WASHINGTON, October 29, 2012 – (UPDATING FROM EARLIER STORY.) The imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy has caused state and local officials to shut down public transportation systems in New Jersey, New York City and Washington DC. In addition, airports in the area will likely to be shut down at least through Tuesday with Philadelphia the most affected according to CNBC-TV repoerts as of 12:42 p.m. today. Certain coastal areas of the U.S. East Coast are being evacuated, and waves and beach erosion have already damaged portions of Atlantic City, NJ’s famous boardwalk. (UPDATE: 3 p.m. EDT, storm is speeding up, will hit NJ coast by 5-6 p.m.)
As a result of weather-related precautions, major U.S. exchanges will be closed for trading today and possibly Tuesday according to the most recent announcements made by the exchanges. Some bond and futures trading has been occurring today. According to CNBC online, “the CME Group [CME 55.42 – UNCH ] will trade futures electronically Monday until 9:15 a.m. EDT. All other electronic futures and option markets will remain open, including energy, metals, and agriculture, with the usual scheduled break between 5:15 p.m. and 6 p.m.” (UPDATE: CME has just announced it will NOT be open tomorrow, Tuesday, October 30. Some futures may continue trading on other exchanges. Reports are constantly changing.)
President Obama is currently (12:47 p.m. EDT) conducting a press briefing on the Federal government’s role in emergency operations. Critics complain that the president is trying to gain political points by inserting himself into operations, but it’s likely that a White House statement was appropriate at this point. In answer to a question from the press, the president has indicated that, at least at the moment, he doesn’t expect the storm to have an impact on next week’s election, adding that he’s more worried about families and businesses in the path of the storm.
The campaigns of both the President and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have been forced to reschedule several campaign appearances and events, particularly in Virginia, due to the incoming storm’s impact.
With regard to the Federal government, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has announced that the Federal government will be closed today. The shutdown may be extended into Tuesday. The President announced that constantly updated bulletins and updates to emergency perparedness are available at FEMA’s Ready.gov website.
Some reports expect gasoline prices—currently on their way down—to temporarily spike as many East Coast refineries are forced to either shut down or operate at reduced capacity.
When the markets finally reopen—thought by some to be as late as Thursday this week but likely Wednesday—they are likely to be volatile, so the Maven suggests traders and investors should be cautious, particularly at the opening bell. IPOs scheduled for this week may be postponed as a result of the storm.
Without any market action on tap—not to mention the probability that we, ourselves, may be out of power for a prolonged period of time commencing at some point today—this column will be on temporary hiatus. We had estimated maximum impact in the DC area where this column is written would begin to occur around noon today, but weather experts have pushed this back to some time after 5 p.m. today.
Locally, constantily updated storm and safety news is available at all-news radio station WTOP-FM (103.5 FM and other frequencies). In addition, according to “WTOP Storm Watch: To keep informed on the storm, download the WTOP app on your iPhone or Android. Listen live to WTOP from any phone at 202-380-9977. Follow @WTOP on Twitter for up-to-the-minute info.”
If we do lose power, our connectivity will be lost for an indefinite period. Washington Times Communities should remain up, but many columnists, including this one, will likely experience downtime. However, key Internet Exchange Point MAE East, located primarily in Vienna, Virginia; Reston, Virginia; Ashburn, Virginia; as well a New York, New York; and Miami, Florida, is likely to be relatively unaffected according to latest assessments due to re-routing capabilities as well as considerable backup power generation capacity.
Whatever the case, columnists in MIA status will be back as soon as U. S. exchange trading re-opens coupled with the availability of network connectivity in the DC metro area.
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