New York: It's almost an apocalyptic feeling here in New York - with streets largely deserted, the essential transport services now shut down. The subway and buses have been shut down, people have been warned to stay out of parks, and to hunker down indoors, as Hurricane Sandy approaches, about to clash with two stormfronts, making this officially the mother of all frankenstorms.
It's got some people remembering the panic of Hurricane Irene last year, which turned out to be a bit of a "damp squib" I hear from some, but then again, things could get much hairier in New York this time round... not to mention the state of emergency along the East Coast. (Last time round, friends tell me it was a surreal sight, even Times Square was empty... that's something I'd like to see for myself, but can't figure out the transport!)
People have been advised to stock up on essentials and prepare for 2-3 days of emergency... the storm hitting, potential flooding with several inches of rainfall as well. And then there has been some mandatory evacuations in one zone of the city - reports say 3,75,000 people have been ordered to evacuate from low-lying areas. Schools are shut Monday, possibly Tuesday, depending on how this storm plays out. The UN is cancelling meetings, US airlines have cancelled more than 4700 flights...the list goes on. Which is not to say I haven't seen people walking around (so far) on the streets. Some people, some rushing home, but most people heeding the advice to get indoors.
The worries? A surge, flooding, power outage, any number of a subset of potential catastrophes...the biggest areas of risk, the coast and low-lying areas. The East Coast is bracing itself, that's for sure.
I can tell you the scene at my neighbourhood corner store seems to be mirrored across the city, with a lot of last second buying - the store had run out of bread, sold out of flashlights, and was running out of milk, as anxious people (me included) stocked up. High on the list - water - in case the pipes are hit...
To be honest, I'm not sure exactly how nervous to be. I thought I was ready earlier, then re-considered, and went right back to the store earlier this evening for another round - to buy some more water and milk and well. Let's face it, you can never have enough chocolate for the End of Days. As of 11 pm (this minute) the wind has definitely picked up. Will keep you posted, if the apocalypse permits.
Oh and Nasa, Thanks! After seeing this, I feel so much better.