Hurricane Sandy Update: 8.2 Million Without Power, Live Stream Storm Path
The worst of Hurricane Sandy may have past, but the storm's wrath is far from over. More than 8.2 million people across the East are without power. More than 15,000 flights were cancelled by airlines around the world. And the New York City subway system - the largest public transportation system in the U.S. - is closed for "at least the next four to five days."
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Early the morning of Oct. 30 President Barack Obama declared New York and Long Island a major disaster area, making federal funding available to people in the area.
Lower Manhattan was among the worst hit areas after the storm sent a record-setting nearly 14-foot surge of seawater coursing over its seawalls and highways and into low-lying streets.
By noon Tuesday, all bridges connecting New York City with its surrounding areas had reopened with the exception of the Rockaway bridges. The Holland Tunnel and Brooklyn-Battery tunnel remained closed due to flooding. The Lincoln Tunnel is now open.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the Army Corps of engineers is sending its best national team to New York.
"We need them very badly," he said.
The death toll climbed rapidly to 35 today, including 17 victims in New York State - 10 of them in New York City - along with five dead in Pennsylvania and three in New Jersey. Sandy reportedly killed 69 people in the Caribbean before making its way up the Eastern Seaboard, according to CBS News.
Some of the deaths include two children, 11 and 13, who were killed in North Salem. The two boys were playing outside a small shack when a 3-foot-long tree came crashing down.
Another person was killed in an accident in Queens and a woman was found dead at 134th Street and 105th Avenue. According to fire officials she was electrocuted.
National Guard troops continue to conduct rescue missions of people trapped in their homes. In New York City, Long Island and Westchester, the National Guard conducted 156 rescue missions, Cuomo said.
In New Jersey, Sandy destroyed several blocks of Atlantic City's world-famous boardwalk and wrecked several other boardwalks up and down the coast. A Seaside Heights roller coaster was left partially submerged in the ocean.
Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that the megastorm caused "a major disaster" in the Garden State.
"I've gone through Irene, the October snow storm, the blizzard in 2010 - this is by far the worst thing we've gone through."
Where Sandy is headed next
Remnants of the hurricane were forecast to head across Pennsylvania before taking another sharp turn into western New York by Wednesday morning. Although weakening as it goes, the storm will continue to bring heavy rain and flooding, said Daniel Brown of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
About 360,000 people in 30 Connecticut towns were urged to leave their homes under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders.
In New York alone, about 1.8 million customers are without electricity.
An explosion at a Con Edison substation knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers in Manhattan, officials said.
"We had about 6,500 people out in Manhattan before that event. After that event, we spiked to a quarter-million people," said Con Ed spokesman Bob McGee.
It could be several days to a week before all residents who lost power during the storm get their lights back, officials said.
"This will be one for the record books," said John Miksad, senior vice president for electric operations at Consolidated Edison. "This will be the largest storm-related outage in our history."
New York City Subway Closed
"We knew that this was going to be a very dangerous storm, and the storm has met our expectations," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "This is a once-in-a-long-time storm."
Hurricane Sandy began as one storm but coalesced with two wintry systems to become a huge hybrid storm - many deemed "Frankenstorm" - whose center smashed ashore late Monday in Atlantic City, New Jersey. According to weather analysts, New York City was perfectly positioned to absorb the worst of its storm surge.
The city's transit system suffered unprecedented damage, from the underground subway tunnels to commuter rails to bus garages, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Tuesday.
"We have no idea how long it's going to take," spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said.
All 10 subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn were flooded during the storm, as the saltwater surge overtook signals, switches and third rails and covered tracks with sludge, she said.
The entire system wasn't flooded and the MTA was already pumping water Tuesday. Workers ultimately will have to walk all the hundreds of miles of track to inspect it, she said, and it wasn't clear how long that would take. Trains had been moved to safety before the storm.
Joseph Lhota, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said the damage was the worst in the 108-year history of the New York subway.
"Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system, in every borough and county of the region," Lhota said.