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Sandy Continues To Disrupt Lives As It Heads West


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Audie Cornish.

Sandy has spoken. Over the past 24 hours, the storm has swamped vast sections of the Jersey shore, crippled much of New York City and left more than 8 million Americans in the dark.

SIEGEL: Sandy is cutting deeper inland now across southern Pennsylvania and raking Chicago and Milwaukee with strong gusts. As President Obama put it today, this storm is not yet over and he gave this instruction to federal relief agencies.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I want you to cut through red tape. I want you to cut through bureaucracy. There's no excuse for inaction at this point. I want every agency to lean forward and to make sure that we are getting the resources where they're needed as quickly as possible.

SIEGEL: That's the president speaking at the Red Cross headquarters in Washington.

CORNISH: In a moment, we'll check in with our reporters in some of the areas hardest hit by Sandy in New York and New Jersey. But first, NPR's Joe Palca joins us for a quick update on the storm itself. And, Joe, Sandy was dropping buckets of rain, tons of snow over a widespread area of the East Coast. Is that still happening?

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Well, it's happening, but it's finishing up. Before Sandy gets out of town, they're expecting two to three feet in some of the higher areas of the Appalachian Mountains, one to two feet in some of the lower areas of snow. In the Mid-Atlantic states, there could be up to a foot of rain in some places. So a lot of people will remember this storm.

CORNISH: And is the storm surge that was causing so much of the coastal flooding in New York and New Jersey still a problem?

PALCA: Yes, but less so. There are still some trailing winds blowing onshore on the Atlantic Coast. And if these winds will continue to push water toward the coast, and if those - if that pushing movement coincides with the high tide, there could be some localized flooding that would be a problem.

CORNISH: And how much longer will Sandy be a dangerous storm?

PALCA: Well, the track now as it's coming across Pennsylvania, it's supposed to head north into western New York state and then head into Canada. It is definitely weakening. The winds are definitely less strong, as you said. Everything is beginning to end. But earlier this afternoon, Rick Knabb, who is the director of the National Hurricane Center, spoke with reporters and you'll be happy to know that he agreed with President Obama's conclusion that he doesn't want anyone to think that the event is anywhere near being over. And that's what weather people call a big storm, an event.

CORNISH: NPR's Joe Palca, thank you.

PALCA: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Audie Cornish
Over two decades of journalism, Audie Cornish has become a recognized and trusted voice on the airwaves as co-host of NPR's flagship news program, All Things Considered.
Joe Palca is a science correspondent for NPR. Since joining NPR in 1992, Palca has covered a range of science topics — everything from biomedical research to astronomy. He is currently focused on the eponymous series, "Joe's Big Idea." Stories in the series explore the minds and motivations of scientists and inventors. Palca is also the founder of NPR Scicommers – A science communication collective.