Epic storm barrels down on US East Coast

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Photo taken on Oct. 29, 2012 shows an empty street in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the United States. [Xinhua]

Hurricane Sandy is on Monday churning its way towards the U.S. East Coast, poised to make landfall near Atlantic City on Jersey Shore in the evening. The city itself is like a ghost town, with casinos shuttered, tourists fled and many parts of the town inundated in knee-high water.

"I've been living in Atlantic City for 27 years, and this is the worst we've seen," a local pipe-fitter who only identified himself as Jim told Xinhua Monday afternoon near the city's famed boardwalk, as high wind with speed topping 40 miles an hour and sustained rain pounded the city street. He came out with some friends to the seaside to see the tide before the hurricane makes landfall, predicted later Monday night at somewhere in southern New Jersey, between Tom's River and Atlantic City.

Although the storm itself could be hundreds of miles wide, its current path is said to be the worst case scenario for New Jersey, which could be hit with 90-mile-per-hour wind and prolonged rain.

"We've got a lot of water in the bay from the high tide, but it never got out, so it'll be pretty bad in a few hours," said Jim.

Rain water and surging tide has already caught the city in crosshair. On Monday morning, by high tide around 8 a.m., 70 to 80 percent of the city was already underwater. Many streets were left impassable with several feet of water.

By Monday afternoon, Atlantic City was already like a ghost town. Its many casinos were closed and tourists evacuated. Several dozen people who left behind huddled in a downtown Sheraton, as satellite trucks from news channels swarmed the only major hotel in operation in the city.

The situation could get even worse in the evening, when the next high tide arrived at 8 or 9 p.m. The landfall of Sandy, coupled with the usually high tide of a full moon's night, could wreck havoc for the isolated island city.


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