Sandy shutters Wall Street, NYC again

Cleanup begins as hurricane's remnants move on. Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, October 30, 2012 – Mother Nature celebrated Halloween a bit early this year, as Hurricane Sandy blew ashore in New Jersey Monday evening spreading havoc and destruction from New England to Virginia before heading inland to do the same.

Power outages continue to be extensive today, particularly in New York City, the Jersey Shore, and adjacent coastal areas that took direct hits as the Category 1 hurricane barreled ashore. Infrastructure damage is widespread.

Waterlogged New York City found itself largely without power last night as Con Ed shut down power, particularly in downtown Manhattan, to stave off massive transformer explosions that were already beginning to occur as Sandy’s record storm surge overwhelmed defenses at power substations.

TrillianMedia posted a YouTube video of one spectacular explosion at one of Con Ed’s NYC facilities, purportedly at E. 14th and FDR last night. An excerpt of this video appears below. At the three-minute mark, the dangerous situation erupts into a grim, grand finale.

As a result of power and safety issues related to problems related to this one—including flooded subway tunnels and crippled public transportation networks, Wall Street trading is currently shut down for a second day today after some limited trading in bonds and futures took place yesterday before the storm’s arrival. It’s still the intent of the exchanges to open Wednesday, but as of 12 noon EDT today, no final decision has been announced.

Given market closures, numerous earnings reports have been delayed, and some IPOs scheduled for this week may be postponed.

When trading re-opens, it’s likely to be volatile, and futures betting has been all over the boards since the exchanges were shuttered.

Down the road a bit, the Washington DC area took less of a hit than anticipated, with coastal Maryland and Baltimore bearing the brunt of the storm here. The Federal government is closed today for the second day in a row, but is likely to re-open tomorrow. Metro and some public transportation systems are planning to begin service again this afternoon.

The Awakening, inundated by the Potomac at National Harbor in PG County, Maryland. (Image posted on Twitter.)

Heading west from DC, much of West Virginia—particularly the Appalachian highlands—was blanketed in snow and is still in the midst of an immense, if periodic blizzard. Snowfalls at this point have exceeded two feet at higher elevations, and some ski resorts are considering opening early. Blizzards are a rare occurrence as a result of a hurricane’s inland path, but at this time of year, as temperatures cool, they’re not a surprise, given the substantial amount of precipitation spawned by tropical storms.

After anticipating significant downtime here in northern Virginia, the Maven is delighted to announce that, at least in his Reston Virginia neighborhood, power never actually went down last night when the winds and rain began to pick up. However, we were subject to severe “flickering” and brief brownouts. Even with surge protection, this kind of stuff is bad for computers anyway, so we shut our computers down last night as a precaution.

Blizzard conditions on U.S. 33 W. near Elkins, West Virginia. (AP)

Stability seems to have returned this afternoon, so we’ll start catching up on news, rumors, politics, etc., all of which may have considerable bearing on the eventual market open.

Unless we get a surprise power outage, we hope to be back here tomorrow discussing pent-up market action. Assuming that action is what we get. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, best of luck to residents of central and western Pennsylvania, which is already being inundated with rain, snow, and ice. According to NOAA’s Hurricane Center, which issued its last Sandy advisory today, the remnants of Sandy will amble toward Pittsburgh today and Buffalo tomorrow, passing over Lake Ontario and Canada by Thursday where the storm should gradually blow itself out as in continues north.


Final NOAA chart of Sandy’s progress, timestamped around 5 a.m., EDT today.

The author of this column maintains several active trading and investment portfolios and owns residential and investment real estate. He continues to own a position in IAU but dumped the Apple (AAPL) calls at roughly breakeven yesterday due to unmanageable volatility.

Positions mentioned above describe this author’s own investment decisions and should not be construed as either buy or sell recommendations. The current market is highly treacherous and all investors travel at their own risk, so caution should be exercised at all times.

Illustrations, charts, commentary, and analysis are only the author’s view of current or historical market activity and don’t constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any security or contract. Views, indications, and analysis aren’t necessarily predictive of any future market or government action. Rather they indicate the author’s opinion as to a range of possibilities that may occur going forward.

References to other reporters, analysts, pundits, or commentators are illustrative only and do not necessarily represent an endorsement of such individuals’ points of view. If specific investment vehicles are mentioned in any article under this column heading, the author will always fully disclose any active or contemplated investments in said vehicles.

Read more of Terry’s news and reviews at Curtain Up! in the Entertain Us neighborhood of the Washington Times Communities. For Terry’s investing and political insights, visit his Communities columns, The Prudent Man and Morning Market Maven, in Business.

Follow Terry on Twitter @terryp17


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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, movies and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was formerly the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2009) before moving online with Communities in 2010.  



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