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Listeners In Hurricane's Path Report On Sandy


You could wake up in Washington, D.C., this morning and wonder if it wasn't all hype. Wet and windy for sure but nothing to justify all the Frankenstorm warnings. By lunch, though, the weather had turned distinctly nastier, and on this Monday, downtown D.C. began to look like one of those deserted beach resorts where Weather Channel correspondents lean against the wind to file stand-ups. To the south and west, blizzard conditions prevail on the eastern slopes of the Appalachians. Storm surge already overlaps the battery in New York, all while Sandy is still offshore and still gaining strength. Mass transit shut down in Washington, Philly, New York and Boston. The stock market's closed, AMTRAK, flight cancellations, what's the effect where you live? 800-989-8255. Email us: talk@npr.org. You can also join the conversation at our website. That's at npr.org, click on TALK OF THE NATION.

This email from Kirsten(ph) in Muncie, Indiana: Just got a call from my sister in Fairfax, Virginia. The house we all grew up in just had a tree fall on it. Thankfully my parents are fine but the house is destroyed. All the contents will be lost, given the rain expected. Luckily, my brother, sister and their spouses are there to help. Those of us who are not in the path are keeping those of you who are in the midst of our thoughts and our prayers.

And this from Mike in Buffalo, New York: I live in Buffalo, New York. Just got back from shopping. Very crowded. The produce manager told me the storm will have a serious effect on places that are not in Sandy's path. Ports are closed. I-95 is getting hammered for a thousand miles, and production packaging plants are closed. Stores will have trouble stocking shelves for the weekend. Don't forget to charge your phone.

800-989-8255. Email: talk@npr.org. Sandra(ph) is on the line with us. She's on the road in Virginia.


CONAN: Hi, Sandra.

SANDRA: I'm on my way. I left Roanoke about an hour ago, and I'm on my way to Chilhowie, Virginia, which is 30 miles right to the border of Tennessee. And I'm just in - it's raining and the wind's whipping around, but traffic is fine, so I just want to let you know.

CONAN: Any sign of snow?

SANDRA: Not yet. Well, there's supposed to - I'm going - I will be - my destination is Smyth County, and it's supposed to be snowing there. It's supposed to get eight inches. But I'm not seeing any snow yet.

CONAN: And are people driving carefully?

SANDRA: I'm - everybody is driving carefully. It's - we're - nobody's speeding, so that's nice.

CONAN: That's nice to hear. Drive carefully.

SANDRA: And both my children are in college and they - both of their colleges were - classes were cancelled today. So I'm - they're both safe, one's in Farmville and one's in Charlottesville. So I'm glad my kids are all right.

CONAN: Good to hear that. Thanks very...

SANDRA: Thank you. Bye-bye.

CONAN: Thanks very much, Sandra. Around the country, these are some of the conditions that are prevailing in the Carolinas. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 members of a crew that was forced to abandon a tall ship about 90 miles off the North Carolina coast. They continue to search for two other crew members. The storm lashed Barrier Islands and rendered several homes and businesses nearly inaccessible. That ship, of course, you probably heard about it on the news, is the HMS Bounty, a replica of the original ship, of course, which of - the bones of which I guess are still on Pitcairn Island. It was used not just in "Mutiny on the Bounty" but I think also in some of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

Let's get Susan(ph) on the line. Susan's on the line with us from Richmond, Virginia.

SUSAN: Hello.

CONAN: Hi. You're on the air. Go ahead, please.

SUSAN: We've got torrential rains. The gutters are overflowing, and here comes the U.S. Postal Service truck and delivers all our mail.

CONAN: That's nice to see on a day like this.

SUSAN: Absolutely.

CONAN: Now, your gutters are filled with leaves. Of course, that's been exacerbated by all the wind, I assume.

SUSAN: No. We - our homeowners association hired some people to clean it all out about two weeks ago, so that's a minimal thing. But we're just getting a lot of rain.

CONAN: So it was a real cheery sight to see the mail truck?

SUSAN: Absolutely. I couldn't help but salute it as it went by.


CONAN: Susan, thanks very much for the phone call.

SUSAN: OK. Bye-bye.

CONAN: I hope you stay dry and safe. Let's go next to - this is Angelo. Angelo with us from Governor in New York.

ANGELO: Yeah, Gouverneur, New York, yeah. It looks like a normal fall day up here, just dark skies and little breeze and...

CONAN: And where is Governor?

ANGELO: ...chill in the air...

CONAN: Where exactly is Governor?

ANGELO: Gouverneur, that's about 40 miles north of Watertown.

CONAN: Oh, so way up in the north country there?

ANGELO: Yeah, up in the north country, yeah. Right next up - right up next to the west side of the Adirondacks.

CONAN: And as we look at the track that this storm is supposed to take, it may be a couple of days, but you should expect to see it.

ANGELO: Yeah. It's - they predict it's going to come up in Saint Lawrence Valley. Well, we'll wait and see.

CONAN: Wild weather, no stranger to the north country of Upstate New York.

ANGELO: Probably won't even notice.


CONAN: All right. Thanks very much for the phone call. Stay dry.

ANGELO: All right. Bye.

CONAN: Appreciate it. Let's go next to - this is Steve, and Steve is on the line with us from Tucson, Arizona.


CONAN: Hi. You're clearly not experiencing the storm in Tucson.

STEVE: Well, I'll tell you what we're having, a wonderful weather out here. But we have family from Maryland, and they were supposed to go home on Tuesday. And so they've been trying for the past couple of days to get their flight rescheduled, and it's messing up the airplane so much. They can't even get out of here until Friday, maybe Saturday.

CONAN: Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

STEVE: It's a wonderful thing for us...


STEVE: ...not for the income. Of course, they need to get back to work if there is a work anymore left over there.

CONAN: Well, work may be closed down tomorrow as well. But in any case, obviously, flight cancellations - well, we're hearing of flights being affected all the way, of course, from the other side of the Pacific to Europe as well and, of course, everywhere in this country just depending on where you're supposed to stage through.

STEVE: We're loving it. We got good weather, and we feel sorry for those people, I tell you.

CONAN: All right. Steve, thanks very much for the phone call.

STEVE: Thank you. Bye-bye.

CONAN: In Delaware, Dover Air Force Base has relocated some aircraft in anticipation of the storm. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has requested the base be used as a staging area for support and supply. Some residence of low-lying areas of the base have been ordered to evacuate. Let's see if we go next to - this is Sydney(ph). Sydney with us from Charlotte.

SYDNEY: Yeah. I'm from Richmond, Virginia, but I'm calling from Highway 85, Interstate 85. I'm headed toward Atlanta, and I'm near Charlotte, North Carolina. I was trying to run away from the storm, but I got really scared that I was running into a bad situation because I kept hearing about snow in the high altitudes and in northwest Carolina - and I just wasn't sure what - where I was, you know, if where I was going was going to be worst than where I was coming from.

CONAN: I could understand your confusion, but south, I think, is pretty safe.

SYDNEY: Well, I just want to let you know that I am encountering some unnerving gusts of wind that are blowing me around on the road. And they've let up a little bit, so I feel OK calling you. And also, it's raining, but local forecast says that that rain won't turn until so - until after midnight tonight. So I guess, I'm going to make it to Atlanta before the fecal matter hits the fan.


CONAN: Thank you for your discretion there, Sydney.

SYDNEY: All right.

CONAN: Appreciate the phone call. Here's an email from Arthur in Maywood, New Jersey: I'm in Jersey, but six miles west of the George Washington Bridge. We're kind of lucky here. Maywood is on the west side of the Hackensack River ridgeline. Squalls with gusts and rain, right now. I think the worst scenario for Maywood is lost of powers, some down trees. PSE&G, that's the local power company, of course, has been on top of our area. They started working on line last Monday and continued until Saturday. I'm hoping their efforts will allow us to lose power last and get it back first.

Well, we'll have to see how that works out. In the meantime, let's see if we can go to Marilyn. Marilyn on the line with us from Bowling Green in Kentucky.


CONAN: Hi. You're on the air. Go ahead, please.

MARILYN: Hi. We are not used to continual gusty winds. Here in Bowling Green, we're having a beautiful day, 55 degrees and sun, but continual wind gust of 30- to 40-mile-an-hour range, which I realize is not really bad having been raised in Tampa, Florida, and out of school every single year within the first two weeks for a hurricane. The biggest one I ever went through was Donna back in '60s, so that's a long, long time ago. But...

CONAN: But those who went through it, that'll still the biggest one they ever went though.

MARILYN: Absolutely.

CONAN: That was a major storm.

MARILYN: One of the 10 most destructive in our history, so far. But Bowling Green is getting continual wind gusts. There's no break in the wind here, but it is very gusty, and that's a little unusual for this area. We do get winds, but not in the gusting-gale type - and, of course, we're not gale force yet. I don't think it will reach that high. But this is definitely a side effect of the hurricane since it is such a wide-reaching hurricane.

CONAN: And southeastern Kentucky expected to get snow.

MARILYN: That's what I've heard.

CONAN: All right. Well, Marilyn, I'm sure all your neighbors are appreciating the experience you can bring to this conversation.


MARILYN: Thank you.

CONAN: See you. Let's see if we go next to - this is Joan. Joan with us from Little Hocking in Ohio.

JOAN: Hi there.

CONAN: Hi. You're on the air. Go ahead, please.

JOAN: OK. Just calling. We have had continuous rain Saturday, Sunday and all day today. And I think most of this is coming from Canada, and we're just bracing ourselves from what's going to happen from Hurricane Sandy.

CONAN: So this was that winter storm that ran into Sandy that you're experiencing?

JOAN: God, yes. That's - the word's that it's supposed to happen tonight after midnight.

CONAN: And I just wonder, after unrelenting political advertising, is it a relief actually to watch the weather?

JOAN: Absolutely. I tried not watch any station that is continuous with the - I can't wait for this election to be over.


CONAN: Thanks very much for the call.

JOAN: Uh-huh. Thank you.

CONAN: Let's see, there's an email from Denton in Jacksonville, Florida: I'm a surfer in North Florida. We're getting clear, cold skies accompanied by clean, big wonderful waves. So, I guess, that's what happens after the storm has passed. You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. Steven's on line with us from Saint James in New York.

STEVEN: Hey, I was just calling. I'm listening to your show today, and I'm sitting in my car, watching the storm go by. It's gusty and all, lots of rain. And as I'm listening, a tree about four feet from car falls, lands on all the power lines on my neighbor's house. I nearly avoided death.

CONAN: And are - were those lines hot? Were they live?

STEVEN: No, no, no. They're live. Oh, yeah. I backed up car, and everybody got out of the house. I don't know how that helps, but we're watching it.

CONAN: Well, make sure everybody stays away from those lines, OK?

STEVEN: Absolutely.

CONAN: All right. I'm glad you escaped. Lot of wind and rain now?

STEVEN: Oh, actually, there's just quite been a continuous gust, I'd say, and, like I said, trees are falling all over out here now. This tree right here in front of me is, I'd say, a good, 30, 40-feet tall.

CONAN: Goodness. That's pretty dangerous if it fell over on your car.

STEVEN: Well, fortunately, it just missed. I, like, narrowly avoided it.

CONAN: Well, good - continued good luck to you, Steven.

STEVEN: Oh, thank you very much.

CONAN: Let's see if we can go next to - this is Debbie, and Debbie's on the line with us from Louisville - is this Louisville, Colorado?

DEBBIE: It's Louisville.

CONAN: Louisville.

DEBBIE: I don't why we pronounce it that way.


DEBBIE: But - and obviously, I'm not being affected. I'm reporting in for my daughter, who is in college in Boston. Boston has basically shut down for the day, too, and she says that it's just very calm there. Weather has come in bands. They've had winds, but not terrible. And torrential rain but then it stops. And there's been no storm surge yet from the ocean, either. So she's feeling like classes were canceled on the wrong day. They're probably going to get hit later in the day. But what I wanted to tell you that's funny, is that she works for WERS, which is their college radio station.

CONAN: At Emerson College, yes.

DEBBIE: At Emerson College, yes. And she's a DJ. And they called her and said, can you come in because - nobody can get there because the T is closed.

CONAN: Mass transit shut down, not only in Boston, but Philadelphia, Washington, New York, of course.

DEBBIE: Yeah. But - yeah, so they're not getting much there in Boston, right now. It's - they're saying it's supposed to hit later in the day. So she's thinking that they're probably going to have to cancel classes again tomorrow because that's when it's going to be worse.

CONAN: Well, thanks very much. And we hope she weathers the storm OK.

DEBBIE: Yeah. She's probably going to end up at the radio station for (unintelligible) hours.

CONAN: There are worse places to ride out this storm.

DEBBIE: Oh, yeah, definitely.

CONAN: But does she work in that storefront studio right there in the street?

DEBBIE: Yeah, right there.

CONAN: Yeah. All right. Well, hope it doesn't fly through the window.

DEBBIE: Yeah, exactly.

CONAN: Thanks for the call, Debbie.

DEBBIE: All right. OK. Bye-bye.

CONAN: By the way, Hurricane Sandy appears to be speeding up a little bit. Forecasters say the storm will make landfall by this evening, a little bit earlier than predicted. And let's see if we can go next to - this is Susan, Susan with us from Salisbury, Maryland, which is on the Delmarva Peninsula. That's the Eastern Shore, but sort of the middle of the Eastern Shore. But, Susan, go ahead.

SUSAN: Hi. Turns out we're not going to get landfall like we originally were thinking. It's further up Jersey, but it's still amazing even though we're not the landfall site.

CONAN: What's the wind like there?

SUSAN: The National Weather Services, it's only about maybe 40 miles an hour. But I live in an old two-story house, and the Pecan trees behind our house are probably twice as high as us. They're bending sideways. It's amazing to think that it's going to get twice as bad as this at its worst.

CONAN: And Salisbury, as I suggested, is pretty far inland. But you're on some waterways there.

SUSAN: We are. The Wicomico River comes right down to the middle of town, and so we can experience flooding just during a bad rainstorm. And we're under a state of emergency, and five or six zip codes in our area have been evacuated just because we're so low-lying.

CONAN: Well, continued good luck. Thanks very much. Hope those trees make it.

SUSAN: Thank you.

CONAN: Let's get one more caller in. And this is David, and David on line with us from Buffalo.

DAVID: Hi, yeah. I'm veteran of brutal weather - I'm from Buffalo, New York. And I'm blind and I just want to remind everyone, please don't be a hero, don't be macho. Like, I worked at a hospital during some very tough weather as a blind person. It, you know, essential jobs are really valuable, but don't be a hero. Just accept the fact that you may get your butt kicked.

CONAN: It's probably very good advice, Bob - excuse me, David, and as you say, Buffalo is sort of the home of severe weather.

DAVID: Well, I'm very used to it. And I gave up pride. And like I said, I've walked through brutal blizzards as a blind person. And it's just - it's not bad to stay home or to not think that you're so capable that you may regret it.

CONAN: David, thanks very much for the call and for the advice.

DAVID: You're welcome.

CONAN: Obviously, more on Hurricane Sandy on NPR News as coverage continues through the day. Thanks to everybody who called and emailed. Tomorrow: media critic Eric Deggans on his new book "Race-Baiter." Join us for that. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.