Along the east coast, national parks are just beginning to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. Heavy winds, tidal surge, rain, and snow caused power outages and major damage across three regions. As of Tuesday night, 69 parks are closed or partially closed and are working to account for all employees. There are no reports of significant injuries or fatalities.
The NPS Emergency Incident Coordination Center is coordinating response by more than 100 NPS employees. Three NPS Type II incident management teams are preparing to deploy to affected areas. Two teams, the Eastern IMT in Hagerstown, Maryland, and the Midwest IMT in Columbus, Ohio, will move to Gateway National Recreation Area to focus on northern New Jersey and NY City/Harbor Parks, specifically employee safety and assistance, damage assessment, and emergency stabilization of NPS resources. The Intermountain IMT is fully staffed and prepared to deploy if requested.
While it will take some time before the full impact of Sandy is clear, following is a partial list of serious impacts known at this time:
- National Parks of New York Harbor – There is extensive flooding in Battery Park. Conditions at Castle Clinton are unknown as it is inaccessible. Con Edison is not sure when power will be restored. Subway and bus service is suspended. Most tunnels in/out of NYC are flooded.
- Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island – All electrical and mechanicals on Ellis Island are underwater; a fuel tank has been dislodged. Liberty Island may have lost all high voltage equipment.
- National Capital Region – All parks are closed with several reporting light damage and debris. Flooding is possible over the next week from rising water levels in rivers and streams.
- Assateague Island – Most of the island is still under water and will be until out of lunar cycle. Park will be closed on Wednesday. Walk-in campsites have been damaged, parking lots are covered with sand and Virginia parking lots sustained significant damage.
- Valley Forge National Historical Park/Hopewell Furnace - Both parks are without power. Major roadways are open at VAFO. Trees are down and debris is scattered, but no significant damage yet found to historic structures.
- Morristown – Closed, with hundreds of trees down.
- Governor's Island – One dock/pier is gone and buildings are filled with two to three feet of water.
- Fire Island – Roads are impassable and many dunes appear to be leveled. NPS boardwalks are washed out at several locations as is the Burma Road. Park headquarters appears to be ok and have power but is surrounded by water and areas with no power.
- Gateway – Damage from widespread overwashing. Sandy Hook is closed and inaccessible. There is damage to employees' homes and property damage at Breezy Point.
- New River Gorge –Significant snow accumulation (18-24") with more on the way. Widespread power outages.