NewsOctober 31, 2012

A Roundup of Hurricane Sandy News Reports

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Michael D. Lemonick

By Michael D. Lemonick

By Wednesday afternoon, remnants of Hurricane Sandy were tormenting the lower Great Lakes, bringing gale-force winds to the region, and small-craft advisories remained up for much of the New England coast — a testament to how truly gigantic the reach of this hurricane —nor’easter hybrid has been.

Floodwaters pour into the Hoboken PATH Station in Hoboken, N.J. near the time of high tide on Oct. 29, 2012, as Hurricane Sandy made landfall.
Credit: Kenobryan/Instagram.

 In the hardest-hit regions, however, from southern New Jersey up through New York City and east along Long Island and the Connecticut coast, the story was no longer the storm itself, but rather on the causes (especially Sandy’s possible relationship to climate change) and on the grim aftermath — millions without power, tens of thousands evacuated from their homes, as much as $20 billion by some estimates, and at least 50 deaths in the U.S. alone.

The New York Times, as the region’s most important newspaper by far, also had the widest-ranging coverage. Perhaps the most poignant of the stories was titled “In Storm Deaths, Mystery, Fate and Bad Timing,” it looked not at cold statistics, but at the lives of individuals — men, women, children and even babies — that were ended, in the blink of an eye, by Sandy’s vicious power.

“They stepped in the wrong puddle,” it begins, “…..They walked the dog at the wrong moment. Or they did exactly what all the emergency experts instructed them to do — they huddled inside and waited for its anger to go away. The storm found them all… They were infants and adolescents, people embarking on careers and those looking back on them — the ones who paid the ultimate price of this most destructive of storms.”

The Times also has a “Tracking the Storm” blog with new entries appearing as often as once a minute, with entries as diverse as a warning from New York Mayor Bloomberg that “You’re not going to be able to get in” to Manhattan with fewer than three people per car, to a report on a helicopter tour of the devastated Jersey Shore by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and President Obama, in which the two shelved political differences to form a (temporary) mutual admiration society, to an essay by media reporter David Carr on “How Hurricane Sandy Slapped the Sarcasm Out of Twitter.”

Much thinner on resources but focused entirely on the region’s hardest-hit state, the Newark Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest paper, plunged deeply into Sandy coverage as well, reporting on the nearly 2.4 million New Jerseyans still lacking power as of Wednesday morning and dozens of other local stories (the much smaller Asbury Park Press, however, got the scoop on statements from Snooki and other members of the “Jersey Shore” cast lamenting the destruction of what they called their second home).

At the Washington Post, meanwhile, the team of bloggers known as the Capital Weather Gang dived into the story as well, producing a gallery of astonishing images and animations showing Sandy before, during and after its Monday evening landfall; a Sandy-by-the-numbers entry laying out just how extraordinarily big and strong the storm was; and more. Over on the “Wonkblog,” reporter Brad Plumer has been especially prolific, writing about the policy of climate-disaster preparedness (we don’t really have any), the political conversation around climate change (we don’t have that either) and the coming slide in our ability to make hurricane forecasts.

Other noteworthy stories out there: Time’s Maia Szalavitz on “How Disasters Bring Out Our Kindness,” The Atlantic’s Jordan Weissmann on “How a Smart Conservative Would Reform FEMA,” and Slate’s Torie Bosch asking “Will Hurricane Sandy Convince Congress to Form a U.S. Weather Administration?”

There’s plenty more, of course — more than any one peson could possibly absorb. But this will give you a start.

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Helpful links for following the storm:
National Weather Service Storm Central 
Climate Central Surging Seas Mapping Tool
New York Times Live Blog
Capital Weather Gang blog
Google Hurricane Sandy Crisis Map


Twitter Accounts to Follow: