Reckoning begins in the East as Sandy heads westward
Damage assessment is stark; some ports remain closed, roads remain hazardous.
A large part of the eastern United States today began bailing and digging out from an epic storm that seemingly brought everything but frogs and pestilence to the affected regions and doesn't show any signs of departing the mainland for at least another 24 hours.
As daylight broke and the waters receded from an unprecedented storm surge that hit the New York metropolitan area, it was clear that the region's infrastructure would return to normalcy in slow, halting steps. The marine facilities operated by the bi-state agency Port Authority of New York and New Jersey stayed closed today, with no word on when they will reopen. As of 1:30 pm, seven New York City bridges had reopened; the rest remained closed to all but emergency personnel. The Lincoln Tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey is open, but others are closed. Additionally, sections of the New Jersey Turnpike, a road heavily used by trucks, remain closed around Newark, N.J.
The Ports of Philadelphia and Baltimore also remained closed today. Joseph P. Menta, a Port of Philadelphia spokesman, said officials are assessing the situation to determine a reopening date. He advised port users to check with their respective marine terminals to get status updates.
Further south at the Port of Virginia, the situation was brighter. The port sustained no damage from the storm, although it was closed yesterday. All terminals are open, and workers expect to be lading vessels this afternoon, according to Joe Harris, a spokesman for the Virginia Port Authority. "We expect the next two to three days to be busy as we clear the backlog," Harris said.
THE CONTINUING THREAT
While the worst of the storm is beyond it, the Eastern Seaboard may experience aftershocks today in the form of storm surges coinciding with the afternoon high tide. Mark Hoekzema, chief meteorologist for Earth Networks, a Germantown, Md.-based environmental research firm that also operates a weather center, said during a morning briefing that the coastline abutting the New York area could see a 7- to 10-foot storm surge, while Boston could experience a surge of between 5 and 7 feet.
For New York, however, any surge would be less than the record 14-foot wall of water that submerged Battery Park in lower Manhattan last night, Hoekzema said.
Hoekzema said travel on interstate highways could be hazardous due to debris littering the roads. Most interstates were closed off yesterday, but many have been reopened. Many state and local roads remain impassible, he said.
The biggest problem for interstate travel will be on the highways that run near or through mountain elevations that should expect another foot of snow over the next two days on top of 20 to 30 inches of snow already on the ground, Hoekzema said.
RESPONSE FROM LOGISTICS COMMUNITY
UPS Inc. said this afternoon it will continue to suspend scheduled pickups, deliveries, and on-call pickups in parts of 10 states and the District of Columbia. UPS is gradually restoring service in states like Maryland, where earlier in the day, service was still suspended statewide. Rival FedEx Corp. said service delays can be expected in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., a leading real estate services and logistics company, said its industrial properties in the region came through the storm unscathed except for some minor damage and power outages. The company manages approximately 30 million square feet of industrial property in the area covering New York, New Jersey, and central Pennsylvania, according to Joanne Bestall, a company spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) said today it has begun working with its relief agency partners to identify their logistics resource needs and share them with concerned members of the supply chain community. ALAN connects companies that are willing to contribute logistics goods and services to disaster relief agencies and organizations that need support.
"We are in communication with state, regional, and national Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs) as well as emergency management agencies," said Jock Menzies, president of ALAN, in a statement. "We are standing by to provide assistance for transportation services, staging areas, storage, expert advice, and other vital resources."
In conjunction with Rutgers University, New Jersey's state university, ALAN is collecting information on supply chain disruptions to help identify potential resource shortfalls and determine where support from emergency and nonprofit organizations may be needed most, the group said. To streamline relief efforts, ALAN is aggregating needs posted by the affected states and listing them on the National Donations Management Network (NDMN). This will save potential donors from reviewing each state's portal individually, ALAN said.
To make in-kind donations of needed supply chain and logistics goods and services, visit ALAN's website.More articles by Mark B. Solomon
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