Sandy's Wrath Brings Massive Blackouts, Flooding Across Northeast10/30/12
TUESDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The most powerful storm to
hit the U.S. Northeast in a generation cut a swath of destruction
through the region Monday night and Tuesday morning, leaving at
least 33 dead and millions without power as high winds and
floodwaters wreaked havoc with electrical systems.
Sandy -- which the National Hurricane Center has now dubbed a
post-tropical cyclone -- made landfall near Atlantic City, N.J., at
about 8 p.m. Monday, flooding much of that city as 80 mph winds
drove seawater inland,
The New York Timesreported.
Overall, an estimated 7.2 million people across the Northeast
are without power Tuesday morning, including much of New York City.
Power company Consolidated Edison told
The Timesthat as of 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, 634,000 customers in
New York City and Westchester County, N.Y., were without power,
while other reports have the statewide total at 1.2 million.
According to the
Associated Press, in New Jersey, more than 2 million people
are without electricity, as are almost 1.2 million in Pennsylvania,
600,000 in Connecticut, 290,000 in Maryland and 400,00 in
Hundreds of bridges and roads are impassable or closed
throughout the region and thousands of flights have been cancelled
at major airports. Important access tunnels to New York City were
flooded or shut down, as was the transit system for the nation's
"The days ahead are going to be very difficult," Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland said. "There will be people who die and are killed in this storm."
News reports have estimated the death toll from the storm so far
at 33, including: a man and a woman in Morris County, N.J., who
died when a tree fell onto their car; two boys in North Salem,
N.Y., ages 11 and 13, who perished when a tree collapsed on their
house; and Claudene Christiane, a crew member of the tall ship
H.M.S., which sank off the North Carolina coast.
For the millions now without power, preparation will have been
key, said one expert.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox
Hill Hospital in New York City, said its important to have
stockpiles of prescription medicines, special medical supplies,
nonperishable foods -- baby formula and pet foods, too -- as well
as emergency essentials.
"Be prepared to be self-sufficient for one to five days without access to grocery stores," Glatter said.
Experts also advised that local authorities must be told about
any elderly, disabled or bedridden people who might need emergency
assistance. Find out where your community's emergency shelters
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. People with diabetes 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:
- Three to five days' worth of water, about five gallons per
person, in clean containers and three to five days' worth of
- Well-stocked first-aid kits for your home and car. The car also
needs maps, food, blankets and basic tools such as pliers and
- Charged cellphones, flashlights, a battery-powered radio and
- Extra blankets or sleeping bags.
- Soaps, toothpaste and other personal hygiene necessities. Also,
paper towels or baby wipes for personal cleaning if showering or
bathing isn't possible.
- Water-purifying supplies such as chlorine or iodine tablets or
unscented household chlorine bleach.
- A fire extinguisher that all in the family know how to
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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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.