There it is, awesome and awful.
Marbury's best wishes go out to everyone in New York and down the Eastern Seaboard today. I hope you are all in your boltholes with tins of baked beans and back issues of the New Yorker.
Despite the gravity of the situation, the dirty work of political prognostication cannot cease. Thus today we ask, who benefits from this October surprise, Romney or Obama?
There is a reasonable case for either. Romney may benefit because, of the two campaigns, his would be happiest if the weather conditions prevent some voters from voting early. This year about a third of the votes in the presidential election will be cast before election day. Both campaigns are putting enormous efforts in banking these early votes, but the campaign to whom they matter most is Obama's, because a lot of his votes come from groups who for various reasons are less likely to get around to voting on election day: the poor, African-Americans, Hispanics, busy mums. In other words, if Obama loses these votes this week he will never get them back. The weather may stop people going and physically voting where that applies (as opposed to mailing in) but more importantly it prevents the Obama minions from getting out around the neighbourhood to mobilise its reluctant voters. Among the battlegrounds, this may affect the outcome in Virginia and New Hampshire.
On the other hand, the storm allows Obama to look like a president. Of course, there's nothing he can do about the storm itself (the 2008 Obama might have stood on the Jersey beach and simply commanded the storm to turn back; the 2012 version is more likely to send Joe Biden out to negotiate a reduction in its destructive force from 5.8 to 4.8) but he can look like he's charge of the federal government's response to the crisis, and he will be seen playing father to the nation, offering solace to Sandy's unfortunate victims.
I don't mean to suggest Obama would be doing anything differently if he didn't have an election coming up, or indeed that he will be the focus of the nation's attention this week. But the brutal truth is that he will be a player in the scenes that unfold over the next few days, and Mitt Romney will not. And this, ultimately, is why the storm is bad news for the Romney campaign.
In news terms, Sandy is likely to remove at least three of the eight campaigning days left. Every day Romney isn't closing the gap is a day he loses.