Monday, October 29, 2012
http://www.bloomberg.comHurricane Sandy may cause as much as $20 billion in economic damage and losses as the biggest Atlantic storm made landfall, flooding homes and offices, after disrupting millions of fliers and forcing stores to close.Insured losses may reach $5 billion to $10 billion, or about half of the total, according to estimates today by Eqecat Inc., an Oakland, California-based provider of catastrophic risk models. Sandy, spanning 900 miles, slammed into southern New Jersey at about 8 p.m. New York time and brought a surge in Manhattan exceeding 13 feet (4 meters). U.S. airlines have grounded about 12,500 flights, stranding travelers, and U.S. stock trading is closed through tomorrow in the first back-to-back shutdowns for weather since 1888. “This one has got so many facets to it -- you’ve got wind, you’ve got rain, you’ve got snow, you’ve got the full moon, you’ve got the storm surge,” said Doug Spiron, who is running home-improvement retailer Home Depot Inc. (HD)’s emergency response operations involving 350 employees in Atlanta. “Then there’s the impact of the sheer size of the storm. This one takes it to another whole level of preparation.” High Tide Record tides from the storm combined with hours of pounding wind and rain to flood electrical substations and shut down New York City’s financial district. Consolidated Edison Inc., the city’s utility, killed power to parts of downtown Manhattan, including Wall Street, and Brooklyn, as the storm surge, boosted by high tide, sent saltwater pouring into its underground power network. Before Sandy made landfall, the storm had knocked out power to more than 2.1 million homes and businesses from North Carolina to New Hampshire, according to utility reports. Power blackouts may eventually affect as many as 10 million people in the region for as long as 10 days. Earlier, before the storm made landfall, rising winds caused the partial collapse of a crane at a West 57th Street luxury tower called One57, designed to be the tallest residential structure in Manhattan at 90 stories. Sandy’s “size is enormous, with storm-force winds extending up to 1,000 miles from the center of the storm on both sides,” Annes Haseemkunju, an atmospheric scientist at Eqecat, said today by telephone. Storm Damage As the storm progresses, economists and analysts have varying estimates on how much damage it will cause. Hurricane Sandy ultimately may subtract 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points from U.S. gross domestic product in the fourth quarter as spending drops on services such as restaurant meals, according to Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina. The economy, with annualized GDP of $13.6 trillion, expanded at a 2 percent pace in the third quarter. “There’s a loss of activity that’s going to be hard to make up,” Vitner said. “If you’re a restaurant and you’re closed today, people are not going to eat two lunches tomorrow.” Insured losses from the storm may reach $8.3 billion, with the largest portion in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to an estimate from Kinetic Analysis Corp. compiled by Bloomberg. Suspended Operations In New Jersey, the coastal resort area of Ocean City faces damage from storm surge. The area has 6,246 homes valued at $2.51 billion, according to CoreLogic Inc., an analytics firm which ranked possible storm exposure by Zip code. In the vicinity of Atlantic City and Hammonton, the island community of Margate City has 4,465 residential homes valued at more than $1.4 billion, Irvine, California-based CoreLogic said today in a statement. Boeing Co. (BA), the world’s largest aerospace and defense company, suspended operations today at sites in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and will determine plans for the remainder of the week on a day-to-day basis. The shutdown includes Chicago-based Boeing’s plant near Philadelphia, where about 6,000 employees build H-47 Chinook helicopters and V-22 Ospreys. Phillips 66 shut down its refinery in Linden, New Jersey, and Hess Corp. (HES) closed a facility in Port Reading, New Jersey, the Energy Department said. The Hess facility doesn’t process crude oil. Other refineries in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware reduced output, according to the department. ‘Rebuilding Effect’ Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), NuStar Energy LP, Phillips 66 (PSX) and Hess closed energy terminals they operate in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland, according to the Energy Department. There’s still a chance the storm will have little discernible impact on GDP, other forecasters said. “Generally there’s a disruption effect and a rebuilding effect,” said Mike Englund, chief economist at Action Economics in Boulder, Colorado. “The disruption effect should last about a week, and the rebuilding effect the following three or four weeks. On net, the rebuilding effect exceeds the disruption effect, but only by a small amount. So we might find by the end of the fourth quarter repair would be a small positive.” Sandy may cut into sales of clothing and accessories as the holiday shopping season nears, according to Oliver Chen, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. in New York. The storm may reduce November same-store sales by as much as 3 percent as traffic may fall 40 percent in storm-affected areas in November’s first week, which accounts for about 22 percent of the month’s sales, Chen said today in a note. Online Spending Consumers who can’t shop in stores because of storm closings may shift to online spending, according to Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. A shift of one percentage point of revenue to online retailers due to the hurricane would boost fourth-quarter online sales by roughly that much, Luria said today by e-mail. The storm may help discount and home-improvement stores such as Home Depot as consumers stock up on supplies, while reducing purchases at specialty-apparel chains, Chen said. American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (AEO), Limited Brands Inc. (LTD) and Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN) are among the companies with the highest percentages of their stores affected by the storm, he said. “The storm will disrupt last-minute Halloween sales and mall traffic but drive up stock-up trips to the discounters,” Deborah Weinswig, a Citigroup analyst, said in an e-mail today. As such, she expects Sandy’s impact to be “mixed.”
NEW YORK TIMESHurricane Sandy churned relentlessly through the Atlantic Ocean on Monday on the way to carving what forecasters agreed would be a devastating path on land that is expected to paralyze life for millions of people in more than a half-dozen states, with extensive evacuations, once-in-a-generation flooding, widespread power failures and mass transit disruptions.
Wind: 90 MPH — Location: 38.3N -73.1W — Movement: NW
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON HURRICANE SANDY FEMA Headquarters. Washington, D.C.
Hurricane Sandy is a Category 1 storm with a maximum wind speed of 86 mph. It is currently moving to the north at 20 mph.
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http://www.pressofatlanticcity.comPresident Obama has declared New Jersey a disaster area, hours before Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall in South Jersey. Flooding from this morning’s high tide exceeded major levels throughout the region, nearing 8.3 feet in Atlantic City and 8.8 feet in Cape May, tying a record set in 1985 from Hurricane Gloria. Atlantic City authorities have made numerous water rescues in the city as residents, particularly in the Inlet section, Back Maryland and near Gardner’s Basin found their homes flooded with water at least three feet deep in places. Gov. Chris Christie ordered the state to close the Garden State Parkway south of the Atlantic City Expressway (Exit 38) due to flooding along the road and at numerous exits. Roads into barrier islands also are under water and some residents who stayed on barrier islands now are reconsidering their decisions. Brigantine Police told residents in a news release that they may have a brief window this afternoon to escape the island, but that was not certain. About 70 percent of the residents there stayed despite a mandatory evacuation order, police said. Police told residents that they need to prepare to shelter in place for the duration of the storm. Sandy still has winds of 85 mph and a continued strengthening of the system means it will be the most intense storm of the modern era to make landfall in the Northeast United States, according to the National Weather Service. The tide at Atlantic City remained at more than 8 feet, which is the threshold for major flooding, for more than an hour and a continued increase of onshore wind speeds may mean that water might not drop very far in the back bays, the weather service said. Forecasters have likened the effects of Sandy to those of the famous March Storm of 1962, which lasted five successive high tides. Reports of the ocean breaching dunes are increasing, including on Long Beach Island and in Cape May. Atlantic City patrol officers are working 12-hour shifts, driving Public Works trucks to navigate the city's streets. Fairmount and Arctic avenues were impassible, police said. Police and fire personnel will continue to help with rescues, Public Safety Director Willie Glass said. Rather than report to the Cape May County Police Academy today, the city's eight police recruits reported to the police compound to assist in whatever way they are needed, police said. “We’re breaking new ground here. (The water) will go places it never has gone before,” said Gary Szatkowski, a senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, Burlington County. “No one has seen it in their lifetime.” Gov. Chris Christie asked President Barack Obama on Sunday for a pre-landfall disaster declaration, which would help speed up relief efforts through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Christie also mobilized the National Guard to assist local authorities. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said on a morning conference call that the agency already is mobilizing supplies and personnel to begin the relief effort as soon as conditions allow, but warned that residents throughout the region, including those inland, will contend with extended power outages and need to be prepared to be on their own for three days. Transportation throughout the state also will be at a standstill as NJ Transit suspended all operations, as did private bus carriers. Other than essential emergency personnel, nearly all state, local and county offices, along with courts and schools, are closed Monday and likely Tuesday. Atlantic City Electric warned that outages could take days to restore and the utility would not be issuing restoration time estimates until the preliminary damage assessment is conducted, which won’t occur until the storm has passed. Forecasters predict up to 12 inches of rain could fall across South Jersey and inland flooding could be extensive, especially along major river systems. On Sunday evening, buoys in the Atlantic Ocean recorded wave heights nearing 40 feet, and forecasters predicted waves near shore could reach 16 feet, with breakers on shore reaching up to 12 feet high. Szatkowski told residents who were thinking of staying to talk to anyone who lived through the March Storm of 1962 and ask whether they’d live through that same storm again. He wrote in a heart-felt plea to residents along the shore to consider loved ones and that if they thought he overhyped the storm, that they could call him Friday to yell at him. “Think about the emergency responders who will be unable to reach you when you make the panicked phone call to be rescued,” he wrote. “Think about the rescue/recovery teams who will rescue you if you are injured or recover your remains if you do not survive.” Ann Kooperman, who was 10 years old during the 1962 storm and lived on the bay side of North Tallahassee Avenue in Atlantic City at the time, said she is staying at her Ventnor Heights home that is directly on the Intracoastal Waterway. Kooperman’s husband, Steve, built the house at an elevation of 14 feet, so she is not concerned about water in the house. “My daughter asked us to come over (to Egg Harbor Township) and even cleaned a room for us. I thought it’s just going to be as bad over there with the trees. I’m more afraid of the trees than I am of flooding,” Kooperman said. “I’m a born and bred bay rat.” However, Kooperman said, if she were living on the beach block, her plans would be different: “If I was on the beach block, I’d be long gone.” While building codes and beach replenishment have added a level of strength to the islands’ infrastructure in places since 1962, the sea level also has risen about six inches and, Szatkowski warned, no building standard could stand up to the erosive power of the water if it begins to cut into the island and creates a new inlet, as occurred on Long Beach Island in 1962. “Even the best constructed home, if that’s where Mother Nature decides to start scouring a new inlet, that’s the danger when you get that much water moving,” he said. “You’re going to see some erosion beyond anything you can imagine.
President of Pakistan People's Party Central Punjab Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo has said that the PPP government has full confidence on the Chief Election Commissioner that he will conduct next general elections impartially. Talking to the party workers in Chichawatni he said that Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif should quit politics on account of their involvement in election rigging in 1990.
At least 12 workers at a chipboard factory sustained severe burns as the factory they were working in caught fire on Monday. According to police, the fire erupted when workers were cleaning the machines with petrol. Ten workers burnt in the fire were shifted Hayatabad Medical Complex where after receiving initial treatment they were moved to the Khyber Teaching Hospital. Three workers are said to be in critical condition.