Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ABC 20-20 airs "The Perfect Storm", stories from "Sandy"

ABC 20-20 aired a special report Tuesday night, which it called “The Perfect Storm”, to summarize the effects of hybrid storm Sandy on New York and New Jersey. The title comes from the book by Sebastian Junger and 2000 movie about a somewhat similar 1991 superstorm. 

The most interesting segment was a report by Elizabeth Vargas on her visit to Breezy Point, an area in the Rockaways in Queens, at the end of the A-line, exposed to the ocean on the south Long Island coast, and where many NYC firefighters have homes.  She reported the progress of the storm Monday evening, with the lights going out around 7 PM.  About an hour later, a teenager notices light in the horizon, which they soon realize is a fire that will eventually reach them.  The rest of Vargas’ report covers their harrowing escape.

I recall visiting the Rockaways in the 1970s to go to Jacob Riis Park, taking the A-train to an end point, and then a bus. The map shows Breezy to be on the opposite, west end of the island. 

The other remarkable footage showed how trees fall when soil gets soaked and when it can no longer contain shallow roots when the tree is pushed by wind.  The show presented some footage shot by a 16 year old boy on Long Island when three or more trees fell in quick succession. The film is so effective it could fit into a Hollywood thriller.

Another remarkable story contains how NYU medical center’s backup generator got flooded and did not work, and how many patients had to be rescued and kept alive by nurses without electricity as they were transported to other hospitals.

There was a report by Dr. Richard Besser about flood water contamination.

Piers Morgan has unearthed a story that NYU knew that there could be problems with the generators, link in Bloomberg here. Does this mean that the generators were supposed to be waterproof and weren't?

I lived in lower Manhattan, at 67 E 11th St, the Cast Iron Building, from 1974-1978.  I think I was at around 100 feet elevation, maybe a little less.  That is in the area right now blacked out (below 28th St).  NYU is at about the same elevation (because I used to walk by there) or a little bit less. I'm surprised there would be water problems even with this flood, but maybe there were underground.  Someone who knows the geography of the area now could comment.

Nightline continued the program by calling it "Waterworld", from the 1995 film with Kevin Costner.

Nightline described the horrible plight of Seaside Heights, NJ.   The storm came ashore near Margate. 

  Entertainment & Celebrity News

Wikipedia attribution link for Rockaway map.

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