The last time a major hurricane hit U.S. shores, it made a star out of Anderson Cooper.
The TV personality headed to New Orleans in 2005 to cover Hurricane Katrina, where he famously interrupted his interview with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) as she was giving the government props for its response to the disaster.
Replied Cooper: "For the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. ... I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are upset, and very angry, and very frustrated."
Now, it seems that Sandy is generating its own stars. Here are five breakouts so far:
While giving updates about the hurricane and visiting evacuation shelters, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been making sure he gets his message out to as many people as possible. To that end, he's not only spoken in Spanish but also has been accompanied by sign-language translator Calas. Many viewers have become obsessed with her, mostly because of her exaggerated facial expressions. "On Weather Channel, woman signing for Mayor Bloomberg during his hurricane press conference is stealing the show," tweeted Fox News Channel's Brit Hume. Quipped his network colleague, Andy Levy: "Watching the woman signing Bloomberg’s press conference. As far as I can tell, Godzilla is coming and we need Batman?" Watch video of Bloomberg and Calas below.
CNN's Velshi learned the hazards of the job on Monday while reporting live from Atlantic City, N.J. While talking to anchor Brooke Baldwin, Velshi was seen standing in the middle of a major street as winds nearly knocked him off his feet and cars approached behind him. Baldwin, who noted that "it's incredibly dangerous where you are," finally said cameras were cutting away from him to allow him to find a safe spot. CNN took some heat on Twitter -- " Dear @CNN, please let Ali Velshi GO INSIDE BEFORE HE BLOWS AWAY AND DIES," the Fug Girls tweeted -- but Velshi later defended himself and the network. "We've done this before, and we know how to keep safe," he said, as quoted by Huffington Post. Added Mark Frost, co-creator of Twin Peaks: "CNN clearly will not be satisfied until one of their reporters is swept out to sea." Watch the video of Velshi below.
The beloved star of Grease is a well-known name, but her profile has been given a major boost after Twitter exploded with jokes referencing her character in the 1978 movie musical, who also was named Sandy. "Who'd have thought the End of the World would be called Sandy?" author Salman Rushdie tweeted. "If this was a movie, would it be played by Olivia Newton-John?" Many even posted various images of the hurricane with images of Newton-John in character superimposed over it. One rendering, for example, shows Newton-John's face with the words "Hopelessly Devoted to Ruining Halloween." Another has several different images of the actress in character, with the images growing bigger as they head up the Eastern seaboard (see below). Incidentally, Newton-John has a holiday album coming out this with her Grease co-star John Travolta.
Sandy the Squirrel
The SpongeBob SquarePants rodent also has raised his profile in the pop culture lexicon, thanks to his moniker. The animal's face also has been superimposed over various hurricane images and shared on Twitter (see below). Joked musicians Nat and Alex Wolff on Sunday: "Guys why is the squirrel from sponge bob having a hurricane tomorrow? Sincerely, someone who still watches spongebob ***Alex***"
The New York City Skyline
As most of the Big Apple went dark on Monday night thanks to a Sandy-related explosion at a Con Ed power plant, many people were left with social media as their only option to communicate with the outside world. And one of the pictures making the rounds the most was one of the dark New York skyline, with only the Empire State Building light shining (see one below). "Whole east side of Manhattan just went black after a huge explosion. Empire State Building still lit," tweeted Joanna Simkin.