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With Hurricane Sandy set to make landfall in New Jersey, Jeff Master's at Weather Underground weighs in on Sandy's potential:

Last night's 9:30 pm EDT H*Wind analysis from NOAA's Hurricane Research Division put the destructive potential of Sandy's winds at a modest 2.6 on a scale of 0 to 6. However, the destructive potential of the storm surge was exceptionally high: 5.7 on a scale of 0 to 6. This is a higher destructive potential than any hurricane observed between 1969 - 2005, including Category 5 storms like Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Camille, and Andrew. The previous highest destructive potential for storm surge was 5.6 on a scale of 0 to 6, set during Hurricane Isabel of 2003. Sandy is now forecast to bring a near-record storm surge of 6 - 11 feet to Northern New Jersey and Long Island Sound, including the New York

...

 I give a 50% chance that Sandy's storm surge will end up flooding a portion of the New York City subway system.

Yahoo talks of President Obama's plans:

Obama canceled appearances in Prince William County, Va., on Monday, and Colorado Springs, Colo., on Tuesday so he could monitor Hurricane Sandy as it surges ashore. He did move up his planned Monday departure for Florida to Sunday night to beat the storm and planned a Monday stop in Youngstown, Ohio, before returning home to Washington.
New York to shut down Subway system.
The subway in the city that never sleeps will shut down Sunday night as officials brace for the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority will suspend subway service at 7 p.m., Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. The last commuter railroad trains will also leave at that time. And bus service will stop at 9 p.m., he said.

As people focus on the coastal regions, lets not forget the threat for inland flooding, and wind damage. Irene has a wind field larger than any storm on record, and tropical storm force winds extend 520 miles from the center.

8:42 AM PT: Some more from Masters:

An excellent September 2012 article in the New York Times titled, "New York Is Lagging as Seas and Risks Rise, Critics Warn" quoted Dr. Klaus H. Jacob, a research scientist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, on how lucky New York City got with Hurricane Irene. If the storm surge from Irene had been just one foot higher, "subway tunnels would have flooded, segments of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive and roads along the Hudson River would have turned into rivers, and sections of the commuter rail system would have been impassable or bereft of power," he said, and the subway tunnels under the Harlem and East Rivers would have been unusable for nearly a month, or longer, at an economic loss of about $55 billion. Dr. Jacob is an adviser to the city on climate change, and an author of the 2011 state study that laid out the flooding prospects. “We’ve been extremely lucky,” he said. “I’m disappointed that the political process hasn’t recognized that we’re playing Russian roulette.”
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