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Updated: 10:18 a.m. Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 | Posted: 6:20 a.m. Monday, Oct. 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy | Metro Atlanta mock trial teams stranded in NYC



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Atlanta weather: Blustery morning drive photo
John Spink, jspink@ajc.com
While Metro Atlanta was dealing with a blustery morning, Hurricane Sandy grounded several flights along the east coast Monday and upended travel plans across the globe. Many travelers out of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were stranded as both domestic and international flights were cancelled due to the massive storm threat.
Atlanta weather: Blustery morning drive photo
John Spink, jspink@ajc.com
Emma Ngoh’s flight out of Atlanta to Maryland was cancelled Monday due to the threat of Hurricane Sandy along the east coast. Many travelers out of Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were stranded as both domestic and international flights were cancelled.
Atlanta weather: Blustery morning drive photo
John Spink, jspink@ajc.com
U.S. Army Pvt. Carter Savage flight to Baltimore was cancelled stranding him at Atlanta's airport as Hurricane Sandy grounded several flights along the east coast Monday and upended travel plans across the globe.

By Marcus K. Garner

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hurricane Sandy, set to strike the northeast Monday evening, is already being felt by metro Atlantans on the east coast and by people hoping to depart Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Dozens of flights from Atlanta to destinations along the East Coast were canceled, including most flights to Philadelphia, New York and other major cities.

And in the New York area, airports have shut down, stranding three metro Atlanta high school mock trial teams there competing this weekend in a world championship.

Jonesboro High School’s team, must curtail celebrating its fourth-place finish at home.

“We expected to do well in the competition,” team adviser Anna Cox said. “What we didn’t expect was to be riding out a hurricane in the Big Apple.”

The team was due to return home from New York City on Sunday.

Now they must wait for Sandy to provide a chance for them to fly home.

Teams from Grady High School and from the Atlanta International School are also trapped in New York, school officials said.

“It’s a worrying time, but they’re in great form,” said Atlanta International School head master Kevin Glass, who’s team finished fifth. “I suppose that when you’re 14, 15, 16, 17 or 18, this is a great adventure.”

Both the Jonesboro and the International School teams are staying in Brooklyn where federal emergency officials are based.

Cox said her team is safe and has plenty to eat.

“We are even staying at the same hotel as FEMA, so we feel pretty good about our situation,” she said.

Glass said his students now plan to return on Wednesday afternoon.

Back in Atlanta on Monday, flights going northeast were curtailed.

More than 60 flights from Hartsfield to east-coast destinations, including Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Hartford, Conn., Baltimore, and Newark, N.J., have been canceled.

Delta Air Lines officials canceled all flights to the New York City area and limited flying to other East Coast areas, according to the airline’s web site.

“Delta is targeting to restart by operations by late Tuesday morning across the region,” officials said.

Southwest Airlines has canceled 58 flights nationwide to the Atlantic region, and partner AirTrain Airways has pulled 23 flights, according to airline officials.

U.S. Army Pvt. Jeffery Spann, from Maine, is “hunkering down” with fellow soldiers at Hartsfield.

The group had been scheduled to fly to Baltimore and then to Germany for their first duty station assignment. Instead of heading overseas, they will be using vouchers to spend the next two nights at an Atlanta hotel.

“Right now we are just waiting. Not much you can do when it comes to natural forces.”

The so-called super storm is also affecting rail travel.

AmTrak canceled most train travel in the Northeast starting Monday, and everything north of New York starting Sunday night at 7 p.m.

In metro Atlanta, the cold, windy weather had students bundling up at area bus stops and drivers keeping both hands on the wheel.

Wind gusts were up to 33 mph this morning, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton said.

“Winds could be even stronger as we make our way through the day,” Minton said.

That might make for difficult driving as wind pushes across highways across metro Atlanta, according to Channel 2 traffic reporter Mark Arum.

“It’s a two-hands-on-the-wheel morning,” Arum said.

Those high winds also knocked out power to thousands of Georgians, but Georgia Power said that by 7 a.m. outages in the metro Atlanta area were down to about 400 and less than 1,000 statewide.

Minton said the high wind speeds are a residual effect of cold fronts out of the west meeting with Hurricane Sandy, which is expected to make landfall on the East Coast Monday evening.

Temperatures Monday morning were in the low to mid-40s around the metro area and are expected to reach highs in the low 50s.

Lows through Wednesday will be around 35 degrees, with highs reaching only the low 50 Monday and Tuesday under sunny skies. Highs will jump, however, to 60 on Wednesday, forecasters said.

Return for updates.

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