post-tropical cyclone sandy aerial view
Satellite View of Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy Bearing Down on East Coast (NASA)

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg updates New Yorkers and the country on Hurricane Sandy:

Reuters:  NEW YORK, Oct 30 (Scott DiSavino) – Hurricane Sandy slowed or shut a half-dozen U.S. nuclear power plants, while the nation’s oldest facility declared a rare “alert” after the record storm surge pushed flood waters high enough to endanger a key cooling system.

Exelon Corp’s 43-year-old New Jersey Oyster Creek plant remains on “alert” status, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said early Tuesday. It is only the third time this year that the second-lowest of four emergency action levels was triggered.

The alert came after water levels at the plant rose by more than 6.5 feet (2 meters) above normal, potentially affecting the “water intake structure” that pumps cooling water through the plant, an NRC spokesman said.
Those pumps are not essential since the reactor has been shut for planned refuelling since Oct. 22. However, a further rise to 7 feet could submerge the service water pump motor that is used to cool the water in the spent fuel pool, potentially forcing it to use emergency water supplies from the in-house fire suppression system to keep the rods from overheating.

Huffington Post:  Hurricane Sandy has left 145,000 Canadians without power and at least one dead, Reuters reports. Toronto’s stock exchange will remain open Tuesday, though 55,000 residents of the country’s financial capital are without power, and strong winds led to one woman’s death on Monday.

Al Jazeera:   “The UN is warning that flooding and unsanitary conditions could lead to a sharp increase in cases of cholera, while aid workers are worried that extensive crop damage will mean that food prices will rise.

Extensive damage to crops throughout the southern third of the country, as well as the high potential for a surge in cases of cholera and other water-borne diseases, could mean Haiti will see the deadliest effects of Sandy in the coming days and weeks. Haiti has reported the highest death from Sandy so far, as swollen rivers and landslides claimed at least 52 lives, according to the country’s civil protection office.”

“More than three days of constant rain left roads and bridges heavily damaged, cutting off access to several towns and a key border crossing with the Dominican Republic.”