nash said by telephone. “It is hard to say what the impacts to the area are going to be because all the dunes have been washed away and new inlets have been created.”

The storm has the potential to delay restoration efforts and may even bring about more blackouts, according to a statement from Consolidated Edison Inc., which provides service to New York City and Westchester County.

Sandy struck the U.S. and Caribbean last week, killing at least 177 people, according to the Associated Press. The storm hit New York and New Jersey hard as it came ashore near Atlantic City on Oct. 29. About 8.5 million homes and businesses were without power at its peak and $10 billion to $20 billion in insured damage may have been done, according to Hiscox Ltd., the biggest Lloyd’s of London insurer by market value.

Water Levels

A storm surge of 2.5 to 5 feet (76 to 152 centimeters) is expected along the coast of New Jersey to southern Long Island, Nash said. In New York City’s Battery Park, which flooded last week during Sandy, the surge may send water about 3 feet above normal high tide, which constitutes moderate flooding, according to Nash.

The level would be lower than the record 13.88 feet set on Oct. 29 at the height of Sandy, according to the weather service.

In New Jersey, Brick Township ordered residents to evacuate the waterfront yesterday and those near Middletown Township are urged to leave today.

“The sand dunes have been removed by Sandy,” said Paul Walker, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. The water won’t be “as high as Sandy but with the dunes gone there is going to be some problems caused by coastal flooding with this storm.”

Travel Delays

Nash said the storm’s sustained winds are expected to be 20 to 25 miles per hour, with gusts as intense as 60 mph in some areas. The winds are expected to cause air travel delays as at least 1,054 flights into or out of U.S. airports have been canceled, according to Flight Aware, a Houston-based tracking service.

The most of those are in Newark followed by New York’s La Guardia and John F. Kennedy airports, according to the company.

United Continental Holdings Inc., the world’s biggest air carrier, suspended most flights to and from the New York area for 24 hours starting at midday.

Philadelphia Snow

The storm may bring as much as 1 inch of rain across New Jersey and New York, Nash said. As much as 4 inches of snow may fall on interior regions of the East Coast from Maryland to Maine, according to the weather service.

Philadelphia may receive four inches of snow, while Baltimore gets an inch, according to the weather service.

The mountains in New York to New Hampshire may get as much as 6 inches of snow, though the storm probably won’t signal an early start to the ski season because temperatures will rise this weekend, melting it away, Walker said.

A gradual improvement in the weather will begin in New York and the Mid-Atlantic states starting tomorrow, Walker said.

High temperatures behind the storm are expected to rise into the mid-50s Fahrenheit in many areas of the Northeast, Walker said. The high in New York City may be 61 on Nov. 11.

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