Hurricane Sandy: Apple closes up to 50 stores, Google cancels Nexus media event, crisis maps

Hurricane Sandy is piling up the water as it’s on track for a historic hit on the East Coast of the United States. President Obama has declared state of emergency in New York, suspending subway and bus service, closing schools on Monday and scheduling the Holland and Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to also close at 2pm today.

When it became clear that Sandy would make landfall on the East Coast, Google cancelled its previously scheduled October 29 press conference, postponing the launch of promising new Nexus smartphones and tablets. Dozens of Apple Stores along the East Coast will likely be affected, with many outlets taking precautionary measures in order to protect the products, store space itself and staffers. Several Apple Stores have also been spotted using sandbags as a precaution to protect their storefront from damage…

For our readers overseas who may not be aware of the destructive potential of this imminent storm, Sandy is now officially classed as a category-1 hurricane. It’s expected to bring life-threatening flooding to the US mid-Atlantic coast and hurricane-force winds from Virginia to Massachusetts, Monday evening and into Tuesday.

According to ifoAppleStore, a minimum of 35 Apple retail stores are located within the landfall prediction zone, as defined by the National Weather Service. Jake Smith of 9to5Mac points us to images on Twitter showing Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue Store in New York on lockdown as the hurricane approaches.

The storefront is being blocked off with sandbags. Inside the store, employees use plastic bags to protect MacBooks, iPads, iPhones and iPads from water damage.

Image via CNN producer Jonathan Wald

The Fifth Avenue store features a subterranean retail space, complicating the situation for staffers. No wonder Apple is thinking about temporarily closing this store.

According to the author:

We learned Apple Stores on the East Coast are warning its employees that stores may be closed Monday and Tuesday – depending how the weather pans out.

Here are the sanbags protecting the storefront of Apple’s retail store in Philadelphia.

Image via Vince Lattanzio

Google also cancelled its Android event due to Hurricane Sandy, providing this statement to The Verge:

We are canceling our Monday morning event in New York due to Hurricane Sandy. We will let you know our plans as soon as we know more.

Here’s live reporting on Hurricane Sandy as it impacts the East Coast, from The Weather Channel.

You can also visit the Google Crisis Map for latest on the Sandy, including  a river flood outlook, storm surge probabilities and the locations of evacuation routes and emergency shelters. Check out Google’s blog post for more info and useful links.

Also handy: an interactive map of Hurricane Sandy and Apple Stores, seen below.

To view this map on your own computer, download a Google Earth .kml file to your Mac or PC and double-click the file to display the map in the Google Earth app, which can be downloaded free of charge from Google here.

This map is basically a three-day prediction zone of the Hurricane Sandy and Apple store locations.

Seattle PI has a state-by-state look at this superstorm. You may also be interested in a new website called Instacane which follows Hurricane Sandy through the eyes of Instagram. Last but not the least, Cult of Mac has a nice list of seven apps that can help you survive Hurricane Sandy.

Everybody stay safe.