By David Palmer
The Cullman Times
The Cullman Red Cross Chapter is sending volunteers, supplies and disaster vehicles to lend eastern seaboard residents a hand as the former Hurricane Sandy unleashes high winds and flooding across New Jersey and New York.
By evening, Sandy had been downgraded to a post-tropical storm but continued to bring extensive problems to the eastern seaboard of the nation.
Cullman Red Cross executive director Mike Bates reported Monday that local volunteers Tia Barclay, Lisa Miller and Denise McClendon have already departed for the impacted area. Chris Reese and Mike Kastner are scheduled to leave Wednesday.
Sandy claimed dozens of lives in the Caribbean and has already been blamed for a trail of destruction from the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast. National Weatjer Service officials expected conditions to worsen in the Northeast as Sandy turns inshore and causes huge wave surges across the region. The extent of the flooding and wind damage is a matter of speculation at this time, but weather officials have been warning of devastating potential in this storm.
Cullman County Emergency Management Agency director Phyllis Little said the area should not expected to see severe weather from Sandy, but winds today east of Interstate 65 gusted up to 40 miles per hour. By today those gusts should level down to 15 to 25 miles per hour.
Little said the winds will continue to die down and by Wednesday the area should enjoy a mild day with the high in the low to mid 60s.
Anyone wanting to help with relief efforts through the Red Cross can visit www.redcross.com, call 1-800-REDCROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 on your cell phone to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to the local Red Cross office at 107 2nd Avenue NE, Cullman, AL 35055.
By 6 p.m. Monday, forecasters said Sandy was no longer a hurricane but remained a dangerous system taking dead aim at New Jersey and Delaware.
The National Hurricane Center said Monday evening that Sandy is a post-tropical storm and losing strength but still has sustained winds at 85 miles per hour. The eye had almost made landfall by early evening.
The center says storm surge has reached heights of 12.4 feet at Kings Point, N.Y.
Gaining speed and power through the day, the storm knocked out electricity to more than 1.5 million people and figured to upend life for tens of millions more. It clobbered the boarded-up big cities of the Northeast corridor, from Washington and Baltimore to Philadelphia, New York and Boston, with stinging rain and gusts of more than 85 miles per hour.
* Some information for this article was contributed from The Associated Press.