Hurricane Sandy wreaks havoc on US travel

Posted October 29, 2012 12:23 p.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2012 7:01 p.m. EDT

— Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on travel Monday as it moved northward along the eastern U.S. seaboard, prompting the cancellation of an estimated 7,500 flights and shutting down airports, train service, subways and buses throughout the Northeast.

At Raleigh-Durham International Airport Monday, an estimated 150 flights to and from Northeast destinations were canceled as of Monday evening, spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said, adding that cancellations are also expected Tuesday.

Most airlines are waiving fees for any changes because of Sandy, Hamlin said. More than 100 other flights departing and landing at RDU, with no connections to the Northeast, are on schedule, she added.

Amtrak has also suspended all service in the Northeast until Tuesday – from Boston south to Raleigh, as well as routes from the East Coast to Chicago, New Orleans and Florida. A few routes remained open, including service between Charlotte and Raleigh.

Sandy, a Category 1 hurricane with sustained winds of 90 mph Monday afternoon, was expected to hook inland Monday, colliding with a wintry storm moving in from the west and cold air streaming down from the Arctic, and then cut across into Pennsylvania and travel up through New York state.

Forecasters said the combination could bring close to a foot of rain in places, a potentially lethal storm surge of 4 to 11 feet across much of the region and punishing winds that could cause widespread power outages that last for days.

Authorities warned that New York could get hit with a surge of seawater that could swamp parts of lower Manhattan, flood subway tunnels and cripple the network of electrical and communications lines that are vital to the nation's financial center.

In North Carolina, Sandy brought light rain and diminishing winds to the coast, but more flooding on low-lying Hatteras and Ocracoke islands was expected with high tide.

The storm also caused travel problems along North Carolina's Outer Banks.

In Corolla, N.C. Highway 12 was clear, but the four-wheel drive beach road was not passable.

The state Department of Transportation closed the bridge over Oregon Inlet because inspectors determined a loose section of railing made it unsafe for traffic.