Sandy spares campus, pounds shoreline

By John Moritz and Ali Watkins

November 1, 2012

Temple was largely unscathed after taking on Hurricane Sandy in the late evening hours of Monday, Oct. 29. The system, which many news outlets have dubbed a “superstorm,” decimated areas in New Jersey, Delaware, and New York City, but left Philadelphia on its feet.

While Sandy left minor marks on campus, no major damages or incidents were reported. Downed tree limbs and minor water leaks were reported, but despite Philadelphia’s Frankenstorm frenzy, Sandy passed campus by without any major hazards.

Deputy Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone credited the university’s quick recovery to the extensive preparations and foresight practiced by the university community.

“The students remained inside being very patient and cooperative…Temple’s executive leadership remained here throughout the storm,” Leone said. “The Temple police, Facilities Management, Computer Services, Dining Services, and Student Affairs were all working together supporting our university throughout this emergency.”

Facilities personnel began the clean-up process early this morning, said Mark Gottlieb, superintendent of Service Operations. The university experienced continuing power outages at Ambler and Fort Washington campuses, but had restored power to Ambler by Tuesday night. However, Fort Washington remained without power Wednesday; professors from the campus were offered the option of holding classes at Ambler, said Ray Betzner, vice president of university communications.

No power outages were reported on Main Campus, Leone said.

Several damages on Main Campus included twisted, torn and missing Temple “T” flags that hang from lamp posts throughout campus. Leaves and tree limbs were scattered on Polett Walk and many other campus streets. On the corner of 12th Street and Cecil B. More Avenue, stops lights continued to flash green, yellow and red simultaneously to the confusion of drivers brave enough to test the storm. Another light, at the corner of 11th and Diamond streets was turned around by the wind. Leone said the Philadelphia Streets Department had been notified.

SEPTA reopened several transportation routes, including the Broad Street and Market-Frankord lines, 80 percent of bus routes in the city and several trolley lines, beginning at noon Tuesday. By Wednesday, the transportation authority had restored its Regional Rail line.

Throughout the region, high winds and storm surges decimated low lying coastal areas, and left millions on the East Coast without power. In New Jersey and Long Island, wind gusts peaked at 90 mph, according the National Weather Service. In New Jersey, the storm surge left many coastal towns such as Seaside Heights and Atlantic City under water. In New York City, subways and road tunnels were flooded with water hours after they were forced to shut down by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The storm knocked out power for 436,000 PECO costumers in the Philadelphia area, including 32,000 in the city, according to a company press release.

At least 50 people were killed as a result of the hurricane and subsequent storm in the United States.

Total losses from the storm could cost the U.S. up to $30 million, according to Eqecat, a risk consulting firm that specializes in catastrophes.

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