NI expat ready for Hurricane Sandy

Published Monday, 29 October 2012
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A Northern Irish expat living in Washington DC has told UTV about the preparations he has been making ahead of Hurricane Sandy.

NI expat ready for Hurricane Sandy
Storm water from Hurricane Sandy floods streets in north eastern America (© Getty)

The full force of the massive storm is expected to hit the east coast of America later on Monday and thousands of people have been evacuated.

Experts believe it could become a 'super-storm' when it makes landfall, affecting a stretch of over 800 miles and 50 million people.

States of emergency have been declared from North Carolina to Connecticut - and there has been a warning New York could bear the brunt.

Michael McDowell is originally from east Belfast but has lived in the US for the past 24 years.

He said the degree of panic in the capital is surprising.

"When there's a storm or hurricane there's a huge panic," he explained.

"It's surprising in the capital of the country that they do that, but there it is. It hit me on Friday when I was getting some milk and I wondered why there were such long lines, and of course people were stocking up already."

There's heavy rain and the authorities are worried about trees crashing on cars and people being killed.

Michael McDowell

Michael said he has plenty of supplies stockpiled after a previous storm left him without power for eight days.

"I've bought hurricane lamps, torches, a kerosene heater ... so we've got the oil lamps primed, we've candles, torches firewood, gallons of kerosene, we have ice in the fridge since the summer when we last had a power cut in case the fridge goes wrong, plenty of food.

"We feel prepared but the problem here is that we're likely to be without power at some point, hopefully for hours rather than days, but the electric power cables are up in telegraph poles so the tree branches fall on the cables and cut people's power off.

"The winds will start getting much higher and people aren't supposed to be out on the roads driving except in an emergency."

Category 1 hurricane Sandy is due to collide with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic.

Dubbed a 'frankenstorm', there are fears that this unique storm, coinciding with a full moon, could produce an 11ft wall of water in New York, with widespread flooding expected.

The impact has also been felt on this side of the Atlantic, with a number of flights from Belfast International, Dublin Airport and Heathrow cancelled.

Debora Harris from Belfast International said: "Hurricane Sandy is due to hit the east coast so that is impacting on our New York flights.

"Today's flight that was due in this morning has been cancelled and the outbound flight back to New York has also been cancelled.

"Any passenger who would be due to go on those have been contacted by the airline and it's a matter of waiting - until we see when the hurricane hits we won't know how bad it will be. But we think that operations will resume towards the middle of the week."

Meanwhile, Dublin Airport has told passengers to expect transatlantic flights to be affected on Monday and Tuesday.

It said: "Passengers with plans to travel Stateside in the next two days are advised to contact their airline or airline's website BEFORE travelling to Dublin Airport."

Heathrow Airport is advising passengers who are due to fly to the US on Monday to check the status of their flight with their airline before travelling.

In New York, the city's entire public transport system has been shut down, schools are closed, and thousands of residents have fled inland or to emergency shelters.

The New York Stock Exchange trading floor is also closed.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there are already 3,000 people and 73 pets using the city's "fully stocked" emergency shelters.

A coastal flood warning is in place until Tuesday at 3pm and a high wind warning until 6pm also on Tuesday, the mayor said.

He added that the greatest danger is the coastal storm surge and water levels are already rising.

EXTERNAL LINKS / CONTACTS
It is believed Hurricane Sandy will stay until at least mid-week.
© UTV News
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Comments Comments
4 Comments
Alan in Londonderry wrote (672 days ago):
Stay safe everybody
Ryan in Belfast wrote (672 days ago):
I always wanted to go to New York and would love to go to Boston but i think its best i dont go while Hurricane Sandy is in town lol. Its a dangerous time to be in the East Coast of the US. I hope all our Irish American brothers and sisters are prepared and ready for this storm, stay safe!
petra in belfast wrote (672 days ago):
Good luck Peter and all your fellow New Yorkers stay safe.
peter mcateer in long island newyork wrote (673 days ago):
storm will hit at high tide and a full moon so major flooding is expected 80 mph winds and 6-8 inches of rain will be a rough few days could be without power for a week
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