Sandy aftermath: Dozens killed, homes destroyed, millions without power


Subscribe to ABC7 reporter Rob McMillan on Facebook for live updates from New York

Sandy, the hurricane downgraded to a still-powerful storm, was blamed for at least 51 deaths, 18 in New York City alone. More than 8.5 million people in 21 states were without power and authorities estimated that it could be a week before all electricity was restored. Preliminary estimates showed the storm could cost between $10 billion and $20 billion in damage.

In the storm's wake was an inundated New York City. Seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn were feet deep in water at one point, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it could also be four or five days before the subway, which suffered the worst damage in its 108-year history, is running again. All 10 of the tunnels that carry New Yorkers under the East River were flooded.

The superstorm continued its trek inland across Pennsylvania, ready to head to western New York to dump more of its water and likely cause more devastation overnight.

"Nature," said Bloomberg, assessing the damage to his city, "is an awful lot more powerful than we are."

Join ABC7 and the American Red Cross at relief drives Thursday and Friday to raise money for the victims of superstorm Sandy

Hundreds of people were evacuated Tuesday morning after a levee broke in the northern New Jersey borough of Moonachie, which was under water. Residents in a trailer park had to climb onto their roofs and wait for rescuers.

Dozens of fires were reported overnight across New York City. Crews battled a major fire that destroyed as many as 100 homes in a flooded area in Queens. The high flood waters made the fire difficult to fight, and powerful winds fanned the flames. About 25 people had to be rescued from an upstairs apartment.

Manhattan was pretty much a ghost town Tuesday morning with huge sections of the city without power and the subway and tunnels flooded. Many hospitals in Manhattan have also been affected. More than 200 patients at New York University Tisch Hospital had to be evacuated overnight after a back-up generator failed. That included about 20 babies from the neo-natal intensive care unit and critical care patients.

Hurricane and Tropical Storm Tracking Guide

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reopened some bridges, including the Outerbridge Crossing, George Washington, Goethals and Bayonne bridges. But they're asking people to avoid driving unless absolutely necessary.

Wall Street and the financial district were closed for a second day. The New York Stock Exchange was set to reopen Wednesday. The last time the NYSE was closed for weather was in 1985 because of Hurricane Gloria. And it's the first time since 1888 that it closed for two consecutive days due to weather.

President Barack Obama canceled his campaign events for a third straight day to monitor the storm and the federal response. Mr. Obama received a briefing on the storm, presided over a telephone conference call with governors and mayors from affected areas and arranged a trip Wednesday to New Jersey, where Republican Gov. Chris Christie has praised his management of the storm disaster.

A nuclear power plant in New Jersey was shut down due to the storm. Water pumps within Salem Unit One, located in Hancocks Bridge, were affected. Officials said the unit, part of the second largest commercial nuclear facility in the U.S., was stable.

The massive storm system also packed snow in the mountains of the Northeast. Parts of West Virginia were expected to see 3 feet of powder before Sandy moves out.

Southern California Edison announced Tuesday it would send crews to New York to assist Consolidated Edison Company in the restoration effort and damage repair from Sandy.

Sandy has also caused problems for travelers across the country. About 18,000 flights were canceled, including 200 at Los Angeles International Airport.

In one bit of good news, officials announced that Kennedy International Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey will reopen at 7 a.m. Wednesday with limited service. New York's LaGuardia Airport remains closed.

You can help victims of the storm by sending relief checks for the American Red Cross to ABC7. Checks can be made out to: American Red Cross, with Sandy Relief in the memo line. Send checks to:

Superstorm Sandy Relief
P.O. Box 5967
Glendale, CA 91221

See photos of superstorm Sandy along the East Coast

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.