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The eastern US and Canada are bracing for Hurricane Sandy to hit.

Hurricane Sandy is currently on a northeast track off the coast of the U.S. but is projected to slam into the Eastern Seaboard and parts of Ontario and Quebec according to Environment Canada.


The mayor of New York City ordered the mandatory evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents as Hurricane Sandy roars towards the east coast of the U.S. and parts of Canada, bringing punishing winds, heavy rainfall and storm surges.

At a press conference Sunday, Michael Bloomberg said some 375,000 people in a number of coastal areas including Coney Island, lower Manhattan and parts of the Queens neighbourhood would need to leave their homes. He said those affected would have to stay with family and friends outside of the evacuation area or at one of the 72 shelters the city has set up.

Officials in New York have also ordered the closure of its public transportation system, beginning at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, causing problems for those trying to leave the affected area on buses and subways.

"There really is a timeline when if you don’t get there before they stop, you’re going to have to find other ways to get out," Bloomberg said. He added that those who stay behind are putting their own lives at risk as well as those of any emergency personnel if they need to enter the affected areas.

Schools in New York will also be closed on Monday.

Tens of thousands of people were also ordered to evacuate coastal areas across the northeastern United States, including in New Jersey and Connecticut, as officials opened shelters to house the displaced. Some 50,000 people in Delaware were told to leave their homes by 8 p.m. ET Sunday.

Inland areas were also at risk from flooding caused by rainfall, and airports along the Eastern Seaboard have cancelled thousands of flights through Wednesday.

Canadian officials, meanwhile, are urging those in the path of Hurricane Sandy to be prepared.

The system was centred about 440 kilometres southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., according to an update from Environment Canada at 8 a.m. ET. Hurricane Sandy — rated as a Category 1 storm — had 120 km/h sustained winds and was heading northeast at 22 km/h. Little change in strength in the large storm is expected while it remains offshore.

The weather agency said the storm is expected to hit the Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes later Monday or early Tuesday as a post-tropical storm with heavy rainfall, winds and waves.

Environment Canada said heavy rainfall was expected in parts of Ontario and Quebec beginning late Monday or early Tuesday, although the amount would vary greatly according to location. Some regions could see up to 75 millilitres.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says parts of southern Ontario should brace for 100 km/h winds, especially along western Lake Ontario. Environment Canada said strong winds with gusts exceeding 90 km/h could also batter parts of Quebec.

The Maritimes will also experience some rainfall and strong winds, as well as large waves and pounding surf.

The Canadian Red Cross issued a statement Sunday urging people to prepare for the storm by stocking a number of supplies including water, food, flashlights and a first aid kit. Hurricane Sandy could down trees and power lines and cause flooding, the organization said.

"Be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 72 hours in an emergency,” Mike Morton, the Canadian Red Cross director of disaster management in Ontario, said in a release. “By taking some time now to store emergency food, water and other supplies, you can provide for your entire family during a power outage or evacuation."

Hurricane Sandy was headed north from the Caribbean, where it left nearly five dozen dead. It's forecast to meet a winter storm and a cold front, plus high tides from a full moon. Experts said the rare hybrid storm is expected to cause havoc over 1,300 kilometres from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.

The storm was so big, however, and the convergence of the three storms so rare, that "we just can't pinpoint who is going to get the worst of it," said Rick Knabb, director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Forecasters say tropical storm conditions are spreading over North Carolina's coastline and gale-force winds should hit portions of the mid-Atlantic coast later Sunday, with higher winds likely to follow.

States of emergency were declared from North Carolina, where steady rains were whipped by gusting winds Saturday night, to Connecticut. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities by 8 p.m. Sunday.

Environment Canada said wind speeds in excess of 100 km/h were possible in southern Ontario, which could down tree branches and possibly uproot trees. Strong winds could also batter Quebec.

The organization suggested those in the affected areas should pay attention to updates, as the track of the storm could change.

"There are still various factors that could influence the evolution of the storm and there is still some degree of uncertainty with respect to the magnitude of the potential impact," it said in a statement.

The White House said U.S. President Barack Obama is cancelling campaign appearances in Northern Virginia on Monday and Colorado on Tuesday so he can monitor Hurricane Sandy. The storm is currently forecast to make landfall along the Eastern Seaboard at that time.

At the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington, D.C., Obama said the storm's path is uncertain so officials can't predict where it will make landfall or where it will have the greatest impact.

"That’s exactly why it’s so important for us to respond big and to respond fast as local information starts coming in," he said.

Obama also said Hurricane Sandy is unique because it is large and slow moving, which means it could take some time for cleanup crews to repair any damage.

"My main message to everybody involved is that we have to take this seriously," he said.

Instead of campaigning in Virginia as scheduled, Republican challenger Mitt Romney was set to join running mate Paul Ryan for several campaign stops in Ohio.


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Global Warming Causes Severe Storms

Research Meteorologists See More Severe Storms Ahead: The Culprit -- Global Warming

January 1, 2009 — Research Meteorologists found that the temperature changes brought on by global warming are significant enough to cause an increase in the occurrence of severe storms. Severe storms are those that cause flooding, have damaging winds, hail and could cause tornados. Their study revealed that by the end of this century, the number of days that favor severe storms could more than double certain locations, such as Atlanta and New York. Researchers also found that this increase would occur during typical stormy seasons and not during dry seasons when it may be beneficial.

As new storm forecasts hit home, areas already prone to severe weather need to be on the lookout for more storms. The latest forecast says global warming spells bad news for those areas.

Nancy Werner has seen many storms blow through trees in her yard, but there's one storm she'll never forget.

"We started hearing things land on our house," Werner said.

A stump is all that's left of what she heard falling. "We went upstairs and found limbs through our ceiling," Werner said.

The storm cost Werner $40,000 in repairs, but more severe storms could add up to a lot more. Research meteorologists at Purdue University are using climate models to study future weather conditions that would most likely produce a severe storm. Severe storms are ones that cause flooding and have damaging winds and hail. Some spawn tornadoes.

"What we found is that increases in human-induced greenhouse gases will lead to more frequent severe storms in the United States," Jeff Trapp, Ph.D., a meteorologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said.

Based on the models, the researchers believe the number of days that favor the formation of severe storms could more than double in places like Atlanta and New York. These added storms will likely hit areas during already heavy storm seasons and extend wet weather seasons.

"This obviously impacts people in terms of potential hazards to their life and property," Dr. Trapp said.

Researchers hope warning homeowners of increased storm days will help more people prepare earlier. Werner already has a plan in place.

"We've decided we're going to a hotel," she said. Researchers plan to use higher resolution models to find out how often future storms will spawn tornadoes.

HOW STORMS DEVELOP: Storm clouds form as moisture evaporates from the earth into the atmosphere, where the droplets jostle against each other. The air cools off rapidly as it reaches higher altitudes. Sometimes a cold front -- the boundary between where the cold air from one air mass meets the surrounding air -- will force warm, moist air upward into the colder air. This moist air cools off and the water vapor condenses onto tiny particles in the air, called condensation nuclei, collectively forming clouds. The process continues: more and more water vapor turns into liquid and the moist air warms up even more and rises higher and higher. A thunderstorm results.

WHAT CAUSES LIGHTNING? As more and more water droplets collide inside a cloud, their atoms bounce off each other more forcefully. This knocks off electrons. The ousted electrons gather at the lower portion of the cloud, giving it a negative charge, while the upper part of the cloud becomes positively charged. Eventually the growing negative charge becomes so intense that electrons on the Earth's surface are repelled and burrow deeper into the Earth. The Earth's surface becomes positively charged, and hence very attractive to the negative charge accumulating in the bottom of the cloud. All that is needed is a conductive path between cloud and Earth, in the form of ionized air

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My brother lives in NYC and i texted him this morning to ask what is going on and he's like "oh whatever it's just a hurricane. I'm going for a walk in the storm" lol

He moved there last year and this is his 2nd Hurricane in as many years as he's lived there. Last year Irene was a bit of a underachiever. Hoping the same is true with Sandy. Stay safe easterners!

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The Canadian built tall ship replica of the HMS Bounty was lost on Monday in the high seas (5.5. metres - 18 foot waves) off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina generated by Hurricane Sandy. The captain was trying to skirt the edge of the hurricane and head for Florida at the time.

Three crew members were washed overboard and two are still missing. 14 crew were rescued by helicopter. Captain Robin Walbridge is one of the missing crew.


Two crew members of a Nova Scotia-built replica vessel are missing after abandoning ship off the coast of North Carolina in high seas brought on by Hurricane Sandy.

Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard told CBC News the 16-member crew of HMS Bounty decided to abandon ship after getting caught in 5.5-metre seas off Cape Hatteras on Monday.

Three crew members were washed overboard as they tried to get to two covered life-rafts, said the U.S. Coast Guard. Only one of the three members made it to the life-raft and was among the 14 people hoisted onto helicopters.

Coast Guard officials said the two missing crew members — a man and a woman — are believed to be in cold water survival suits and life-jackets. He said the air search is being plotted based on wind direction and speed, and will be expanded.

Claudia McCann, whose husband Robin Walbridge is the captain of the Bounty, told CBC News her husband is one of the two missing crew members. CBC News has learned the other missing crew member is Claudene Christian.

HMS Bounty sank several hours after the evacuation.

The U.S. Coast Guard was originally told 17 people were on the Bounty, but now say 16 people were on board. Officials have spoken to all 14 survivors and say they're all "in good shape."

A U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter arrived on scene at approximately 6:30 a.m. and hoisted five people from the life-rafts. A second helicopter arrived later and rescued nine more people.

The U.S. Coast Guard was contacted on Sunday night after the ship began taking on water. A Hercules C-130 aircraft was dispatched to try to get the crew to safety.

"We had a C-130 on scene that was running out of fuel and experiencing a little crew fatigue, so we dispatched another C-130 to arrive on scene and relieve them," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Campbell.

The Hercules C-130 remains on the scene in the search for the missing crew members. A third MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter is on the way to assist in the search effort, said the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard said the winds in the area are sustained in the 75 km/h range.

McCann told CBC News she hadn't slept since she received word the ship was taking on water. She said her husband, Captain Robin Walbridge, was trying to get around Hurricane Sandy en route to Florida.

"He was just trying to avoid it, skirt it. Skirt through it, skirt around it," McCann said earlier on Monday.

"I'm sure he's devastated. Absolutely devastated. But the crew comes first and you have to save the crew."

Claudene Christian, whose daughter — also named Claudene Christian — is a crew member on the Bounty, said her daughter had contacted her before heading out on her journey.

"She says, 'We're heading out and I just wanted to tell you and dad that I love you.' And I said, 'What are you saying that for?' And she said, 'Just in case something happens,'" Christian said in a phone interview from Oklahoma.

"She was truly and genuinely happy and loved the Bounty and loved what she was doing — and wanted us to know that just in case she went down with the ship."

The replica of HMS Bounty, which launched in Lunenburg in 1960, was made famous in a 1962 movie starring Marlon Brando — Mutiny on the Bounty. It has also appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest starring Johnny Depp.

HMS Bounty operated as a sea school and was most recently in Halifax in July for the Tall Ships Festival.


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