Assessing Sandy's Damage
Update – 11/1/12 at 10:00 a.m. EDT
Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, but in its wake, left almost 20,000 canceled flights, more than 8 million homes and businesses along the East Coast without power, and many meetings and conferences in the affected areas postponed or canceled. All meetings for the week at the Javits Center in New York have been canceled or postponed due to a mandatory evacuation. According to businessweek.com, the economic loss from the storm could be as much as $50 billion. Communities and businesses are working on getting back to normal, with some commuters heading back to their jobs in Manhattan either by driving or taking advantage of the limited rail service that is running. More than a foot of snow was dumped on parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky, with some areas receiving more than 28 inches.
Update – 10/30/12 at 2:00 p.m. EDT
More than 16,000 flights have been canceled through Wednesday as a result of Hurricane Sandy. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier today that New York’s LaGuardia Airport is not expected to open tomorrow because of extensive damage, but JFK airport likely will reopen tomorrow. Some airlines have already canceled flights to and from New York scheduled for Wednesday. Delta and Jet Blue plan to resume flights to Washington, D.C., airports today, while most Amtrak train service in the Northeast remains shut down. In West Virginia, blizzard conditions are affecting 12 of the state’s 55 counties. More than 7.5 million U.S. residents are without power, and 29 deaths in the U.S. have been blamed on the storm.
For planners and attendees whose meetings have been postponed, many hotels are working with those scheduled to stay at properties in the affected areas. Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s blog announced a waiving of cancellation fees at many of its East Coast hotels, and Hilton Worldwide is waiving cancellation fees for advance-purchase reservations for properties in the path of the storm. Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants is offering a 20 percent discount at all available properties in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., from Monday through Wednesday for stranded travelers. Marriott International has closed its properties in low-lying areas in New York and relocated guests to other properties. The Global Business Travel Association predicts 514,000 trips and $606 million in spending will be lost as a result of the hurricane.
Originally posted 10/29/12:
Nearly 9,000 flights arriving to and departing from airports across the Northeast have already been canceled due to Hurricane Sandy, a storm forecasters say could be the largest to ever hit the United States. All flights into and out of three area airports in New York by major carriers such as American Airlines, Delta and United have been canceled. (Airport-specific updates can be found on flightaware.com.) New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore have shut down their public transit systems, and Amtrak has canceled nearly all of its train and bus service across the Eastern Seaboard.
Although considered a Category 1 storm, the strength of the hurricane and its pressure levels are similar to those seen in a Category 3 or 4. Power outages, flooding and evacuations are ongoing along the East Coast. One of the greatest dangers from this hurricane is flooding, which has already occurred in parts of Maryland and southern New Jersey. The storm is scheduled to make landfall Monday evening, and forecasters have warned a wall of seawater up to 11 feet high could hit lower Manhattan.
States of emergency have been declared in nine states, with many evacuating the area or staying inside until the storm passes. Many meetings in the cities affected by the storm have been postponed, including the District of Columbia Baptist Convention and the International Security Conference and Exposition. The Connecticut Educators’ Computer Association/Connecticut Association of School Librarians 2012 Conference in Hartford, Conn., has been canceled. As of Monday at 2 p.m., the American Society of Clinical Pathology had decided to hold its annual meeting, scheduled for Oct. 31-Nov. 3, as planned. “We are keeping a close watch on the weather forecast for Boston and expect all events to remain as scheduled,” read an announcement on its website.
Hotels in the Northeast region have been handling cancellations for guests who could not travel to the area, extending stays for those who could not leave and booking rooms for people who left their homes. “I’ve had a lot of calls about New York properties today, a lot of people who are cancelling, a lot of people who come here because we have generators,” a Starwood reservations employee told the Chicago Tribune. For residents able to evacuate the area, Rosen Hotels and Resorts in Orlando are offering special rates for evacuees and visitors displaced by the hurricane. Rates start at $49 per night, and can be booked by calling 866-337-6736, or visiting the reservations website.
Area-specific information can also be found on several CVB websites, including:
How are you being affected by the storm? Tell us in the comments below.
Photo courtesy Official U.S. Navy Imagery