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Sea water floods the Ground Zero construction site, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in New York. Sandy continued on its path Monday, as the storm forced the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial markets, sending coastal residents fleeing, and threatening a dangerous mix of high winds and soaking rain. (AP Photo/ John Minchillo)
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Norwich families of people caught up in Hurricane Sandy in the US are today waking up anxiously to hear news of their loved ones caught up in the storm which has so far killed 13 people in the US and has already claimed at least 69 lives in the Caribbean.
The category one storm landed on the US east coast last night, with mass evacuations ordered, a state of emergency declared in nine states expected to be hit and millions of people affected.
Norfolk-based relatives of people living in the hurricane’s path spoke of their concern before the storm hit and include:
• The families of nearly 60 staff and students from Norwich School, based in Cathedral Close, face an uncertain return to the UK after their travel plans were disrupted by Sandy.
The group from Norwich School were forced to stay in Washington overnight after Sandy scuppered their plans.
The 51 sixth formers, along with seven members of staff, had been due to travel to New York as part of a trip for history, politics and art students, but were advised to wait for the storm to pass.
Speaking from Washington, assistant head Peter Goddard said: “The pupils are understandably disappointed as we should be in New York visiting the Empire State Building, but instead are held up in our hotel in DC.”
The early stages of the storm had disrupted part of their trip in Washington, but Mr Goddard said the students were still “remarkably positive and filling their time talking and resting”.
The cancellation of transatlantic flights could also delay the school party’s return, as airlines deal with a backlog of passengers.
• Teacher Kate Heley, 32, from Lakenham, who works at Loddon Junior School, who was concerned about the welfare of her friends and family in New York, including her 66-year-old mother, Ronnye Halfpern.
• Roger Cawdron, landlord of the Ribs of Beef pub, in Norwich’s Wensum Street, whose son James, 42, lives in midtown Manhattan with his wife and three-year-old son.
• Norwich City fans concerned about members of the New York Canaries’ supporters’ club based in the Big Apple.
Justin Koplin, 39, is chairman of the New York Canaries supporters’ club and lives on the upper west side of Manhattan.
He said: “As far as a weather event goes, this is the most threatening one in memory.
“I am lucky as in Manhattan most of the power lines are underground, but we are concerned if they voluntarily choose to cut the power in order to save the local grid due to flooding.”
He said that local transport and schools had been closed, and that his family had stocked up on essential supplies.
Around 375,000 New Yorkers were evacuated from lower Manhattan after warnings that an 11ft seawater surge could swamp the area, flooding the subway and damaging power lines, and there were early reports of power outages affecting up to 16,000 homes across the city.
Do you have a story about friends or family caught up in the Hurricane? Call reporter Mark Shields on 01603 772423, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436, email email@example.com
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