Sandy demands resources, tests the nerves of travelers in El Paso

El Paso, Texas - Sandy touched down near Atlantic City, N.J. Monday evening as a post-tropical cyclone instead of a hurricane. Despite its reclassification, the superstorm is already demanding resources and testing the nerves of travelers thousands of miles away, in El Paso.  

UTEP student Lanre Tanimola and his brother were flying into El Paso from Philadelphia when they got stranded. Tanimola blames Sandy. "Because of the hurricane they had to delay the flight from Philadelphia," said Tanimola. "We got to Dallas late that night and we couldn't get another flight to El Paso, so we had to wait until today."

A few flights through El Paso International Airport were delayed as of Monday evening, including flight from Dalllas Fort Worth carrying Tanimola and his brother. Tanimola said even though he arrived in El Paso later than expected, he's happy to be home.

The 95 scheduled Monday departures from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport that were canceled amounted to fewer than 20 percent of the day's schedule. DFW spokeswoman Sarah McDaniel said 93 scheduled arrivals also were canceled.

The cancellations involved flights from and to Eastern Seaboard airports from Washington to Boston.

Major carriers such as American Airlines, United and Delta canceled all flights into and out of three area airports in New York, the nation's busiest airspace. According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, nearly 10,000 flights have been canceled for today and tomorrow, almost all related to the storm.

"The effects are going to be lingering for weeks," said El Paso Red Cross Executive Director Mark Matthys. "We're hearing it could take a month for that area to recover."

Matthys said the El Paso Area Red Cross will be sending volunteers to help provide relief from the superstorm, adding to more than 1,000 Red Cross disaster workers from all over the country who've already been dispatched to storm-ravaged portions of the East Coast.

Sunday night, thousands of people stayed over in 112 Red Cross shelters from Maryland all the way up to Massachusetts. Matthys said depending on the storm's severity, El Paso could end up sending two or three waves of volunteers over the coming weeks.

"It's a very expensive operation; we're spending a lot of money for food and to operate the shelters," said Matthys. "It's being paid for by good-hearted people like you and me, through donations."  

Monday afternoon, El Paso Electric announced they had received a request to send crews to help in the restoration of power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the northeast storms.

According to a news release, El Paso Electric is making preparations to send three crews, approximately 17 people, in addition to bucket trucks, boom trucks and other equipment to assist Baltimore Gas and Electric. The company serves approximately 1.2 million electric customers in a 2,300-square-mile area encompassing Baltimore City and all or part of 10 Central Maryland counties.

Click here to donate to the American Red Cross.

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