MONDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- As Hurricane Sandy sent
strong storm surges into the coasts of New Jersey, New York and
Delaware Monday morning, federal officials warned that more than 50
million people could face historic flooding and damaging winds that
make widespread power outages a certainty.
As of 5 a.m. Monday morning, Sandy was churning in the ocean
just 385 miles southeast of New York City, and beginning to make a
left turn toward land. Experts say an 11-foot wall of water could
engulf parts of lower Manhattan and nearby coastal areas,
Fox Newsreported. The massive storm intensified overnight,
with winds now exceeding 95 miles per hour at times. Those
ferocious winds are expected to be felt a whopping 175 miles from
Sandy's center as she plows through New Jersey and upstate New
Forecasters predict the huge hurricane will make landfall Monday
night or early Tuesday along the New Jersey coast,
Fox Newsreported. Experts said Sandy's impact might even be
felt as far away as the Great Lakes, as she joins forces with a
winter storm and a cold front.
"We're looking at impact of greater than 50 to 60 million people," Louis Uccellini, head of environmental prediction for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told Fox News.
Major cities in Sandy's path shut down public transit systems
and closed schools, and federal government offices were also
shuttered on Monday. More than 7,200 flights in the Northeast
corridor have been cancelled, and airports in those cities are
expected to close Monday afternoon, according to
Amtrak stopped all train service between Washington, D.C., and
New York City on Monday, and states of emergency were declared
Sunday in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Maine, the
Meanwhile, millions of residents in the Mid-Atlantic and the
Northeast have been advised to be prepared in every way possible
for the inevitable, and massive, damage Sandy will leave
"The time for preparing and talking is about over," U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate told Fox News. "People need to be acting now."
For starters, be stocked up on prescription medicines, special
medical supplies, nonperishable foods -- baby formula and pet
foods, too -- and emergency essentials in case the storm knocks out
power in your region or makes travel impossible.
"Have a family communications plan as well, in case you get separated during the storm," said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Decide where to meet and how you will remain in contact.
"Be prepared to be self-sufficient for one to five days without access to grocery stores," Glatter added.
David Bernard, chief meteorologist for
CBS News'Miami station, said a confluence of events could
potentially turn this storm into one rivaling the 1991 Halloween
Nor'easter, which killed 13 people and became the subject of the
best-selling book and movie "The Perfect Storm."
Referring to Sandy, Bernard said, "That's a lot of warm air, a
lot of heat, a lot of energy and of course we're deep into fall now
and we have an unusual strong jet stream dip with winter-like cold
air, and you put those two things together, that's the possibility
that is on the weather maps right now, and that could lead to a
powerhouse low pressure forming Sunday and Monday."
In other words, "it's kind of the worst of everything coming
together, winter and what the tropical season has to offer,"
Bernard said, according to a
Experts recommended drafting an emergency plan to ensure the
safety of your family, your home and your pets.
Tell local authorities about any elderly, disabled or bedridden
people who might need emergency assistance, they said.
Remain alert for storm watches and warnings, and if you're not
sure about your home's vulnerability, ask local authorities about a
potential storm surge or rising flood waters. Find out where your
community's emergency shelters are.
If you evacuate, Glatter said it's important to have a
ready-made kit or "go bag," including extra eyeglasses, sanitized
baby bottles and diapers. Diabetic patients should keep extra
insulin on hand and a ready supply of snacks in case their sugar
levels drop, he said. Store insulin or any liquid antibiotics on
ice or cold packs during power failures, he suggested.
Patients who use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea or chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may need an alternative power
source during the storm. This includes a CPAP battery pack, he
To be on the safe side, assemble a one- to two-week supply of
prescription medications, Glatter said. And "stay connected -- have
a list of your doctors with their contact information."
Keep emergency phone numbers near every phone and in your
cellphone "contacts" list.
"Have coins and cash available, too," Glatter said.
In terms of hurricane supplies, the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention suggested the following:
But no matter how hard the winds howl, "Don't panic -- try to
take things one step at a time," said Glatter. "Practice slow
abdominal breathing if you feel overwhelmed during the storm."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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