Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is sitting on go with respect to Hurricane Sandy – deemed Frankenstorm – with 800 stores in the path of destruction.
The hybrid storm, hurricane/noreaster is expected to impact the Atlantic states from North Carolina to Maine.
The Weather Channel reports all states east of the Mississippi River will feel Sandy’s presence over the next three days and hundreds of thousands are expected to lose power from high winds already battering the coastline.
As of 6:30 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 28) Wal-Mart had closed three stores along the Atlantic coast, one in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and two in New Jersey – Rio Grande and Bayonne, according to the company website.
“We’ve been monitoring the storm for the past week and have teams on the ground in those states in the path of the storm. We try and keep our stores open as long as possible to allow residents to get the supplies they need. But when a mandatory evacuation order issued we close them in time to allow our associates to seek safe shelter for them and their families,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Dianna Gee.
Sandy is expected to makes her way ashore between New Jersey and New York City around noon Monday (Oct. 29). Heavy flooding of more than a foot of water is expected to impact all the major cities in a half dozen states near the coastline.
Gee said the loss of power is a major threat and generators have been staged within a safe distance of the storm so they can moved into needed areas as quickly as possible after the storm.
Snow was already starting to fall in the higher elevations of North Carolina and Kentucky on Sunday evening (Oct. 29). Heavy snow bands are expected to dump several more feet of snow over the next day or so. Upstate New York is also in the path of the noreaster snow storm.
“We have made sure stores in those areas expecting winter storms were recently stocked with shovels and other items they will need when the storms hit,” Gee said. "Our store managers are empowered to help the communities that help us stay in business. They work closely with their local emergency responders to identify community needs and look for ways we can help."
New York City has shut down all mass transit systems and lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and several low lying boroughs have been evacuated. The New York Stock Exchange will not conduct floor trading on Monday, but the computer trading will continue as usual.
Economist Paul Walsh says the billion dollar storm will also impact the business world as corporate travel has virtually halted with respect to the entire Atlantic seaboard.
FlightAware.com reports more than 6,800 flights have been canceled as of Sunday evening. There were 1,251 flights canceled Sunday, another 5,559 flights have been scratched for Monday (Oct. 30).
Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport reports more than 60 flights – either direct or connecting to – New York, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia have been canceled through Monday, according to FlightAware.com
Walsh says retailers will no doubt be impacted by the large storm just as they have stocked shelves full for the upcoming holiday season.