PHOTOS: REUTERS, NY1, GETTY
Much of lower Manhattan is shrouded in darkness and hundreds of thousands of people across the New York metropolitan area are without power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Dozens are dead across the U.S., at least 70 were killed in the Caribbean, millions are without power and thousands need rescue as the storm heads into the Great Lakes and into Canada.
The storm damage was projected at $20 billion, "meaning it could prove to be one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history," reports the New York Daily News.
The devastation includes massive flooding, transportation outages, flooded tunnels and a wind-swept fire that claimed dozens of homes in the New York City borough of Queens.
At least 80 flooded homes were destroyed by a fast moving blaze in Breezy Point, Queens "before firefighters, some battling flames while standing neck deep in floodwaters, got it under control," reports NBC 4.
The six-alarm blaze was contained by 11A Tuesday, a full 12 hours after it was first reported. It erupted in a flooded Zone A area during a peak part of the superstorm and nearly 200 firefighters responded. "The winds were just devastating, blowing from one building to the next one," [Mayor Michael] Bloomberg said. City officials say it appears most of the area had been evacuated prior to the fire and no serious injuries have been reported.
A 13-foot surge of seawater at slammed the city, flooding its tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers lower Manhattan. Bridges remained closed and seven subway tunnels under the East River remained flooded, reports the New York Times.
The storm was the most destructive in the 108-year history of New York City’s subway system, said Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, in an early morning statement. “We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery,” he said, but did not provide a timetable for restoring transit service to a paralyzed city.
As the storm lashed the city, waves topped the sea wall in the financial district in Manhattan, sending cars floating down streets. West Street, along the western edge of Lower Manhattan, looked like a river. The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, known officially as the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel in memory of a former governor, flooded “from end to end,” the MTA said, hours after Governor Cuomo ordered it closed to traffic. Officials said water also seeped into seven subway tunnels under the East River.
After the flooding: The power blackout.
Consolidated Edison said that as of 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, 634,000 customers in New York City and Westchester County were without power. Con Edison, fearing damage to its electrical equipment, shut down power pre-emptively in sections of Lower Manhattan on Monday evening, and then, at 8:30 p.m., an unplanned failure, probably caused by flooding in substations, knocked out power to most of Manhattan below Midtown, about 250,000 customers. Later, an explosion at a Con Ed substation on East 14th Street knocked out power to another 250,000 customers.
These last two images from Atlantic City, New Jersey. "Much of the city is underwater" and "parts of the famed historic boardwalk were washed" away by the ferocious superstorm.
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