The worst of Hurricane Sandy (now a post-tropical cyclone) has passed in the New York City area, but the storm left behind a trail of destruction that was, in many ways, the worst the city has ever seen. As the sun rose on the East Coast Tuesday morning, millions of people were without power or transportation, stranded in temporary shelters, hotel rooms, or their homes, and anxious about the mess outside their doors. And there's more flooding expected from Virginia to Maine. Sandy is already "promised a legacy as one of the most damaging ever to menace the Northeast, from North Carolina to New England," says The Wall Street Journal. Here, a look at the toll Sandy has taken so far:
Overall, how bad is the damage?
Sandy is looking to be a very costly storm, with economic damages expected to exceed $20 billion. President Obama has declared New York City and Long Island federal disaster areas, giving the areas access to federal funds. "In New York City, the city was shut down, cut off, and in many places dark," says USA Today. A massive 13-foot-high storm surge — three feet above the previous record — walloped the city, flooding low-lying areas, subway and automobile tunnels, and setting cars afloat throughout lower Manhattan; several bridges connecting Manhattan to the wider world were closed due to high winds. Atlantic City and other towns along the Jersey Shore saw their streets turned into canals, and a blizzard dumped unseasonable snow in the mountains of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. "Sandy is unfolding as the Northeast's Katrina in terms of impact," says AccuWeather meteorologist Steve Wistar.
How many people have died?
So far, officials have blamed at least 16 deaths on Sandy: Five in New York, three each in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, two in Connecticut, and one in Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina. That's on top of the 69 people killed by the hurricane in the Caribbean.
How many people are without power?
About 7.5 million people in seven states found themselves without electricity Tuesday morning, including about 2 million each in New York and New Jersey. In Manhattan, ConEd preemptively shut down power in parts of lower Manhattan and then saw most of the rest of electricity below 39th Street cut off by flooding at substations and a dramatic explosion at a power plant on 14th Street. At least two nuclear power plants — Indian Point, 45 miles north of New York City, and Oyster Creek, in Lacey Township, N.J. — were shut down due to flooding.
What about hospitals?
Two New York City hospitals were evacuated after their backup power failed: Most critical patients had been removed from Coney Island Hospital before the storm, but NYU Langone Medical Center in midtown Manhattan was full; among the 200 patients evacuated were some 20 infants from neonatal intensive care who had to be carried down the stairs with support from battery-powered respirators.
Any other damage?
At least 50 homes in the flooded beach community of Breezy Point, at the end of the Rockaway peninsula in lower Queens, were destroyed by a fire. Firemen rescued residents in a boat, but the chest-high water prevented them from fighting the blaze.
New Jersey officials say that floodwaters broke through a dam or levee in Bergen County, flooding the towns of Moonachie, Little Ferrie, and Carlstadt.
The HMS Bounty, a three-masted replica of a "tall ship" used in the 1962 Marlon Brando film Mutiny on the Bounty (and more recently in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest), sank off the North Carolina coast; 14 crew members were rescued, one died, and the captain is still missing.