GLOBALPOST HURRICANE SANDY LIVE BLOG
UPDATE: 10/29/12 5:30 PM ET
Gov. Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg see climate change in Sandy
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city may have to prepare for climate change, in response to the devastating impact Hurricane Sandy had on the city.
Cuomo said on Tuesday, "These are extreme weather patterns. The frequency has been increasing." He said he told President Obama that it seemed like "we have a 100-year flood every two years now," according to The Huffington Post.
"It is something we’re going to have to start thinking about … The construction of this city did not anticipate these kinds of situations. We are only a few feet above sea level."
In a separate press conference, Bloomberg said, "What is clear is that the storms we've experienced in the last year or so around this country and around the world are much more severe than before. Whether that's global warming or what, I don't know, but we'll have to address those issues."
UPDATE: 10/29/12 5:00 PM ET
Ambulances in lower Manhattan
Here is some footage shot in lower Manhattan, showing ambulances making their way through the city:
UPDATE: 10/29/12 4:45 PM ET
Pres. Obama, Gov. Christie to view storm damage
President Obama will join Gov. Chris Christie in visiting damaged areas in New Jersey on Wednesday. The White House said Obama and Christie will talk to victims of Hurricane Sandy and thank first responders, according to The New York Times.
"Obviously, this is something that is heartbreaking for the entire nation," Obama said on Tuesday afternoon.
Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate called Obama's overnight emergency disaster declarations for New York and New Jersey "extraordinary," according to Politico.
"This is extraordinary in that generally we do more thorough assessments, and [that] often times will take longer," Fugate said. "But because of the extent of the damage, it was evident to the president in the conversations with the governors that he would do this as a verbal declaration."
He added that the president "always has the authority" to make such verbal declarations. Fugate said governors in other states will do more assessments before asking for declarations.
Meanwhile, former FEMA head Michael Brown who was criticized for his handling of the disaster following Hurricane Katrina, criticized Obama's response.
"My guess is, he wants to get ahead of it — he doesn't want anybody to accuse him of not being on top of it or not paying attention or playing politics in the middle of it," said Brown, while speaking radio interview with KHOW. "He probably figured Sunday was a good day to do a press conference."
"One thing he's gonna be asked is, why did he jump on this so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in...Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?"
UPDATE: 10/29/12 4:10 PM ET
Bloomberg's interpreter a bright spot in the dark
For worried New Yorkers tuning in to updates from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a bright spot in the midst of all the grim news was the mayor's sign language interpreter Lydia Callis.
Callis' animated face and "mesmerizing" hand gestures captured the hearts of social media users who tweeted their adoration and made a tumblr blog.
More on Callis charming the country here.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 3:40 PM ET
Romney on Hurricane Sandy
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made an appearance at what his campaign called a "storm relief" event in Dayton, Ohio on Tuesday.
"We have heavy hearts, as you know, with all of the suffering going on in a major part of our country," he said, according to The Huffington Post. "A lot of people are hurting this morning and they were hurting last night."
Romney reportedly ignored questions on the Federal Emergency Management Agency after the event, according to a pool report. In the wake of Sandy, Romney has drawn criticism for remarks he made in June 2011 about closing down FEMA and handing over disaster relief to states and private groups.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 3:10 PM ET
Pres. Obama thanks Red Cross
President Obama asked Americans to "continue to be good neighbors."
Thanking first responders and the American Red Cross, Obama said, " This storm is not yet over." He added, "My message to the federal government: No bureaucracy. No red tape."
Obama said of Americans: "We're tough because we pull together, because we leave nobody behind."
UPDATE: 10/29/12 3:00 PM ET
American Apparel's sale draws ire
Clothing company American Apparel drew criticism for its 'Hurricane Sandy Sale,' which offered 20% off everything for the "next 36 hours," "In case you're bored during the storm."
Social media users called for a boycott and others advised the company to donate "20 percent off everything" to the American Red Cross.
More on the reaction to American Apparel's appalling taste here.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 2:55 PM ET
Death toll hits 39
The US death toll from Sandy has climbed to 39, according to the Associated Press. More than 8.3 million people have no power, and more than 15,000 flights have been canceled. The full extent of the damage is still unclear as rescue operations are still underway. The AP noted that the death toll included several people killed by falling trees.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 2:30 PM ET
Devastation in Sandy's wake
Hurricane Sandy claimed 52 lives when it blasted Haiti, but it also left behind the threat of a food crisis and a cholera epidemic.
"We are facing a huge crisis," said Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. "Most of the agricultural crops that were left from Hurricane Isaac were destroyed during Sandy so food security will be an issue."
More on the crisis Haiti faces here.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 2:25 PM ET
New York Stock Exchange to open on Wednesday
The New York Stock Exchange will resume trading on Wednesday, running on backup generators.
The New York Times noted that the last time the NYSE was shut down for two days due to weather-related reasons was in 1888.
"Barring any unforeseen circumstances we will be open," said Larry Leibowitz, the chief operating officer of the NYSE Euronext. "We all see the need to get the exchange working as quickly as we can."
UPDATE: 10/29/12 1:15 PM ET
NJ Gov. Christie praises Pres. Obama
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a staunch Republican and top surrogate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has praised the Obama administration's response to Hurricane Sandy, saying, "The president has been outstanding in this."
"He called me for the last time at midnight last night and asked me what I needed," Christie said on Tuesday morning. "The president has been all over this and deserves great credit."
“I have a job in New Jersey that is much bigger than presidential politics," he said, during an appearance on Fox & Friends. New Jersey has suffered from what Christie called "unprecedented" damage, with at least three people killed as a result of the storm.
More on Christie's response to Obama here.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 12:30 PM ET
Death toll climbs
The death toll in the US climbed to 33, according to the Associated Press. Many of those killed were hit by falling trees.
A devastating fire in Queens destroyed 80 homes before firefighters bogged down by water were able to get it under control. The neighborhood of Breezy Point in Queens looked like a post-apocalyptic landscape:
City officials said most of the area was evacuated before the fire started, and no serious injuries were reported. More on the fire in Breezy Point here.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 11:50 PM ET
Possible levee breach in New Jersey
What might have been a levee breach in northern New Jersey flooded the three towns of Moonachie, Little Ferry and Carlstadt with 4 to 5 feet of water on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
The flooding occurred after Hackensack River broke its banks, according to Jeanne Baratta, chief of the Bergen County Executive. Baratta said it was possible the river had simply overflowed its banks, rather than a levee breaking.
There were no reports of fatalities and around 200 residents were rescued, while others left on their own.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 11:30 PM ET
Mayor Bloomberg holds press conference
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg held a news conference at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, saying that at least 10 people had died as a result of Sandy hitting New York City. Asked for details, he said the causes of death were different in all the cases, like one person stepping in a puddle with an electrical wire or another dying when a tree fell on their house.
"Nature is often a lot more powerful than we are," said Bloomberg. "This was a devastating storm - maybe the worst we have ever experienced." He said that the priority for New York City was to get the power and public transportation back online.
Bloomberg said there was extensive flooding in all the subway tunnels under rivers, and added that it could take two to three days to restore power, and somewhere between four to five days to get the subways working.
Bloomberg reiterated that 911 was for life-threatening emergencies only.
UPDATE: 10/30/12 11:06 AM ET
Obama, Romney pause their campaigns, focus on Sandy
At least 30 events were canceled because of superstorm Sandy, as both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney hit the pause button on their campaigns to focus their efforts on Hurricane Sandy.
"We set aside whatever issues we may have otherwise to make sure that we respond appropriately and with swiftness and that's exactly what I anticipate is going to happen here," President Obama said during a briefing with reporters on Monday, CBS News reported.
That's not the case for their volunteers, who have shucked off concerns for the storm and have continued to campaign.
ABC News reported that New Hampshire’s Romney spokesman Tommy Schulz said some of the people who were initially going to the campaign events, showed up to volunteer instead.
“We have our people in our offices still phone banking,” Schulz said shortly after 11 a.m. on Monday.
In Virginia, another key state, Obama volunteers have continued their grassroots efforts to encourage residents to get out to the voting booths.
Donald Trump has also weighed in on the impact the storm will probably have on the campaign, giving Obama an extended deadline:
UPDATE: 10/30/12 10:00 AM ET
Sandy's US death toll reaches 17
Officials say that Sandy has caused at least 17 deaths in the United States. The Associated Press reported that three of the victims are children, one only 8 years old. Several of the deaths, which occurred in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, and West Virginia were due to falling trees and branches.
In Canada, one person has died as a result of the storm, and an estimated 70 people were killed in the Caribbean.
Now, the storm, which is currently centered over western Pennsylvania, is expected to move back towards New York state by early Wednesday. Although the storm is weakening, it will continue to bring heavy rain and local flooding, said Daniel Brown, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
Reuters reported that 7.3 million people are currently without power.
UPDATE: 10/30/12 9:43 AM ET
Fire in Breezy Point, Queens destroys more than 75 homes
A six-alarm blaze has destroyed at least 75 homes in Breezy Point, Queens, the FDNY said this morning via their Twitter account.
According to the New York Daily News, because of severe flooding in the area, fire fighters initially struggled to reach the fire, though there are now 190 firefighters at the scene. According to residents in the area, who spoke to the New York Post, hydrants in the area were also covered in flood water, making it difficult for firemen to access. Two people have suffered minor injuries from the blaze.
UPDATE: 10/30/12 9:20 AM ET
New Jersey nuclear plant declares "alert" after Sandy storm surge
The nation's oldest nuclear power plant has been put on alert and federal regulators have been dispatched to monitor it and nine other facilities that may have been impacted by Sandy, Bloomberg News reported.
According to Associated Press, Exelon Corp warned that further water rise at its New Jersey Oyster Creek nuclear power plant could force the plant to delve into its emergency water supplies to cool the uranium fuel rods. The plant has been shut down for refueling since Oct 22, though experts are concerned that a storm surge could submerge the service water pump motor.
UPDATE: 10/30/12 8:56 AM ET
Sandy death toll reaches 16 in US, leaves millions without power
After making landfall in New Jersey on Monday evening with sustained winds of 80 mph, Hurricane Sandy has killed 16 people in seven states, the New Zealand Herald reported.
According to The New York Times, the storm cut power to more than 6 million homes and businesses, affecting everyone from the Carolinas to Ohio.
The storm also caused a 168-foot water tanker to run aground in Staten Island.
The Associated Press reported that New York City was inundated with an unprecedented 13-foot surge of seawater, which is 3 feet above the previous record.
Yesterday, officials told the New York Post that flooding in subway tunnels and water damage to trains and buses could keep most of NYC's mass transit system shut for at least four days, though MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said that buses could resume service by the end of the day. He also said that Sandy has been the most "devastating" event to the city's subway system in history.
UPDATE: 10/30/12 8:39 AM ET
Obama declares New Jersey and New York disaster areas
President Barack Obama has declared the states of New Jersey and New York as disaster areas, which will allow federal grants to be used for the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. CNN reported that the funds will be used to repair damage to homes, will provide loans to cover property losses, and will help individual and businesses recover from the storm.
According to the Associated Press, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Chris Christie requested sped-up disaster declarations.
"This was so evident how bad it was that the president said, 'let's just get this done,'" said Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, speaking on The Weather Channel.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 8:00 PM ET
Power cut in lower Manhattan
ConEd, a utility company, tweeted:
The BBC's correspondent Laura Trevelyan tweeted:
UPDATE: 10/29/12 7:55 PM ET
Romney speaks with FEMA officials
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the National Weather Service around 4 p.m., according to CNN. Romney received updates on the progress of Sandy as it battered the east coast, as well as information about relief efforts.
CNN noted that Romney's comments about FEMA, made in June 2011, received attention again on Monday. Back then, Romney said states should take a larger role in disaster relief. "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction," he said.
Asked whether his views had changed, Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said Romney believed, "As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most." She added, "This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 7:40 PM ET
Water level at Battery Park breaks all-time record
The Weather Channel tweeted this breaking news update:
So far, Sandy, which has been re-classified as a post-tropical cyclone, has not caused any fatalities in the United States, but ABC News noted earlier today that the hurricane left at least 69 people dead in its wake, in Caribbean countries, including Cuba and Haiti.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 7:20 PM ET
Hurricane Sandy downgraded
"Superstorm" Sandy is no longer a hurricane, the Associated Press reported, though the system still boasts dangerous winds. The post-tropical storm is estimated to make landfall in about an hour, according to the US National Hurricane Center. Currently, it is 30 miles from Cape May, NJ and 20 miles south of Atlantic City, NJ, with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 6:35 PM ET
Gov. Chris Christie admonishes Atlantic City mayor; thanks Obama
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie criticized Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford for allowing people to remain in shelters at schools in the community instead of evacuating like Christie had ordered.
"For those elected officials who decided to ignore my admonition, this is now your responsibility," said Christie, according to The Jersey Journal. "We’re at a moment now where evacuation is no longer possible and we’re no longer able to come and rescue people."
"It’s just not acceptable conduct," Christie said, of the decision to allow people to stay in shelters in Atlantic City. "Now I’m going to have federal and state emergency personnel going in there first thing tomorrow with live down electrical wires all over the place risking their lives."
Christie, a staunch Republican, thanked President Obama for a "good conversation" this afternoon. Christie said, "He told me that if at any point over the next 48 hours I was not getting something from the federal government, that I should call him directly at the White House and that he was going to be there and that I should not worry about dealing with anybody else."
UPDATE: 10/29/12 6:28 PM ET
More than 1 million without power
Over 1 million utility customers have lost power in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, CBS News reported.
Many more are expected to lose power over the coming hours and days, with strong winds downing power lines and extreme weather causing other service interruptions.
Those who still have access to their social networks are sharing both information and fun on Twitter and Facebook:
UPDATE: 10/29/12 6:15 PM ET
Sandy's economic impact
Flooding from Hurricane Sandy may cause nearly $90 billion in damage to 300,000 properties in the storm's path, according to analytics firm CoreLogic.
AOL reported that eight of the most populous metros in the Northeast, including Washington, D.C., New York and Boston, will bear the brunt of storm surges from the nearly 1,000-mile-wide Category 1 hurricane. The estimate does not include damage that Sandy may cause through wind and rain.
CoreLogic also estimated that New York alone has $35 billion of property at risk, according to The Daily Beast.
Sandy may also reduce sales of clothing and gifts, Bloomberg noted. Oliver Chen, an analyst at Citigroup Inc., told Bloomberg that the hurricane may cut November same-store sales by as much as 3 percent. He said traffic may fall 40 percent in the affected areas in November's first week, a time period which accounts for around 22 percent of the month's sales.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 5:10 PM ET
UPDATE: 10/29/12 4:30 PM ET
Sandy 'engineered' by Obama?
Conspiracy theorists sense something unnatural about Hurricane Sandy. USA News reported that websites like InfoWars.com, TheIntelHub.com, and ConsfearacyNewz alleged that President Obama used The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) to "engineer" Sandy, in order to ensure his re-election.
HAARP is a research program managed by the US Air Force and Navy, which studies and conducts experiments around the ionosphere, or the upper atmosphere.
On Friday, InfoWars wrote that Sandy "will undoubtedly produce widespread chaos and present an ideal opportunity for Obama to come off as a strong and decisive leader."
UPDATE: 10/29/12 4:15 PM ET
Sandy approaching faster than expected
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called another news briefing in the afternoon, as officials said that the hurricane was approaching a bit faster than expected.
The BBC reported that coastal areas could expect to see storm surge, rain and winds intensifying in the afternoon, peaking around 6 p.m. EDT, with high tide expected at 7 p.m.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 4:05 PM ET
Crane collapse in Manhattan
"High winds from Hurricane Sandy caused part of a high-rise construction crane to collapse in New York City this afternoon," according to GlobalPost.
The 75-foot-high crane dangled precariously from One57, at 57th Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan, with authorities expressing concern that it could fall onto the streets below.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 3:50 PM ET
Biden and Clinton still on the Obama campaign trail
President Obama may have canceled a campaign rally and stayed in Washington in deference to Hurricane Sandy, but Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton have stayed on the campaign trail.
Politico reported that Biden is in Youngstown, Ohio on Monday, where he will be joined by Clinton. Clinton is then scheduled to head to Minnesota on Tuesday. The Obama campaign said Clinton will also hit Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire and Wisconsin later this week.
Biden will head to Florida on Wednesday, while the president has events scheduled in Ohio for Wednesday, though those could still be canceled depending on weather conditions.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 3:36 PM ET
Intrepid Northeasterners describe the storm to GlobalPost
Andrew Schrafel, a 29-year-old attorney from Long Island, is currently on a cruise ship in the Atlantic on his honeymoon. He told GlobalPost's David Case, "We are on the Norwegian gem 200 [nautical miles] south of Nantucket and 400 [nautical miles] east of new York. The captain skipped the last port on our cruise to try to beat the hurricane but the port would not accept ships early. We are now cruising at 12 knots in a zigzag pattern waiting for the port to open. The captain says Wednesday at the earliest."
He added that the seas are "very rough. Some buffet platters took a tumble. Seasickness is becoming a problem but many people have Dramamine so it isn't too bad. Lauren and I haven't been affected yet."
Matunuck, Rhode Island resident Joslin Leasca told her daughter, GlobalPost's Stacey Leasca: "There are extremely high winds, power is out through most of the state and all access to the beach has been blocked off by the police. We were brave enough to venture to the beach, but the dogs weren't. They are hiding under the bed. Everything is closed in southern Rhode Island, stores, bars, restaurants, although Benny's (hardware store) was incredibly stocked with supplies. Oh and my neighbor left his laundry on the line and now it is all over the neighborhood. I hope he gets his shirt back."
UPDATE: 10/29/12 3:15 PM ET
Sandy from space
NASA posted this amazing animation of Sandy's creeping progress from Oct. 26 to Oct. 29 based on satellite observations, via Slate.
The International Space Station also captured the storm from an altitude of 254 statute miles:
UPDATE: 10/29/12 3:00 PM ET
Impact on flights, electricity and phone service
Airlines have already canceled 12,200 flights in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, with nearly all flights from airports between Washington, D.C., and Boston being suspended. The Wall Street Journal reported that all overseas flights to the East Coast on Monday were also canceled.
The strong winds and heavy rains already knocked out power for at least 30,000 homes and businesses along the east coast, according to Market Watch. Those numbers are just the beginning, as the storm is only beginning to approach the east coast. A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University estimated that somewhere between 8 million to 10 million people might lose power in the next few days.
Communications networks were also bracing for impact, as thousands of customers lost cable, phone and other services last year during Hurricane Irene. Companies such as Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have begun preparations for Sandy. Mashable reported that the Federal Communications Commission urged wireless users to send text messages rather than make phone calls during emergencies.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 2:40 PM ET
Hurricane Sandy's progress
As of 2 p.m. on Monday, Sandy had crept up to 108 miles southeast of Atlantic City, NJ, and 175 miles south/southeast of New York, NY. Reuters reported that the maximum speed of winds was 90 miles per hour, and the storm was moving northwest at a rate of 28 miles per hour.
President Obama has declared a state of emergency in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland and Rhode Island.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 2:30 PM ET
Wall Street may be closed, but guards still keep watch at Tomb of Unknown Soldier
"The New York City subway has shut down, the stock exchange is closed, and millions of Americans have evacuated their homes or are inside bracing for the worst of Hurricane Sandy.
"But soldiers are still keeping vigil by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Va."
Check out the photos of the guards here.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 2:20 PM ET
Sandy impacts early voting; Postal service says mail-in ballots will be fine
Hurricane Sandy may have an impact on early voting in some states, NPR reported.
"We're certainly seeing some [polling place] closures now from Sandy," Michael McDonald, a voting expert at the Brookings Institution, told NPR. He noted, however, that many states in the storm's path don't allow early voting except under special circumstances. "If this was a direct hit on Florida, then we would be having a much different discussion about the impact of this storm," he said.
Meanwhile, the US Postal Service reassured customers that their absentee ballots would be processed on time despite Hurricane Sandy.
"Conditions in areas affected by Sandy will continue to change, but in general, the Postal Service has procedures in place to expedite recovery efforts, including making sure there is timely delivery of mailed ballots," USPS spokesman Dave Partenheimer told The Washington Post in an email. "We continue to urge voters in the contiguous United States to mail completed absentee ballots at least three days before the Nov. 6 general election — or Nov. 3."
UPDATE: 10/29/12 2:05 PM ET
Financial markets closed for second day
that New York financial markets will remain closed for a second day on Tuesday.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 1:55 PM ET
Impact of Hurricane Sandy in pictures
Here are some pictures of the damage wrought by Sandy, via Reuters.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 1:50 PM ET
President Obama says priority is people's safety, not election
President Obama canceled a campaign rally on Monday morning.
"Due to deteriorating weather in the Washington area, the President will no longer attend today's campaign event in Orlando," said White House spokesman Jay Carney in a statement.
While addressing the nation from the White House, Obama said, "I am not worried at this point about the impact on the election. Right now, our No. 1 priority is to make sure we’re saving lives. The election will take care of itself next week."
UPDATE: 10/29/12 1:15 PM ET
Hurricane Sandy now the largest tropical storm on record in the Atlantic
Hurricane Sandy was named the largest tropical storm on record in the Atlantic Ocean, according to Bloomberg.
"Its circulation is enormous, it’s affecting one way or another the entire eastern third of the country," Rob Carolan, a meteorologist with Hometown Forecast Services, told Bloomberg. "The storm is the largest tropical storm in the Atlantic. It’s about 900 miles across."
UPDATE: 10/29/12 1:05 PM ET
President Obama addresses nation from White House
President Obama addressed the country from the White House at 12:45 p.m., on Monday, urging the public to follow instructions issued by state and local officials. He said, "This is a serious storm, and it could have potentially fatal consequences."
"If you are not evacuating when you're asked to evacuate, you're putting first responders in danger," Obama said. He warned that the public should anticipate power outages and delays in getting power back. However, he said state and local officials had been preparing for the storm, adding, "I'm confident that we're ready."
Watch the president's latest address here:
UPDATE: 10/29/12 12:50 PM ET
Supreme Court won't convene
The Supreme Court will not convene on Tuesday in response to the chaos created by Hurricane Sandy on the US east coast, according to Reuters. The court did convene on Monday, though most federal government offices were closed in Washington.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 12:35 PM ET
Inspectors sent to nuclear power plants
Additional inspectors are being sent to nuclear power plants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, according to the Associated Press.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has closed its headquarters and the Northeast regional office, except for emergency personnel. It said all nuclear plants are equipped with safeguards to withstand hurricane-force winds and flooding. As a precaution, plants will be shuttered if hurricane-force winds are in the forecast.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 12:00 PM ET
Sandy strikes a blow to presidential campaigns
President Obama skipped a campaign event in Florida on Monday to return to Washington to oversee response to Hurricane Sandy. The president is expected to make a statement about the hurricane at 12:45 p.m. ET.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan have canceled all of their Monday and Tuesday campaign events, the Washington Post reported.
"Governor Romney believes this is a time for the nation and its leaders to come together to focus on those Americans who are in harms way," a spokeswoman for the campaign told the Post.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 11:45 AM ET
US stock markets close for first time in almost 30 years
The US stock and options markets were closed on Monday as the Eastern seaboard braced for what could be colossal impact of the much-anticipated Hurricane Sandy. The New York Times reported that it's the first time in nearly three decades the US markets have closed due to weather concerns. Bond trading, which is conducted electronically, was also set to close at noon, according to the Times.
UPDATE: 10/29/12 11:45 AM ET