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With Hurricane Sandy headed their way, state and local officials along the East Coast have told hundreds of thousands of people to flee low-lying areas, NBC News reports. Among those given mandatory evacuation orders:
375,000 New Yorkers, including about 45,000 in public housing—where elevator services, hot water, and heat will be shut off, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The city opened 65 shelters in public schools today and may open more.
50,000 people in coastal communities in Delaware. Delaware Online lists available shelters and areas under evacuation.
New Jersey residents from Sandy Hook down to Cape May, including beach resorts and Atlantic City’s casinos. Atlantic City has opened five shelters for the 66,000 people affected across five municipalities.
Connecticut residents in vulnerable parts of Fairfield and Bridgeport. City officials in Stamford, Conn., and Islip, New York, have also ordered mandatory evacuations.
Not all are paying heed, however. “I just wanted to be here for it, see it, experience it, and try to take care of my house as much as possible,” said a resident who stayed behind to board up his house in Mantoloking, NJ. “I’ve pretty much kind of prepared for every possible situation.”
Hurricane Sandy is also threatening nuclear power plants in the area. Nuclear plants in the projected path of the hurricane include North Anna and Surry in Virginia, Calvert Cliffs in Maryland, Hope Creek and Salem in New Jersey, Indian Point in New York and Millstone in Connecticut. The NRC is considering enhancing inspector coverage of these reactors, Sheehan said in an e-mail today.
Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. must shut all units at the Salem and Hope Creek plants two hours before the onset of hurricane-force winds greater than 74 mph, according to Sheehan. An “unusual event” would be declared if the winds are sustained for greater than 15 minutes or if the water level reaches 99.5 feet or higher, he said. Such an event is the lowest of four level of emergency used by the commission.
Salem Unit 2 is currently shut for refueling, while Unit 1 was operating at 83 percent of capacity today during maintenance on the circulating water system. Hope Creek ran at full power. The three units have a combined capacity of 3,365 megawatts.
“We are in phase one of our severe-weather plan,” Joe Delmar, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail responding to questions. “This includes inspecting, removing and securing outside areas for potential missiles, objects that could go airborne, and staging of emergency equipment and supplies.”
The center of the storm was forecast to make landfall Monday night – likely in central or southern New Jersey – leaving millions of residents with only hours to prepare for its onslaught.