Mountain areas prepare plows, brace for snow
Snow plows were out in parts of the southern Appalachian Mountains on Monday, preparing for as much as 3 feet of snow in higher elevations spawned by the merger of a winter storm with Hurricane Sandy. The early snowfall could be a boon for the area's ski resorts, which have sometimes struggled to keep their slopes open with a warming climate. Forecasters in West Virginia expanded a blizzard warning to at least 14 counties for high winds and heavy, wet snow. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency. Farther south in Boone, N.C., as much as a foot of snow was expected at higher elevations.
Construction crane collapses in N.Y.
A construction crane atop a $1.5 billion luxury high-rise in midtown Manhattan collapsed in high winds Monday and dangled precariously, prompting plans for engineers and inspectors to climb 74 flights of stairs to examine it as a huge storm bore down on the city. The harrowing inspection task was being undertaken by experts who are "the best of the best," city Buildings Department spokesman Tony Sclafani said. Some buildings, including the Parker Meridien hotel, were being evacuated as a precaution, and the streets below were cleared, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.
Lady Liberty's lamp goes dark
Around 7 p.m. the torch at the top of the Statue of Liberty, which shone all through thick daytime fog, driving rain and an early nightfall, went black. Soon after, lights began blinking out in buildings all over Lower Manhattan, and two flashes that looked like explosions lighted the sky above New Jersey. Consolidated Edison also took the unprecedented step of cutting off power to customers because of weather as the surge of water pushed into parts of Lower Manhattan. About 7:47 p.m., with the tide at 12.6 feet above normal high tide, a Con Ed official called for the Brighton Beach network to be turned off.
Business as usual for Supreme Court
With official Washington, D.C., shut down by Hurricane Sandy, the full Supreme Court showed up Monday for work. Rain was pelting outside, but it was a full house indoors, with lawyers and tourists filling the chamber. The justices heard cases about national security and a consumer issue involving the resale of goods manufactured overseas.
Air Force team at MacDill for now
An Air Force rapid-response team has transferred about 65 personnel and tons of equipment from their home in New Jersey to MacDill Air Force Base and out of the path of Hurricane Sandy. Elements of the 621st Contingency Response Wing arrived Sunday at MacDill and expect to remain for several days, according to the wing. The wing, one of several around the nation, is used by the Pentagon to respond anywhere in the world to prepare the way for the shipment of U.S. personnel and equipment. The 621st can be used for anything from the support of wartime operations to humanitarian efforts such as those after the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in Japan. Among other duties, the wing ensures that airports can adequately support aircraft. Much of the wing's equipment flew into MacDill in giant C-17 Globemaster III cargo planes. Wing personnel are awaiting word on whether they'll be needed to respond to the hurricane.