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Sandy Leaves Trail of Death, Damp and Darkness

At least 16 U.S. deaths blamed on the storm; more than 7.4 million people without power
Updated Tuesday, Oct. 30, 6:35 a.m.

Lower Manhattan goes dark during superstorm Sandy, on Monday. (AP)

NEW YORK (AP) - As Superstorm Sandy marched slowly inland, millions along the East Coast awoke Tuesday without power or mass transit, with huge swaths of the nation's largest city unusually vacant and dark.

New York was among the hardest hit, with its financial heart in Lower Manhattan shuttered for a second day and seawater cascading into the still-gaping construction pit at the World Trade Center. President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in the city and Long Island.

The storm that made landfall in New Jersey on Monday evening with 80 mph sustained winds killed at least 16 people in seven states, cut power to more than 7.4 million homes and businesses from the Carolinas to Ohio, caused scares at two nuclear power plants and stopped the presidential campaign cold.

The massive storm reached well into the Midwest: Chicago officials warned residents to stay away from the Lake Michigan shore as the city prepares for winds of up to 60 mph and waves exceeding 24 feet well into Wednesday.

"This will be one for the record books," said John Miksad, senior vice president for electric operations at Consolidated Edison, which had more than 670,000 customers without power in and around New York City.

PHOTOS ON SKYE: Twitter Captures the Megastorm
An unprecedented 13-foot surge of seawater - 3 feet above the previous record - gushed into Gotham, inundating tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers Wall Street, and sent hospital patients and tourists scrambling for safety. Skyscrapers swayed and creaked in winds that partially toppled a crane 74 stories above Midtown.

Right before dawn, a handful of taxis were out on the streets, though there was an abundance of emergency and police vehicles.

Remnants of the former Category 1 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 massive storm - which caused wind warnings from Florida to Canada - will continue to bring heavy rain and local flooding, said Daniel Brown, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

As Hurricane Sandy closed in on the Northeast, it converged with a cold-weather system that turned it into a monstrous hybrid of rain and high wind - and even snow in West Virginia and other mountainous areas inland.

Just before it made landfall at 8 p.m. near Atlantic City, N.J., forecasters stripped Sandy of hurricane status - but the distinction was purely technical, based on its shape and internal temperature. It still packed hurricane-force wind, and forecasters were careful to say it was still dangerous to the tens of millions in its path.

While the hurricane's 90 mph winds registered as only a Category 1 on a scale of five, it packed "astoundingly low" barometric pressure, giving it terrific energy to push water inland, said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of meteorology at MIT.

RELATED ON SKYE: Mapping the Megastorm - Track it Live
Officials blamed at least 16 deaths on the converging storms - five in New York, three each in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, two in Connecticut, and one each in Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia. Three of the victims were children, one just 8 years old.

Sandy, which killed 69 people in the Caribbean before making its way up the Eastern Seaboard, began to hook left at midday Monday toward the New Jersey coast. Even before it made landfall, crashing waves had claimed an old, 50-foot piece of Atlantic City's world-famous Boardwalk.

"We are looking at the highest storm surges ever recorded" in the Northeast, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director for Weather Underground, a private forecasting service.

Sitting on the dangerous northeast wall of the storm, the New York metropolitan area got the worst of it.

An explosion at a ConEdison substation knocked out power to about 310,000 customers in Manhattan, said Miksad.

"We see a pop. The whole sky lights up," said Dani Hart, 30, who was watching the storm from the roof of her building in the Navy Yards.

"It sounded like the Fourth of July," Stephen Weisbrot said from his 10th-floor apartment.

New York University's Tisch Hospital was forced to evacuate 200 patients after its backup generator failed. NYU Medical Dean Robert Grossman said patients - among them 20 babies from neonatal intensive care that were on battery-powered respirators - had to be carried down staircases and to dozens of waiting ambulances.

Not only was the subway shut down, but the Holland Tunnel connecting New York to New Jersey was closed, as was a tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and several other spans were closed due to high winds.

RELATED ON SKYE: Watch: Facade of NYC Building Collapses During Superstorm

A construction crane atop a $1.5 billion luxury high-rise in midtown Manhattan collapsed in high winds and dangled precariously. Thousands of people were ordered to leave several nearby buildings as a precaution, including 900 guests at the ultramodern Le Parker Meridien hotel.

Alice Goldberg, 15, a tourist from Paris, was watching television in the hotel - whose slogan is "Uptown, Not Uptight" - when a voice came over the loudspeaker and told everyone to leave.

"They said to take only what we needed, and leave the rest, because we'll come back in two or three days," she said as she and hundreds of others gathered in the luggage-strewn marble lobby. "I hope so."

Trading at the New York Stock Exchange was canceled again Tuesday - the first time the exchange suspended operations for two consecutive days due to weather since an 1888 blizzard struck the city.

Fire destroyed at least 50 homes Monday night in a flooded neighborhood in the Breezy Point section of the borough of Queens, where the Rockaway peninsula juts into the Atlantic Ocean. Firefighters told WABC-TV that they had to use a boat to rescue residents because the water was chest high on the street. About 25 people were trapped in one home, with two injuries reported.

Airlines canceled around 12,500 flights because of the storm, a number that was expected to grow.

RELATED ON SKYE: Watch: Massive NYC Transformer Explosion

Off North Carolina, not far from an area known as "the Graveyard of the Atlantic," a replica of the 18th-century sailing ship HMS Bounty that was built for the 1962 Marlon Brando movie "Mutiny on the Bounty" sank when her diesel engine and bilge pumps failed. Coast Guard helicopters plucked 14 crew members from rubber lifeboats bobbing in 18-foot seas.

A 15th crew member who was found unresponsive several hours after the others was later pronounced dead. The Bounty's captain was still missing.

One of the units at Indian Point, a nuclear power plant about 45 miles north of New York City, was shut down around 10:45 p.m. Monday because of external electrical grid issues, said Entergy Corp., which operates the plant. The company said there was no risk to employees or the public.

And officials declared an "unusual event" at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey Township, N.J., the nation's oldest, when waters surged to 6 feet above sea level during the evening. Within two hours, the situation at the reactor - which was offline for regular maintenance - was upgraded to an alert, the second-lowest in a four-tiered warning system. Oyster Creek provides 9 percent of the state's electricity.

In Baltimore, fire officials said four unoccupied rowhouses collapsed in the storm, sending debris into the street but causing no injuries. Meanwhile, a blizzard in far western Maryland caused a pileup of tractor-trailers that blocked the westbound lanes of Interstate 68 on slippery Big Savage Mountain near the town of Finzel.

"It's like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs up here," said Bill Wiltson, a Maryland State Police dispatcher.

RELATED ON SKYE: Nuclear Plant Shuts Down Unit as Storm Approaches

Hundreds of miles from the storm's center, gusts topping 60 mph prompted officials to close the port of Portland, Maine, and scaring away several cruise ships. A state of emergency in New Hampshire prompted Vice President Joe Biden to cancel a rally in Keene and Republican nominee Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, to call off her bus tour through the Granite State.

About 360,000 people in 30 Connecticut towns were urged to leave their homes under mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders. Christi McEldowney was among those who fled to a Fairfield shelter. She and other families brought tents for their children to play in.

"There's something about this storm," she said. "I feel it deep inside."

Despite dire warnings and evacuation orders that began Saturday, many stayed put.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie - whose own family had to move to the executive mansion after his home in Mendham, far from the storm's center, lost power - criticized the mayor of Atlantic City for opening shelters there instead of forcing people out.

Eugenia Buono, 77, and her neighbor, Elaine DiCandio, 76, were among several dozen people who took shelter at South Kingstown High School in Narragansett, R.I. They live on Harbor Island, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway.

"I'm not an idiot," said Buono, who survived hurricanes Carol in 1954 and Bob in 1991. "People are very foolish if they don't leave."

PHOTOS ON SKYE: Rare Superstorm Slams East Coast

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snpr6365

“Sending all the family's that have lost there loved 1's in this Hurricane,

Father, this is an easy verse to say, but a harder one to live. You tell us to be anxious for nothing, but to make our requests known to You through thanksgiving. O Father, in Thanksgiving, we say in advance, Thank You, for all You are going accomplish through ¡Sandy! Souls. Lives. Healing. Homes. Relationships. Reconciliation’s. Restorations. Building. Bonding. Fellowship.Strength.Endurance. Service. Giving. Hope. Faith. Love. Peace. Joy. Purpose. Meaning. Trust. Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy. Life. Rest. Tears. Laughter. Memories. Blessings beyond compare!. In Jesus’ Name.

--Via AT&T iPad--

October 30 2012 at 8:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
STEVE

anyone know how Patchogue (on the bay Long Island) is?

October 30 2012 at 7:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pauldia

OBAMA EMAIL DURING HURRICANE: 'GOT A PHONE? GET HIS BACK'

As Hurricane Sandy rocks the east coast, the Obama campaign soldiers on via email. Tasteless email. With millions out of power, the Obama campaign sent an email this evening with the following text:
GOT A PHONE? GET HIS BACK. CALL.BARACKOBAMA.COM
If you have a phone, don’t call your loved ones to ensure they’re safe. Call up a random person and push for Barack Obama. Because when the weather gets tough, the tough stump for Obama’s re-election.

October 30 2012 at 7:11 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pauldia's comment
loochief

We are happy to "get the President's back" .... while he looks after others.
Your "fake" commiseration for "victims of Hurricane Sandy" is like your side's loudly proclaimed sympathy for our "war heroes".

FAKE because you plan to vote (AGAIN) for the party that sent Americans off to fight a bogus war.
A war based on lies. A war which provided vast wealth for a minority while plunging the country into massive debt. A war which cost the majority their jobs, homes, health insurance, savings and WORST of all .. it cost
SIX THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED TWENTY SIX AMERICAN LIVES !!
That's FAKE "sympathy" !
What would your candidates do for "victims" of Sandy or any future
disasters ?
Well, Ryan's budget cuts funding by 62% for community and regional development, including disaster aid and insurance. ( check my facts ... not much sympathy or help from Ryan !)
Ryan's "compassionate conservative" plan, requires massive cuts to discretionary spending, and includes everything but entitlements. The cuts will affect the Dept. of Homeland Security and disaster relief programs under FEMA.

And here's how we find the truth despite hearing that, as usual :
"Romney refused to answer reporters' questions about how he would handle the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), after a Tuesday 'storm relief' event in Ohio for Hurricane Sandy."
Nothing new !
Romney has refused answers throughout his campaign.
Ever ask yourself .... Why?
Because, if he provided answers, he could NEVER move up to the one piece of real-estate he covets above all his other homes.
He has no reason to provide answers, plans, tax records, anything, as long as people like you are prepared to blindly follow behind ...... like the children who followed the Pied Piper !!
Oh, I forgot, Ann Romney had the answer at one of those famous fundraisers which Romneys call "experience in the REAL world" !!
Ann said:
"This is a frightening world, and we need a grown-up ........ So I'm glad…Mitt is grown up to you all."

There, simple! Problem solved. The Romneys provided you with your very own Pied Piper; Mitt ...." the grown-up"
No questions. The "grown-up" is in charge!

How would "grown-up"Mitt help the victims of Sandy .. or any natural disaster in the future ?
Romney's budget plan would lead to across-the-board cuts that would reduce FEMA's budget between 34 percent and 53 percent.
In August the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote that Ryan's budget would likely dump the cost of dealing with disasters on state and local governments.
That's in line with policy advocated by Mitt -the-grown-up at a GOP candidates' debate last year.
He said it was "immoral" for the federal government to play a significant role in disaster relief at a time of high budget deficits.
Pressed by John King (CNN) whether he'd really send disaster relief to the States.
Romney replied: "it's immoral in my view....."
Government help for those who need it is IMMORAL in Romneyland !

October 30 2012 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ruth Hollon Hillard

u need to be praying for others .......not talking about damn thing's that HUMAN has thing to do with

October 30 2012 at 7:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fit4me123

THE EAST COAST NEEDED A WAKE UP CALL!!!! THEY NEED TO SLOW DOWN THE FAST PAISTE LIFE AND START BEILIVING IN OUR CREATOR THE LORD!!! HE IS ALIVE AND HE IS COMING ANGAIN!!!

October 30 2012 at 7:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to fit4me123's comment
mardavida

You need to wake up and learn to spell and type!

October 30 2012 at 7:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mardavida's comment
hughjeffe

Hilarious.

October 30 2012 at 3:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Gene

fit4me 123 yet another victim of religious brainwashing... perhaps it is you who needs a wake up call.

October 30 2012 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Sandy like this summer's drought have been brought to you via the GOP. Climate scientists predicted long ago storms would be worse and bigger, Sandy was both. As long as Republicans are elected to Congress, nothing will be done to mitigate the effects of global warming, expect more and bigger storms in the future.

October 30 2012 at 6:32 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mike's comment
jmw63049

was it Bush again?

October 30 2012 at 7:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vcat56

Really Mike? Do the republicans also bring the Tsunamis to the far east? Do they bring the earthquakes that have been going on for thousands of years to the west coast of the US? What a stupid comment. And of course, no democrats ever drive cars, ride in planes or trains, live in houses made out of timber and heated with natural gas, oil, or coal. You dear sir, are quite the idiot!

October 30 2012 at 7:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Janet Rockett

I sure hope everyone was prepared and cautious. Hurricanes are dangerous no matter the category. Flooding can happen from just tropical storms. I went through many, but Ike was the worst. Was without electricity for almost 10 days. It really sucks to be without it and I live in the country, was able to camp it out. I can only imagine what it would like to not have electricity in New York...

October 30 2012 at 6:23 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
haronadrian

We the people from Nepal- Land of Mt Everest is praying for you all for Gods protection during this time of Need....Psalm 91...Blessings...
Ps Haron Adrian

October 30 2012 at 5:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
powermetal2000

Megastorm? Superstorm? While Sandy has caused a lot of flooding , no matter how you look at it, a Category 1 hurricane is NOT a superstorm. Katrina (a Category 5) was a superstorm. As of now Sandy is no longer a hurricane, but a tropical storm.

October 30 2012 at 5:24 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to powermetal2000's comment
Kimmi

It wasn't because it was just hurricane. It was two storms merging together - a hurricane and NorEaster

October 30 2012 at 6:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Elizabeth Revaed

What planet do you live on? Didn't enough people die, or has not enough damage been caused to satisfy you personally? There are several states that would disagree with you?

October 30 2012 at 6:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
gerrysteere

for the person who wants to know where God was when the holocust took place or the crusades, etc. he was in the same place He was in when His son was crucified. he promised if we obey Him He would bless our land but if we did not obey him our land would be cursed. i believe t his is a result of taking prayer out of schools and our president saying this is no longer a Christian nation.

October 30 2012 at 5:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to gerrysteere's comment
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