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Tom McCarthy in New York and Haroon Siddique, Tuesday 30th October 2012 12:32
We're going to wrap up our live blog coverage of the aftermath of super-storm Sandy for the day.
• The death toll in the United States now stands at 48, including 18 in New York.
• As many as 8.5 million households in 17 states were without power earlier this afternoon. Every coastal state experienced flooding. The president declared a "major disaster" in New Jersey and New York.
• Inland flooding grew as a threat as rain continued to fall over much of the eastern United States. The destruction zone spanned from North Carolina to Michigan to Canada.
• President Obama announced that he would appear with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tomorrow to survey damage in the state. The president canceled campaign events for a fourth day on Wednesday. Governor Mitt Romney's campaign said he would carry on with events in Florida tomorrow.
• New York City faced a city-wide paralysis of historic proportions. The subway is flooded and will take 4-5 days at least to return on line, officials advised. 80 homes burned down in coastal Queens. Power may not return to lower Manhattan until the end of the weekend, Con Edison announced. Seven tunnels under the East River are flooded. Commuter rail is out. The airports were closed. Bus service was partial. Schools remain closed Wednesday.
• Heavy snowfall accumulation threatened to prolong power outages and make movement difficult in West Virgina and in western North Carolina and Virginia. Many of the hardest-hit areas are in rugged mountains and the extent of local damage was unclear.
• Aid workers are worried about a food crisis in Haiti, where Hurricane Sandy killed 52 people last week. The UN is also concerned that flooding could lead to a sharp rise in cholera cases. At least 69 people were killed by Sandy in the Caribbean.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been giving an update on the fallout form Sandy on New York City. A total of 18 fatalities have been reported, up from 10 earlier today. Bloomberg said 6,400 people are being cared for in 76 shelters, many of which are in public schools in the city, all of which will remained closed tomorrow.
There was little good news for the 220,000 ConEdison customers who are without power in Lower Manhattan. The CEO of ConEd, Kevin Burke, said it was the "worst storm in ConEd's history" and that it would take three to four days to fix up the substation at 14th Street and FDR Drive, which failed so catastrophically late on Monday. Better news for Staten Island: three substations there are back online. At 11am today, 780,000 customers were without electrical service.
It's clear that New York City will remain paralysed for days to come: seven East River railway tunnels are flooded; the Holland, Queens, Midtown and Brooklyn-Battery tunnels are also inundated. Five miles of water fill the Path tunnel between the World Trade Center and New Jersey – it will take three to four days to restore this link. I
The partially collapsed crane in Midtown Manhattan has been secured and has been declared safe. As a precaution, some residents have been evacuated.
Bloomberg said the New York City Marathon, due to take place on Sunday, was expected to go ahead. Confirmation of this would come in the morning. But the Greenwich Village halloween parade has been postponed until next week.
The Guardian's Gizelle Lugo has been out in badly affected Queens today and took these pictures.
The MTA has just published video of the worst-affected subway station in New York City: South Ferry / Whitehall Street. It said earlier that, at one point, South Ferry was flooded "floor to ceiling".
The Guardian's Adam Gabbatt is in New Jersey:
Driving into Asbury Park, the scale of the damage from Sandy is not immediately apparent. People are without power, and a few trees are down, but they have homes.
In Loch Arbour, a tiny community neighbouring Asbury Park, it's a different story. A row of six houses that once proudly faced out to the Atlantic has been decimated by the storm.
One of the homes, a two-storey wood-panelled building painted pink, is missing almost its entire ground floor. On one side the front wall has been swept away. Inside furniture is entirely missing too, replaced by three feet of sand. The back wall is also gone, with the surge having swept clean through the house and across two gardens behind. The home only has one full supporting wall left and has been cordoned off by police.
Bill Gleeson, a funeral home director, owns the home next door. He's lived there with his family since 1986. His home has been more fortunate, most of the walls are intact, although inside there are water marks up to 5ft high in places. The floor is covered in a thick layer of sand.
"The water just washed right through," Gleeson said.
In Loch Arbour, West Rekeda, 47, manager of Kassin Beach club, also said the ocean “came right through the building”.
The club is closer to the beach than the houses. There's not much left of it. The back wall is still intact but the interior of the one-storey white building has been swept away. Individual planks are missing from the large blue porch, leaving it looking like a cattle grid. All the walls at the front of the structure are missing.
“It’s sad. So many good memories there,” Rekeda said. “We knew it was going to be bad but I didn’t think it was gong to be this bad.”
A police officer said no one had been injured, but no one will be returning any time soon.
This little row of houses seems to have borne the brunt of the storm on this stretch of coast, with damage more limited in either direction. The main problem for the fire department on Tuesday afternoon was towing cars off the beach, as gawkers headed down to the coast to survey the damage.
"Extremely windy but we were pretty blessed not to get the rain because that would have made it a lot worse," said Virginia Ferraro, whose husband was engaged in digging out a fire rescue van that had got stuck trying to help out the driver of a white sedan.
"It was crazy windy," she said, but she suffered no damage to her property. "But they warned us, they did a good job of warning us."
Ferraro didn't have power, but had made chilli on the stove. "It was pretty good," she said.
The Guardian's Alexander Hotz takes a walk down Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn:
All businesses along the main commercial drag of Van Brunt Street were closed as owners struggled to clean out their buildings and restore power. Although the the worst of the flooding is over, several streets are still underwater.
A local furniture company, Uhuru, reported losses of about $20,000 in raw materials and finished pieces. As employees removed damaged goods from the company's warehouse, Uhuru's owner, BIll Hilgrendorf, 33, said it was the worst flooding he had seen, a common refrain among business owners in Red Hook.
Further down Van Brunt is the office for Friends of Firefighters, a non-profit that provides counseling for New York firefighters (more information here). Nancy Carbone, the executive director for the organization, said everything on the first floor had been inundated with water and was destroyed. As volunteers swept out dirty water with brooms, Carbone pointed to two cars that she had moved into the building to protect them from falling trees.
"There's both total losses," said Carbone. "We've lost almost everything, including all of our merchandise."
Our Washington bureau chief, Ewen MacAskill, examines the impact of Sandy on the election in a piece just posted. He says the problem is particularly acute for Mitt Romney, who is taking a gamble by returning to the campaign trail on Wednesday. Today, he was forced to curtail his plans. Ewen writes:
A 'victory rally' was changed into 'a storm relief' event, and Romney restricted his comments in a highly shortened five-minute address to praising the "generosity of the American people – it's part of the American way".
Romney recalled how when he was governor of Massachusetts his state had welcomed refugees from the 2005 Katrina hurricane in New Orleans.
CNN encapsulated Romney's problem. It broadcast barely a sentence or two of his speech before abruptly cutting away to its storm coverage.
A Daily News reporter tweets a view from Philadelphia:
The Guardian's environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg is in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where the coastline is a chewed-up version of its former self:
Atlantic City is still deserted. The casinos are closed and cars are supposed to stay off streets under the New Jersey state of emergency. The legendary boardwalk was pulverised by the storm. An entire stretch disappeared with timber and other debris ending up blocks from the beach.
John Susavage has spent the last 10 years restoring 100-year-old Victorian mansions near the beach. He used to have a grand view of the boardwalk. Now much of it is littered around his neighborhood. The storm shattered five windows and flooded his basement up to chest height. The lamp post in the picture above used to stand on the boardwalk. It was uprooted in the storm and hurled at Susavage's house. It came to rest 2.5 inches from the wood frame of the window.
"That was lucky" he says. "It could have taken the whole wall out"
Zelphia Connor, meanwhile, woke up to find a heap of boardwalk in her garage.
Where is Sandy now? All over the place. The CNN Live site has a Sandy Tracker showing the storm stretching from Lake Michigan to the Atlantic:
The National Guard has just uploaded a video to YouTube capturing an aerial view of destruction on the New Jersey coast.
The video is captioned: "Aviators of the 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion, New Jersey National Guard, look for displaced residents along the coastline of Seaside Heights Oct. 30, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. (Video by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen/108th WG/PA)"
President Obama will travel to New Jersey tomorrow, the White House has announced:
Tomorrow afternoon, the President will travel to New Jersey where he will join Governor Christie in viewing the storm damage, talking with citizens who are recovering from the storm and thanking first responders who put their lives at risk to protect their communities. Additional scheduling details will be released when they are available.
The announcement was made after the president visited a Washington, DC Red Cross site.
"This storm is not yet over," Obama said in a statement at the Red Cross. "We have gotten briefings from the national hurricane center. It is still moving north. There are still communities that could be affected.
"I want to emphasize, there is still risks of flooding, there is still risks of downed power lines, risks of high winds, and so it is very important for the public to continue to monitor the situation in your local community."
Associated Press photographer Julio Cortez has been to Ocean County, New Jersey, where he has taken some striking images of the aftermath of Sandy. The Mantoloking Bridge, which only opened in late 2005, has been closed after the wreckage of flood-damaged homes floated onto it.
The AP reports that Casino Pier at Seaside Heights is wrecked and a roller coaster is partially submerged in the ocean.
The Ditmas Park Patch blog based in the Brooklyn neighborhood has a report on a couple killed last night while walking a dog:
Two people were struck and killed by a falling tree Monday night in Ditmas Park, according to the New York Police Department.
They were apparently out walking their dog when the powerful winds of Hurricane Sandy blew the tree onto them, police said.
The bodies of the pair, who have not been identified pending notification of their families, were still under the tree on Ditmas Ave. between 18th and 19th Streets as of earlier this morning.
Read the whole report here.
If you were on Twitter last night you may have noticed some alarming messages coming from the account @comfortablysmug – many of which turned out to be untrue.
The account, which has a lively following among the media and finance communities, spread false rumors such as Con Edison having turned out power to all of Manhattan, the stock exchange being flooded and others. They were retweeted a lot.
Buzzfeed has figured out who was behind the disinformation. He's a Republican operative named Shashank Tripathi, BuzzFeed reports. He spent some of last night demanding an apology from BuzzFeed – which has not been forthcoming.
In New Jersey, transport authorities are counting the cost there. The state transportation commissioner, James Simpson, said the New Jersey Transit system suffered "unprecedented devastation". Two tug boats hit the Raritan River draw bridge in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and three boats and two cargo containers hit the Moran draw bridge. Two boats are perched on top of the bridge, according to a report by NJ.com
The Guardian's Alexander Hotz is in Red Hook, Brooklyn, an old port settlement that was one of the city's hardest-hit areas.
He finds a deli destroyed on Pioneer and Van Brunt Streets. The owner closed the store at 6pm, and lighting started flickering around then. The water level in the store got up to about four feet high.
An employee of the deli, Mike Lyons, 65, who has worked at the store for years, said Sandy utterly destroyed the business.
Alexander has been photo-documenting the destruction and clean-up in Red Hook on Twitter.
The Guardian's US finance and economics editor, Heidi Moore, consdiers the impact of Sandy in a piece just posted. Even if businesses are physically able to open their doors on Wednesday, disruption to the subways and railroads will make it difficult for employees to reach their desks.
At a minimum, it is impossible for most people to get to work in the city, which affects the locus of several industries, including finance, advertising, healthcare and the arts. The city's transportation lines, bridges, and tunnels were shut down for nearly two days, and at the latest report, the subways may be down well into next week. Footage from the news on Monday night showed water flowing freely, carrying the smell of fuel and burning electricity, into subway tunnels and through the Midtown Tunnel, which carries 80,000 a cars a day into Manhattan from Long Island.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested that Wall Street should be "online" again by Wednesday. But that is of little comfort if the workers can't get there, and the majority of the 168,700 financial industry employees in New York still take public transportation of some kind.
The main electricity company in New York, ConEdison, has said that much of Lower Manhattan could be without power for up to a week. While ConEd took some precautionary measures, cutting power to some downton areas as flood waters rose, an explosion at the East 13th St substation has been a huge blow. A huge swath of Lower Manhattan, including the Soho, Tribeca and the Financial District, is completely without power.
In a Q&A on the Wall Street Journal website, John Miksad, ConEd’s senior vice president of electric operations, said the rebuild would be complex and slow.
Asked whether ConEd could have taken more advance precautions, Miskad replied that he could not have countenanced shutting down the East 13th St substation, which serves power to 200,000 people.
I’m pretty sure I would not have taken out the [E. 13th St substation] in advance — 220,000 customers. We always…look for lessons learned. I don’t know, if we could we have got the fire department with pumps, the National Guard with pumps? You’re talking about a lot of water. I don’t know if there was any way to keep up with the water.
It’s basically the sea is up into the substation. The same thing happened during Katrina, the same thing happened in a bunch of different places. I mean, the force of nature is just tremendous.
You can read the full Q&A here.
The Guardian's community team is asking you to share your experiences of the storm. Whether you have seen downed trees, flooding, snow, power outages or volunteers and neighbors at work – help us tell the story of the storm. You can send your photos and videos via #aftersandy, or tell us about how you weathered Sandy using this form.
The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority has posted more details of the dire situation it faces. It's worth reading in full. It notes that road and subway tunnels are flooded, electricity lost to the Metro-North railroad, the South Ferry subway station is filled floor-to-ceiling with water, there's flooding in the East River railway tunnels used by the Long Island Railroad – the list goes on.
The MTA says 5,600 buses, 6,200 subway cars, 600 miles of tracks and 468 subway stations must be inspected.
Says MTA chairman Joseph J Lhota:
Our transportation system has never faced a disaster as devastating Hurricane Sandy, which has caused an unparalleled level of damage. The challenge that we face now is one of assessment, inspection, repair, and restoration. This will not be a short process, but it will be one that puts safety as its major focus.
One positive note: none of the city's buses were damaged; a Sunday service will resume tonight and a full service tomorrow. All buses will be free to ride tonight and tomorrow.
As people across the north-east United States start picking up the pieces after Sandy, here's a summary of where things stand right now.
• Dozens were killed, hundreds of miles of coastline were flooded and New York City's infrastructure was dealt a massive blow as the super-storm Sandy moved through the mid-Atlantic states on Monday night and into Tuesday. Millions of people were left without power.
• Ten of a reported 33 fatalities occured in New York City, and that
number was expected to rise, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Deaths in New York were attributed to falling trees, electrocution and drowning.
• President Obama declared a "major disaster" in New York and New Jersey. Flooding devastated the coast and more than 2.3 million lost power. The National Guard rescued hundreds from flooding in New Jersey. The governor, Chris Christie, a Republican, said the damage was "unthinkable". He praised the "outstanding" co-operation he had received from Obama.
• The transport infrastructure in New York City has been dealt a huge blow. Many of the city's subway tunnels are flooded. The Brooklyn-Battery tunnel is particularly badly affected, after being inundated from both the East and Hudson rivers. The best that the authorities could say was that major bridges were now open and that a limited bus service would resume in Manhattan on Tuesday evening.
• The failure of a backup generator forced the evacuation of the Langone Medical Center, part of NYU hospital. About 200 patients had to be moved. Officials are investigating why the backup power failed.
• Heavy snow has fallen in West Virginia, with up to 17 inches in Webster Springs. The National Weather Service has warned that more is on the way.
• Aid workers are worried about a food crisis in Haiti, where Hurricane Sandy killed 52 people last week. The UN is also concerned that flooding could lead to a sharp rise in cholera cases. At least 69 people were killed by Sandy in the Caribbean.
Staff at the New York University hospital, one of the city's largest, are investigating the power outage which sparked the evacuation of more than 200 patients, including critically ill newborn babies, beginning on Monday night.
Michael Bloomberg, New York's mayor, told a press conference on Monday that back-up power failed at the hospital, by the East River in Manhattan, amid flooding from the storm. Bloomberg said the city was working with staff to move patients out.
Television reporters at the scene described a race against time on Monday night as doctors and nurses carried newborns wrapped in blankets, their breathing tubes still attached, from the intensive care unit down multiple flights of stairs in the dark and into waiting lines of ambulances.
Problems with telephone service meant that the families of patients were not being called to inform them that their relatives had been moved, the hospital said. It was left to the receiving hospitals, among them Mount Sinai and Sloan Kettering, to inform them, according to the hospital.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the hospital said the facility, which has eight different generators, including one on a higher floor, was still trying to assess what went wrong.
The spokesman told Stacey Sager from WABC that they do not think all eight went out but if in fact some are still working, it is not enough to power the whole hospital.
NYU didn't anticipate such heavy flooding from Sandy, the massive storm that hit the coast on Monday. They decided not to evacuate all patients before the storm, in contrast to the procedure carried out by Irene as it did with a year ago, according to CNN.
Dr Andrew Brotman, senior vice president and vice dean for clinical affairs and strategy at the hospital told CNN that, between 7 and 7.45pm on Monday the hospital's basement, lower floors, and elevator shafts filled with 10 to 12 feet of water and the hospital lost its power.
"Things went downhill very, very rapidly and very unexpectedly," Brotman said. "The flooding was just unprecedented."
Emergency generators began, he said, but two hours later, about 90% of that power went out, and the hospital decided to evacuate patients, beginning with those critically ill.
One report, from CBS News, said that the second backup device, on a low floor, was disabled by the water, while the primary backup, on the roof, was disabled when a fuel pump on a lower floor was flooded.
Four of the newborn babies were on respirators which were breathing for them and when the power went out, each baby was carried down nine flights of stairs while a nurse manually squeezed a bag to deliver air to the baby's lungs.
The hospital usually has about 800 patients, but hundreds of patients were discharged over the weekend in anticipation of the storm.
Jonathan LaPook, MD, a medical correspondent for CBS News, who was at the scene as patients were being evacuated on Monday night, said doctors and nurses began evacuating critically ill patients, including 20 newborn babies from the intensive care unit. He described how the babies – four with breathing tubes – were swaddled in blankets and carefully carried with intravenous lines, oxygen and monitoring devices attached.
“I saw a 29-week-old premature being held by a nurse who held an oxygen mask to his face” reported LaPool. “Anxious faces of parents and family members dotted the lobby.”
He said that many patients, too sick to walk down the narrow staircase to the lobby, were also painstakingly carried on plastic sleds by teams of four to five people from as high up as the 17th floor.
A statement from the hospital said: "Due to the severity of Hurricane Sandy and the higher than expected storm surge, we are in the process of transferring approximately 215 patients within the medical center to near by facilities. "We are having intermittent telephone access issues and for this reason the receiving hospital will notify families of their relatives arrival."
All but 50 patients had been evacuated by Tuesday morning, according to CBS news.
No details were available from the NYU hospital.
However, at 10am on Tuesday, the Office for Emergency management said they thought the evacuation was still ongoing.
The remaining patients were expected to be moved on Tuesday morning.
Karen McVeigh in New York
Barack Obama has cancelled all his campaign events for Wednesday. He had been planning to hold events in Ohio but will remain at White House.
In some ways – a big way – the storm is the biggest campaign event of all, an unexpected bonus for Obama. It allows him to appear presidential and casts Mitt Romney in a bit part .
The praise from New Jersey governor Chris Christie for Obama over his handling of Sandy has been a big boost. The Romney campaign must be wondering what on earth Christie was thinking. It is one thing to acknowledge help from the White House but did he really have to go far as to describe this as "outstanding".
Romney is the one on the defensive, reporters watching for whether he appearance at relief event in Ohio veers into campaigning.
I spent an hour this morning speaking to Obama campaign workers on the ground in Iowa and other swing states in the Mid-West and West and they are unaffected by Sandy. They are going ahead as normal with campaign plans, stepping up, as scheduled, getting out the votes. This effort will intensify over the weekend, with volunteers working three-hour shifts from 8.00 am on Saturday through to 9pm and from noon to 9pm on Sunday. Predictions among some Obama campaign workers on the ground that Romney has North Carolina in bag, and will take Florida, Virginia and Colorado. Obama, they hope, will take Ohio, Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire.
Mitt Romney is to take a gamble by resuming campaigning on Wednesday. He has scheduled several campaign events in Florida: in Tampa, Coral Gables and Jacksonville. The danger for him is that people might not yet be ready by then to make the switch from focus on the storm to politics, and his speeches on the campaign trail may look petty compared with Obama still dealing with the storm aftermath from the White House.
Ewen MacAskill in Washington DC
The U.S. death toll has risen to 33, many of the victims killed by falling trees, the Associated Press reports:
At least 7.4 million people across the East were without power. Airlines canceled more than 15,000 flights around the world, and it could be days before the mess is untangled and passengers can get where they're going.
In Central Park the clean-up operation was already well under way this morning. At the 72nd street entrance a pair of workmen with a green truck could be seen clearing the road on Central Park drive of tree limbs ripped down by the storm.
But the park entrances remained firmly sealed both to traffic and pedestrians, not that it stopped a few hardy – some might say foolish – joggers from trying to gain access. Four runners looked around surreptitiously as they squeezed around the metal barrier blocking the road that runs through the park at 79th street.
“They’re idiots, some people just don’t realise they are taking their lives in their own hands,” said a park worker shortly after escorting a sheepish looking jogger over a low wall and onto the pavement of Fifth Avenue. “There is a lot of damage, a lot of limbs of trees down, and there could still be a lot that come down as the day goes on. It’s a very dangerous situation and we really don’t want anyone in here yet.”
A few blocks further up the doors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art were also firmly shut - although that didn’t stop several small groups of tourists from pressing their noses up against the glass in the hope of gaining access. Amongst them were William and Nadine Buffin, from Lyon in France, who had made the trek from their hotel on 32nd street in the hope of finding at least one of New York’s famous tourist attractions open. “ We arrived on Sunday and this is not quite what we were expecting,” Mr Buffin said. “And we’re supposed to fly home on Thursday – hopefully, depending on whether the airport is open.” Asked what they planned to do next he said they would probably walk down to China Town. “But maybe there is nothing open there either…”
The Brooklyn-Battery tunnel, which connects lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, is completely flooded at its entrance near Battery Park. Water and debris has choked the entrance right up to the tunnel's roof, with flotsam bobbing just beneath a sign warning drivers that the clearance height is 12 ft 7ins.
A maintenance truck lies almost entirely submerged on the sliproad down to the tunnel. There was no sign of the water receding in the 20 minutes I spent there.
Many buildings in this southernmost part of Manhattan were inundated by the storm surge. Along Water Street, which runs parallel to the East River waterfront, a fire crew surveyed the damage to their station. Windows were smashed and sandbags proved useless against the flow of water. Inside, uniforms were strewn about the floor, which was still damp.
Mandatory evacuations were in place in this part of the city, one of the most vulnerable places to a storms surge.
The water poured into the entrance to the Whitehall ferry terminal, which provides a connection to Staten Island.
An MTA employee told the Guardian that at 7.30am water was “up to the platform” in the terminal. He said some of the tunnels running under the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn were entirely full of water, from roof to floor. The MTA was unable to pump out water quick enough because equipment was affected by power outages.
Most people had heeded the extensive warnings and these streets were largely clear before the storm hit on Monday. But some people were caught out by the severity of the flooding. A new-looking white BMW 3 series car had been carried down a street close to the ferry terminal and dumped askew, partly on the road and partly on the sidewalk. A door had apparently been forced open by the storm, and pools of dank-smelling water had accumulated in the passenger footwells.
Most of lower Manhattan below 24th Street was without power Tuesday morning. In Midtown, the damage was less from flooding and more from high winds, with branches and other foliage lining the roads. In some places there had been minor scaffolding collapses and tiles had smashed to the ground.
There is a large police presence: squad cars with flashing lights were crawling around Manhattan, although the clean-up operation did not seem to have kicked in by 11am and the police seemed mostly to be reporting damage and acting as reassurance.
The death toll in New York State has risen to 15, Governor Andrew Cuomo reported in a briefing on the storm.
There are 2 million people across the state without power. Long Island is hardest hit, he said.
He said electrical equipment in the subway tunnels is a design flaw because saltwater in the tunnels zaps the equipment.
"You do not have ocean water, salt water breaching the banks of Manhattan in my lifetime. When you start to fill subway tunnels with salt water, much of the ConEd equipment is underground.
"That is a design flaw, I believe, for our system now. ... We did not anticipate water coming over the Hudson River, coming over the banks and being 5 feet deep on the West Side highway.
"I don't think anyone can sit back anymore and say 'I am shocked at that weather pattern.' There is no weather pattern that can shock me anymore."
Cuomo said that "what I saw last night in downtown Manhattan and the south shore of Long Island was some of the worst that I have seen. The Hudson River was literally pouring into the Ground Zero site with such a force that we were worried about the structure of the pit itself."
"It was frightening."
He paid tribute to the first responders who ran toward the disaster when every instinct would have told them to seek safety.
"We will have a long-term reconstruction effort here, and that's how we're going to have to start thinking of it."
"I am hopeful that not only are we going to rebuild this city and metropolitan area," but build it smarter.
Cuomo said the climate has changed and the city needs to prepare for high water.
"Anyone who says there's not a dramatic change in weather patterns is probably denying reality."
"We have to find ways to build this city back stronger and better than every before."
MTA chair Joe Lhota spoke:
"The MTA faced a disaster as devastating as it has ever faced in its history." It's not just subways and buses. It's Metro North.
NYC: several tunnels underwater. Clark St., Steinway, Montague, Cranberry tunnels all underwater.
Railyards at 207th and 148th st are flooded. Flooding is uptown too.
Pumping out Joralemon st. tunnel, "should be cleared shortly."
In Metro North line, no power from 59th st in Manhattan all the way north.
Both Manhattan yards and East River tunnel evacuated.
The process of pumping out Battery Tunnel and Queens Midtown tunnel has begun.
"None of our buses have any damage. Our subway cars also have no damage."
Atlantic City, New Jersey, was described as nearly entirely flooded last night. New York Times reporter Thomas Kaplan says 215 people have been rescued.
At least 10 people died in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in his 11am briefing. "Tragically we expect that number to go up."
There 23 serious fires throughout the city.
More than 80 homes lost in Breezy Point, Queens fire.
Two biggest challenges: getting mass transit up and running, and restoring power.
A coastal flooding warning remains in effect until this afternoon.
"We expected an unprecedented storm impact in New York City," he said. "That's what we got."
East River bridges have already been opened, he said.
Metro Transit Authority chair Joe Lhota has called it the worst disaster the agency has ever seen in 108 years. Con Edison says the challenge of restoring power is "unprecedented in scope."
"The damages that they face really are enormous," the mayor said.
750,000 without power; 326 buildings; 59 public housing developments.
The steam system south of 42nd shut down. Affects heading, A/C and ventilation including in hospitals. Because it was shut down preemptively they're hoping it can be restored "fairly soon."
You should expect power to be out 2-3 days and maybe even a little bit longer, he says.
Extensive flooding in all under-river tunnels. Lots where trains parked also flooded.
There is no further timeline for train or bus services, he says.
Most bus service may be restored by tomorrow, he said.
All airports are closed. Runways are flooded.
Cab drivers can pick up multiple passengers.
NYU Langone Hospital was evacuated overnight. Bellevue Hospital is working on backup power. Coney Island Hospital also evacuated.
There have been no storm-related fatalities at any hospital, he said.
6,100 New Yorkers are in emergency shelters.
Call 311 for downed trees, not 911, the mayor says.
Schools are closed Wednesday too.
Bloomberg was asked about transformer explosions, like the one on 14th St. Bloomberg said electricity failures caused fires, and emergency crews had difficulty getting to the fires due to flooding.
No first responders were "lost" in the line of duty, he said.
Bloomberg said "if you had to guess," Con Ed and subways will be back up in either 3-4 days or 4-5 days. Earlier he said power would be back in 2-3 days.
Police and firefighters put their lives on the line fighting the storm, he said.
"Sometimes you wonder why you have to put yourselves in a situation where you might need help."
At NYU, a generator failed. He said "we'll do a postmortem afterwards..."
Bloomberg is asked how people died.
"One was in a bed, tree fell through the house and killed them. A person stepped in water where [there was] a live electric line." Two people were found drowned in their home, he said.
Bloomberg is asked about the over-capacity of 911 that prevented some people from getting through.
"If a trees falls on you and you're in bed and you're dead, 911's not gonna help you."
There are no worries about the nuclear reactor at Indian Point or elsewhere in the area, he said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, talking on AM radio, seems to be raising an alarm about climate change – and to question whether the city is built to withstand the kind of saltwater inundation it took overnight:
Manhattan is an island made up of neighborhoods that are themselves islands. The Guardian's Emma G. Keller observes that the Upper West Side is swiftly shaking off the storm:
Of all the neighborhoods in Manhattan, the Upper West Side seems to have been the least affected by the hurricane. Its sturdily built pre-war apartment buildings and town houses sit on the opposite side of the island to the treacherous East River, high on a hill above the Hudson.
On Monday night, lights flickered occasionally and some people up by Columbia University briefly lost internet access, but other than that, there was little sign of the fury that raged on the streets outside.
This is an area of families and dog owners and both were out in force early on Tuesday morning. Riverside Park had a few downed trees, but the inconvenience was more caused by the downed branches, that numerous joggers jumped over as they went for their morning runs.
Doormen and supers were hard at work hosing leaves from the sidewalks and curbs in front of their buildings. Some even had the time to put up Halloween decorations in their buildings lobbies.
On Broadway, some stores lost their signs, which blew off in the wind. But the shops themselves were all opening up again, and people were back out shopping. Traffic was light, but the atmosphere was cheerful. The sun even shone from time to time.
Upper West Siders have even established a pop-up web page, as of this morning, "What's Open on the Upper West Side."
The Guardian's Dominic Rushe reports:
New Jersey governor Chris Christie has just held a press conference and called the level of devastation “unthinkable”. “This is beyond anything I ever thought I would see,” he said.
He gave a stark description of the problems facing the state. Some 2.4m people are out of power, mass transit is at a standstill, roads and bridges closed amid severe damage, 29 hospitals are running on generators or experiencing power issues. Some 5,500 people are in shelters and the weather is still so bad that it is difficult to assess the full extent of the damage.
So strong was the storm surge that 24 small freight rail cars were “picked up by the tidal surge and carried on to the elevated roadway and landed all throughout the outer roadway of the New Jersey turnpike on the northbound side”.
An exhausted looking Christie is now off on a tour of the damage. He warned people to stay away from the state’s notorious Jersey Shore, much of which has been washed away. He said the “amusement pier at Seaside Park is essentially half washed out. I don’t know if it’s the roller coaster of the log flume that is now in the ocean”.
“There is no place for me to land on the barrier islands,” said Christie.
“We have a lot of work to do. I have absolute confidence that we will be able to do and do it together. I have confidence in the fact that we will have complete support from the president of the United States and the federal authorities.”
The Guardian's Adam Gabbatt is in Battery Park in lower Manhattan, surveying the aftermath of last month's flooding:
Momentarily we will bring you updates from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's latest briefing on storm damage. Meanwhile my colleague Dominic Rushe reports on the New Jersey relief effort – and Christie's approving words this morning for President Obama:
As New Jersey started to count the terrible cost of Sandy this morning governor Chris Christie is showing his famously independent mettle. This morning the man once seen as a likely Republican vice presidential pick has called president Barack Obama “outstanding” and blasted suggestions that his state would make a great photo op for Mitt Romney.
New Jersey has been hit hard, three people have lost their lives so far to the storm, 2.4m people are out of power and levees have broken in northern New Jersey leaving at least four towns with up to 6ft of water. And Christie has no time for politics.
“I have to say, the administration, the president, himself and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far,” Christie said on ABC’s Good Morning America. “We have a great partnership with them.”
Obama called on Christie Monday night, the governor said, and offered to help in any way he could. New Jersey has now been declared a major disaster area, opening up government funding for recovery efforts.
“I want to thank the president personally for his personal attention to this,” said Christie.
On Fox News host Steve Doocy made a pitch for a Christie/Romney photo op in some disaster-stricken New Jersey “Over the last couple of months, you have appeared throughout the country, governor, on behalf of Mitt Romney,” Doocy said. “We hear that perhaps Mr Romney may do some storm-related events. Is there any possibility that governor Romney may go to New Jersey to tour some of the damage with you?”
“I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested,” Christie snapped. “I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics and I could care less about any of that stuff.”
“I have a job to do,” he added. “I’ve got 2.4 million people out of power, I’ve got devastation on the shore, I’ve got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics then you don’t know me.”
Paul Owen has just been talking to Prospery Raymond of Christian Aid in Port-au-Prince about the impact of Hurricane Sandy on Haiti.
He said the most affected areas were in the south-east of the country, in the Grand’Anse and Nippes departments.
There I think it is still quite wet. The rivers are going down. In general the departments have put down the vigilance, it was red, now it is normal. They are trying to repair the roads and bridges that collapsed.
He said the most serious impact of the storm had been on agriculture - the loss of crops and livestock. Christian Aid was going out at the moment to see what the state and other organisations were not able to provide, “and to provide what is missing”. They would be helping repair houses, replace livestock and provide seeds.
Asked about the government’s response, he said:
To be honest I think this time they did what they could, because they managed to put more than 20,000 people in temporary shelter, but in total you have 200,000 people that were affected by Sandy. That means there is a huge gap. We think we could provide some support to complement what they are doing.
What could the government do differently?
Christian Aid [is pushing] the government to take the environment situation more seriously, because if the country had the right trees, the right forests in place, I think that could help. It’s really important for them to prioritise this in their future budget, for example. The Ministry of Environment in Haiti has 0.65% of the budget. I don’t think it is normal. As a priority sector they need to receive more in order to help Haiti have better cover in terms of trees, and that could help us with all these hurricane storms that will come in here.
A video posted to YouTube captures the collapse last night of the facade of a building on 8th Ave in NYC. There were no reported injuries in the incident.
The Guardian's Adam Gabbatt visited a Manhattan entrance to the Brooklyn-Battery tunnel (now officially the Hugh L Carey tunnel) this morning.
The tunnel is absolutely full of water.
More photos on Adam's Twitter feed.
Hello, Tom McCarthy here in New York taking over from Haroon and Lizzy.
We're waiting to hear from both New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
The Associated Press has published a roundup of regional damage. The storm has hit 20 states plus Washington, DC. Below are some of the hardest-hit states. Read the full AP report here.
The Long Island Sound flooded roads as the storm toppled trees and power lines Two people died, including an Easton firefighter who was killed when a tree fell on his truck. Power outages: More than 615,000
Floodwaters swamped touristy Ocean City. In western Maryland, snow tied up traffic. A falling tree killed a man in Pasadena. Power outages: 290,000.
Strong winds and heavy surf led to mandatory evacuations in sections of coastal Dartmouth and Fall River and voluntary evacuations in other coastal communities. Power outages: More than 300,000.
The center of the storm came ashore Monday evening near Atlantic City, which was cut off from the mainland by the storm surge along with other barrier islands, stranding residents who ignored warnings to evacuate. Hundreds of people were being evacuated after a levee broke in the northern New Jersey town of Moonachie. At least three deaths were reported. Power outages: More than 2.3 million.
A record storm surge that was higher than predicted along with high winds damaged the electrical system and plunged millions of people into darkness. Utilities say it could be up to a week before power is fully restored. The governor's office said there were five storm-related deaths. A fire burned 50 houses in one flooded section of Queens. Power outages: More than 1.8 million.
The Cleveland area and northeast Ohio were being slammed with rain and high winds. Snow was reported in some parts south of Cleveland and south of Columbus. Power outages: More than 250,000.
Wind and flooding closing more than 200 bridges and roads. Four people died, including an 8-year-old boy who was killed when a tree limb fell on him. Power outages: 1.2 million.
Utilities brought in crews to help restore power after high winds and snow. A curfew was ordered Monday on Chincoteague Island. Power outages: More than 131,000.
Some areas are buried under more than a foot of snow. A woman was killed in a traffic crash. Power outages: More than 128,000.
• Sandy, now a post-tropical storm, brought widespread flooding, strong winds, electrical blackouts and fires to New York and New Jersey. Subway tunnels have been flooded and public transport is at a standstill, schooling is shut down and many parts of the cities remain under water. There has been further damage elsewhere.
• Barack Obama declared a major disaster in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey. That means they will get federal funding.
• At least 17 people are reported to have been killed in the US as a result of Sandy, including three children, one aged just eight years-old.
• Some 7.5 million people are believed to be without power, including nearly 2 million in New York alone.
• More than 50 homes have been destroyed by fire at Breezy Point, in Queens, New York. The New York fire department said 190 firefighters were battling the blaze. Two people sustained minor injuries.
• More than 1,000 people were awaiting rescue after a levee broke in Bergen County, New Jersey. Some were said to be on the roofs of their homes in a trailer park.
• Heavy snow has fallen in West Virginia, with up to 17 inches in Webster Springs. The National Weather Service has warned that more is on the way.
• Aid workers are worried about a food crisis in Haiti, where Hurricane Sandy killed 52 people last week. The UN is also concerned that flooding could lead to a sharp rise in cholera cases. At least 69 people were killed by Sandy in the Caribbean.
Paul Owen has just been speaking to Kristie van de Wetering, programme director for charity Tearfund in Haiti, about the problems Hurricane Sandy has caused there.
Hurricane Sandy has really tipped the scale of an already fragile situation. We had tremendous amounts of water, tremendous amounts of flooding, severe winds, and we’re seeing those effects across the country, with damaged homes, flooded homes, people displaced, crops and gardens destroyed and lives lost: 52 lives were lost, and it’s extremely heartbreaking.
She said she had just got off the phone to a friend whose colleague lost his entire family in a landslide that destroyed their home with his family inside.
Van de Wetering explained how Tearfund was helping to respond to the disaster: since the earthquake of 2010 and Hurricane Isaac last year the charity had been helping repair homes and “to address some of the agriculture and livelihood issues”, especially in the rural mountains. “Now Hurricane Sandy has created even more need and to be sure this response will also be addressing the needs of some of those people who now find themselves in a very difficult situation.”
I asked her to explain how Sandy had caused problems in terms of food shortages.
We can look at the context prior to both tropical storm Isaac and Hurricane Sandy with increasing food prices and food insecurity throughout the last several months. With tropical storm Isaac and now Sandy a lot of the crops have been destroyed. There are numerous crops that were ready for harvesting that have now been destroyed. Plantain trees and plantations ripped down, gardens flooded, and so in a country that primarily supports itself agriculturally, this is an extreme hit to the country.
There would now be an increase in food prices and “food insecurity”, with families finding it more difficult to harvest or sell their crops, she said. This would make it more difficult for them to send their children to school or repair their homes. Flooding and damaged homes were an immediate problem, “but in the coming months we’re going to be looking at a real severe food security situation”.
She was less optimistic than Lisa Laumann of Save the Children (see earlier) that the government was well-prepared to deal with this disaster, coming as it does so soon after the 2010 earthquake and Isaac in 2011.
The government has been active from the very beginning. The national disaster management system has been mobilised early on, and this is a nationwide system. And the government has also been meeting with international organisations to coordinate the response, and has also allocated an additional $800,000 for initial response actions, so they have been very present and very active, but the reality is that they’re stretched in terms of capacity and in terms of ability to respond …
The capacity for the government to respond even prior to these storms was starting to diminish. Funding is drying up for cholera response. So, big concern. There’ll need to be a national joint effort with all key stakeholders to respond and to respond swiftly.
A bit of good news for any New Yorkers worrying about accumulating library fines...
Coming just a week before the US presidential elections, Sandy has thrown the candidates' last-minute campaign plans into disarray.
The GOP has released this revised schedule for Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, today. Neither he nor Obama wants to look as though he's playing politics while people struggle to keep their homes safe and dry.
Today, Gov. Romney is scheduled to attend a storm relief event at the James S. Trent Arena in Kettering, Ohio, where he will be joined by Richard Petty and Randy Owen and help collect donations for storm-relief efforts:
Paul Ryan will be in Wisconsin to drop by the La Crosse Victory Center in La Crosse and the Hudson Victory Center in Hudson, where he will thank volunteers who are delivering or collecting items for storm relief efforts. All Wisconsin Victory Centers will collect donations for storm-relief efforts on Tuesday, Oct. 30 and Wednesday, Oct. 31:
Ann Romney will also attend events in Wisconsin and then travel to Iowa. She will visit the Green Bay Victory Office in Wisconsin, the Davenport Victory Center in Iowa as well as the Cedar Rapids Victory Office in Iowa, where she will participate in storm relief collection efforts. She will then attend a Victory Rally at the Temple for the Performing Arts in Des Moines, Iowa:
The oldest nuclear facility in the US remains on "alert" status this morning after Sandy's storm surge pushed water levels at the plant more than 6.5 feet above normal.
In its latest report on the plant at Oyster Creek, about 60 miles (95 km) east of Philadelphia on the New Jersey Coast, Reuters says:
Exelon Corp's 43-year-old New Jersey Oyster Creek plant remains on "alert" status, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said early Tuesday. It is only the third time this year that the second-lowest of four emergency action levels was triggered.
The alert came after water levels at the plant rose by more than 6.5 feet (2 meters) above normal, potentially affecting the "water intake structure" that pumps cooling water through the plant, an NRC spokesman said.
Exelon said in a statement that there was no danger to equipment and no threat to public health or safety.
The jury's out on what the financial cost of Sandy will be- although everyone is certain it will be worse than that of last year's hurricane Irene.
Reuters reports that Eqecat, a firm used by the insurance industry to calculate disaster exposures, says Sandy could cause anywhere between $5 and 10 billion in insured losses and from $10 billion to $20 billion in economic losses.
But RMS, another firm, said that while Sandy seemed very likely to outdo the damage caused by Irene, it was not going to give precise predictions. In a report this morning, it said:
Sandy event is much more severe ... and has impacted NYC to a much worse degree than Irene.
If Eqecat is correct, Reuters explains, Sandy would rank as the fifth-worst hurricane in history, based on inflation-adjusted losses, according to the Insurance Information Institute.Irene caused around $4.5 billion in insured losses.
Fifty-two people died in Haiti and 200,000 were left homeless when Hurricane Sandy passed by the Caribbean country at the end of last week. Paul Owen has been talking to Lisa Laumann, Save the Children’s country director for Haiti, about the effects of the Hurricane there.
She explained what happened when the storm arrived.
The eye of the storm didn’t even hit the country. It went through Cuba, and we were at quite a distance from it. So when it came through it was still quite strong, although it was just a tropical storm. [It was] followed by days of intensive, intensive rain, that Thursday and Friday of last week were just … I’ve hardly seen so much rain in a long time.
It really led to a lot of damage in the country. There’s been a substantial amount of damage to roads, a substantial amount of flooding in agricultural areas raising serious concerns about crops, and then of course with the standing water and the flow of water the increased concern about diaorrhea and disease, particularly cholera.
Laumann was reasonably optimistic about the government's ability to deal with these issues.
What we saw during tropical storm Isaac and I think in tropical storm Sandy as well is a government that is challenged by the recurrent disasters that hit the country but also a government that is increasingly able to deal with this type of disaster. By that I mean that the government has a national system for the management of risks and disaster, and in the last two crises that have hit the country it has taken the lead.
Organisations such as her own had “played a role in preparation and response”, but increasingly they were working under government leadership. “I don’t want to sound like I think the government has infinite capacity to respond … but I think it’s important to recognise that the government does have increasing ability to coordinate and manage disaster preparedness and response here.”
Why did so many people die, despite the eye of the storm not hitting Haiti directly?
People die because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time or because the infrastructure is not such that it protects them from incidents that occur. I think if the road infrastructure was stronger in this country, if there were better flood control, fewer people would die in emergencies like these.
Laumann was speaking from a high-up area of Port-au-Prince, where there was no standing water, and children were out and off to school. “There certainly has been damage to some buildings, but it looks from here like a fairly normal day.”
But in the camps for those made homeless by the storm “it’s different”:
People lost their few assets that they had. They were flooded out … Life is much more challenging for them. It’s hard when you lose most of your possessions or have them destroyed by a storm.
In the south of the country there was a lot of road damage, she said.
The last damage map that I took a look at showed damage in pretty much every department of the southern part of the country, much worse than the north. When you think about the fact that Haiti is already a road-challenged country, that’s going to make problems for people who need to move around and for people who need to respond. Bridges have been broken, sections of road have been washed out, there’s some land sliding over some of the roads.
The Associated Press reports that the death toll has risen to at least 17 dead in the US in seven states:
Officials blamed at least 17 deaths in the US on the converging storms in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia. Three victims were children, one just eight years-old. At least one death was blamed on the storm in Canada.
More than 200,000 people are without power in West Virginia after Sandy dumped heavy, wet snow across the region, the Charleston Gazette reports.
According to the National Weather Service, Webster Springs received 17 inches of snow, while 15 inches was on the ground in Fayetteville this morning. More snow is expected.
Illusionist David Blaine has posted a picture from New York - am assuming this is for real.
The New York Daily News reports that unsurprisingly, there have been thousands of calls to the city's emergency services.
The American Red Cross says nearly 11,000 people spent Monday night in 258 shelters across 16 states.
The Red Cross Safe and Well tool allows people to search for details of relatives or reassure their family that they are okay.
Here's another incredible image from the storm. This ABC News video shows a 168 foot tanker run aground in Staten Island, New York City.
A lot of fake photos of the effects of the storm are doing the rounds - including one supposedly of a shark in New Jersey, adds Paul Owen. The Atlantic has attempted to sort the real from the fake in this piece. Some of the real ones are striking enough - for example this one of a fairground carousel surrounded by water and this one of waves hitting Atlantic City. Inevitably stills from the New York-based climate change disaster movie The Day after Tomorrow are also being passed off as real.
The Guardian's datablog team has created a map, showing every verified event caused by super storm Sandy.
You can also suggest events we may have missed.
My colleague Adam Gabbatt has been out filming in Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan island, this morning. He encountered fierce winds, water on the ground and the smell of petrol, as well as a large tree that had fallen across a children's playground.
Paul Owen posts another dramatic picture - this one of the Lower East Side under what looks like a foot or so of water.
This dramatic picture shows seawater flooding into the construction site for One World Trade Center, the building that will replace the twin towers, reports Paul Owen. Gregory Baldwin, a security guard at 7 World Trade Center, a building on the edge of the ground zero site, told Reuters that floodwaters engulfed a nearby office building. "The water went inside up to here," he said, pointing to his chest. "The water came shooting down from Battery Park with the gusting wind."
The city of Hoboken says the curfew remains in place.
Meanwhile, nearly 2m New Yorkers are without power says Governor Andrew Cuomo.
There is better news in Boston, where the transit service has resumed, albeit with delays.
The Natural Resources Defence Council says, in a tweet, that Sandy highlights that action is needed to tackle climate change.
Around 7.5 million people are now without power on the east coast of the US, according to the Washington Post.
As Sandy wreaks havoc on the east coast of the US, there are fears that the hurricane that left 52 dead in Haiti, could create a food crisis there, al-Jazeera reports.
The UN is warning that flooding and unsanitary conditions could lead to a sharp increase in cases of cholera, while aid workers are worried that extensive crop damage will mean that food prices will rise.
Extensive damage to crops throughout the southern third of the country, as well as the high potential for a surge in cases of cholera and other water-borne diseases, could mean Haiti will see the deadliest effects of Sandy in the coming days and weeks ...
"The economy took a huge hit," Laurent Lamothe, prime minister, told Reuters news agency.
"Most of the agricultural crops that were left from Hurricane Isaac [in August] were destroyed during Sandy," he said, "so food security will be an issue."
Sandy also destroyed banana crops in eastern Jamaica as well as decimating the coffee crop in eastern Cuba.
Barack Obama has declared a "major disaster" in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey, ABC News's Josh Elliot reports. This means federal funding will be available for these areas.
A levee broke in northern New Jersey on Tuesday, flooding the towns of Moonachie, Little Ferry and Carlstadt with 4 to 5 feet (1.2m to 1.5m) of water, officials told Reuters.
"We are in rescue mode," said Jeanne Baratta, chief of the Bergen County Executive. There were no reports of fatalities as of yet, she said.
Baratta said the three towns had been "devastated" by the flood of water.
The latest update from the National Weather Service says that at 5am EDT (i.e. about 45 minutes ago) post-tropical cyclone Sandy was about 15 miles (24km) east of York, Pennsylvania, traveling west/north-west at about 15mph.
High-wind warnings are in effect over the coastal waters of the Mid-Atlantic states, New York and New England, storm warnings are in effect for portions of the mid-Atlantic coastal waters and flood and flash flood warnings are in effect over portions of the mid-Atlantic and north-east states.
It says Sandy will move in a west/north-west motion with reduced speed into western Pennsylvania, with a turn north into western New York tonight before moving into Canada tomorrow.
Maximum sustained winds are near 65mph.
Isolated rainfall of up to 12 inches is possible over the mid-Atlantic states, while snowfall of two to three feet is expected in the mountains of west Virginia.
The latest update from New York weather channel NY1 has details of what can be expected today.
Sandy brought a record surge of almost 14 feet to downtown Manhattan as it hit the eastern seaboard yesterday, well above the previous record of 10 feet during Hurricane Donna in 1960, the National Weather Service said.
Dramatic video has been posted of the explosion at a Consolidated Edison substation at East 14th Street and F.D.R Drive that knocked out power to about 250,000 customers below 39th Street in Manhattan last night.
The National Hurricane Centre issued a useful explanation (pdf link) of the difference between a hurricane and a post-tropical cyclone.
It is not to do with its strength but rather with where it is taking its energy from. Sandy has taken on the structure of a wintertime low-pressure area, so is no longer a tropical cyclone.
The NHC says:
The primary difference between a tropical cyclone and a wintertime cyclone is the energy source. Tropical cyclones extract heat from the ocean and grow by releasing that heat in the atmosphere near the storm center. Wintertime cyclones (also called extratropical or frontal
lows), on the other hand, get most of their energy from temperature contrasts in the atmosphere, and this energy usually gets distributed over larger areas.
Because of these differences, tropical cyclones tend to have more compact wind fields, tend to be more symmetric, and have a well-defined inner core of strong winds. Wintertime lows have strong temperature contrasts or fronts attached to them, have a broader wind field, and more complex distributions of rain or snow.
A fire department spokesman has told AP more than 190 firefighters are battling the blaze in Breezy Point. The fire department said earlier that more than 50 homes have been completely destroyed.
Two people have suffered minor injuries, the spokesman said. The fire was reported at about 11pm (EDT) on Monday.
According to this wind map, revised hourly based on forecasts, the current top speed of Sandy is 45.6mph. When it hit the New Jersey coastline it was traveling at 80mph.
A Google crisis map shows the projected path of Sandy and also has useful links, including details of how power has been affected in different areas.
Welcome to the Guardian's continuing coverage of what was Hurricane Sandy and is now post-tropical storm Sandy. You can read our earlier coverage here.
Here is a summary of the latest developments:
• Sandy slammed into the US east coast, bringing destructive force despite being recategorised as a post-tropical storm.
• New York city and New Jersey have been hit by widespread flooding, strong winds, electrical blackouts and fires. Subway tunnels have been flooded and public transport is at a standstill, schooling is shut down and many parts of the cities remain underwater. There has been further damage elsewhere.
• More than 10 deaths have been reported across the 13 states most directly affected – AP puts the latest death toll at 16 – and more than 6.5m electricity customers are said to be without power.
• Amid the emergency, a hospital in New York was forced to evacuate more than 200 patients when the main power supply and then backup systems failed, leaving some critically ill people on battery-powered life support.
• A crew member from the replica tall ship HMS Bounty reportedly died when the crew had to abandon ship off the coast of North Carolina. The captain remains missing. The other 14 people were pulled to safety from the sea in a dramatic coast guard rescue operation that braved treacherous conditions.
• Sandy had already left a trail of destruction through the Caribbean, killing at least 69 people in countries like Haiti that may struggle to cope with the aftermath.
• The day ahead is expected to bring accounts of heavy snowfall in some states – one of the surprise effects of a storm system like Sandy