Kim Johnson on Tuesday surveys the destruction around her flooded apartment in Atlantic City, New Jersey—one of several southern New Jersey coastal communities that bore the brunt of Hurricane Sandy's storm surge Monday night. Rivers of seawater gushed down city streets, swamped buildings, and destroyed a section of the city's iconic boardwalk.
"The level of devastation at the Jersey Shore is unthinkable," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told reporters in a Tuesday morning briefing.
As of Tuesday, Sandy's U.S. death toll stood at 38, many of whom were victims of downed trees and hurricane-force winds that howled at up to 80 miles (129 kilometers) an hour. The disaster left more than 8.2 million people without power, and travel ground to a halt in, around, and above many Northeast cities.
A Monday-night video still from the New York/New Jersey Port Authority shows floodwater pouring down an elevator shaft and through the turnstiles of a Hoboken PATH rail station that typically sends commuters on their way to Manhattan.
The greater New York City transit system—the nation's largest—was hit with the worst damage in its 108-year history, and it's unclear when subways might run again. Far worse, at least ten New Yorkers lost their lives during the storm.
"The damage we suffered across the city is clearly extensive, and it will not be repaired overnight," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a Tuesday morning news conference, adding that the city "remains closed until further notice."
Dozens of flooded homes were destroyed by fire in Breezy Point, Queens, during a Monday night blaze in the midst of superstorm Sandy. Much of the neighborhood, on the tip of Rockaway Peninsula, was swamped by floodwaters—including the nearby station of the Roxbury fire fighters, who were unable to respond until the 4 feet (120 centimeters) of water surrounding their own trucks subsided.
"We saw the glow and we couldn’t do a thing," deputy fire chief Lou Satriano told the Wall Street Journal's Metropolis blog. Satriano added that roads were also swamped and the burning homes themselves were standing in several feet of water—all of which gave the blaze time to spread. "It was a domino effect. Houses just caught and caught and caught fire."
Photograph by Ramin Talaie, European Pressphoto Agency
… and Snow
Most people don't associate snowfall with former tropical storms. But Sandy buried parts of West Virginia and other elevated inland regions, stranding motorists, such as this ambulance driver on Highway 33 near Belington on Tuesday.
Accuweather meteorologists reported that cold air on the storm's west side delivered wet snow from North Carolina to Ohio. Redhouse, Maryland, reported a whopping 26 inches (66 centimeters). Other locations in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky all received more than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow.
The Manhattan Bridge spans not only the East River but also flooded streets in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn on Monday night. Some 750,000 New Yorkers were left without power by the storm, according to statements from the mayor's office, and at least ten New Yorkers are known to have lost their lives—a number New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said was likely to rise during Tuesday morning remarks. "Make no mistake about it, this was a devastating storm, maybe the worst that we have ever experienced," he said.
Medical workers at New York University's Tisch Hospital ease a patient into an ambulance Monday night. After the hospital's primary power supply and backup generator both failed, medical staff were forced to do a mass evacuation of critical patients—including 20 babies from the facility's neonatal intensive care unit. Throughout the stormy hours of Monday night and into Tuesday morning, doctors and nurses struggled to move the needy to fully operational hospitals even as they kept some patients alive with battery-powered respirators.
Atlantic City beaches, shown Monday evening, were washed out, and countless buildings flooded, even as some 6,000 of the city's 39,000 residents defied evacuation orders.
The storm brought up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) of flooding and gusts of 85 miles (137 kilometers) an hour, according to Mayor Lorenzo Langford. "Last night's high tide covered more than 85 percent of Atlantic City," Capt. Frank Brennan, of the Atlantic City Police Department told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Across the Garden State, Sandy left some 2.4 million people without power.
Cascades of seawater flood the ground zero construction site Monday night. Lower Manhattan was battered by a record wall of seawater, nearly 14 feet (4.3 meters) tall, which swamped much of the area.
The nearby New York Stock Exchange was closed on both Monday and Tuesday—the first two-day weather closure of the exchange since an 1888 blizzard. Sandy could end up costing U.S. $50 billion, according to some early estimates.
Photograph by John Minchillo, AP
In a Jam
A Hoboken, New Jersey, parking lot, full of yellow cabs, was swamped Monday by floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy.
Transportation was stalled across much of the U.S. Northeast early this week, thanks to the wind, rain, and flooding spawned by the massive storm. And ripple effects were felt worldwide, as airline flights were delayed and cancelled. A swirling engine of wind and water nearly a thousand miles (1,600 kilometers) wide, Sandy was so physically massive that it put some 50 million people in its direct path, from the U.S. mid-Atlantic region to Canada.
Photograph by Charles Sykes, AP
Last week Sandy passed through the Caribbean, leaving behind a trail of destruction in places such as Santiago, Cuba (pictured October 27).
As of Monday, Santiago remained without power or water, according to the Associated Press. "This was something I’ve never seen, something extremely intense, that left Santiago destroyed," physician Enrique Berdion told the AP. "Most homes have no roofs. The winds razed the parks, toppled all the trees. I think it will take years to recover."
Photograph by Desmond Boylan, Reuters
The facade of a four-story building in New York City collapsed to the sidewalk under an onslaught of Sandy's wind and water, leaving onlookers Monday night at 14th Street and Eighth Avenue to ponder the power of nature.
"This was really very frightening last night," New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo told Albany's Talk 1300 AM radio station. "The Hudson River was just pouring into the ground zero site. The pit was filling ... Some of biggest commercial buildings in the city, the basements were flooded. It was as bad as anything I have experienced, certainly in New York, and certainly that New Yorkers have experienced."
Photograph by John Minchillo, AP
The Undoso River topped its banks and flooded much of the Cuban village of Sagua La Grande, pictured Monday, when Sandy tore through the Caribbean late last week. Granma, the newspaper of Cuba's Communist Party, reported that more than 15,000 Cuban homes had been destroyed in the storm. Eleven Cubans are believed to have died, according to Associated Press reports—along with 52 people in Haiti, 2 in the Dominican Republic, and 1 each in Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
Photograph by Desmond Boylan, Reuters
Lower Manhattan Laid Low
Manhattan's Plaza Shops remained flooded Tuesday, the day after Sandy rocked New York City. Sandy's massive storm surge flooded Lower Manhattan and left much of the island in the dark and without power. With wreckage-strewn streets and a swamped transportation system recovery figures to take some time—even in this fast-moving metropolis.
Photograph by Allison Joyce, Getty Images
Bystanders watch a Kingston, Jamaica, home go up in smoke on October 26.
The fire highlights a common danger in the wake of storms like Sandy, which knocked out power to some 70 percent of all Jamaicans. Authorities said a faulty generator, used to produce electricity, started the blaze. Fortunately no injuries were reported in the incident.
Photograph by Gilbert Bellamy, Reuters
Surf was up—way up—as Sandy approached Ocean City, Maryland, on Monday. While authorities up and down the U.S. East Coast urged the evacuation of people in vulnerable areas, many chose to ride out the storm at home or even seek a closer view. Some regretted the decision.
"I had people call me at 2 a.m., hysterical, saying they wanted to leave," Ventnor City, New Jersey, Emergency Management Director William Melfi told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Photograph by Kevin Lamarque, Reuters
With the worst over Brenda Nasce inspects the flood damage to her Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, home on Tuesday. Across the northeastern United States, some fared far worse than Nasce, while others fared better. But few completely escaped the effects of Sandy—one of the largest storms ever to batter the region.
"It's a huge storm," said Miles Lawrence, a meteorologist for Early Alert, an emergency management consulting company in Florida, on Tuesday. "There's still weather down in Georgia—not severe weather—that is associated with this storm. It's covering a quarter of the country now."