October 30, 2012 - 10:31 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coastline and hurled a record-breaking four-meter surge of seawater at New York City on Monday, Oct 29, roaring ashore and putting the presidential campaign on hold a week before election day At least 13 deaths were blamed on the storm, The Associated Press reported.
Sandy knocked out power to at least 5.7 million people, and New York's main utility said large sections of Manhattan had been plunged into darkness by the storm, with 250,000 customers without power as water pressed into the island from three sides, flooding rail yards, subway tracks, tunnels and roads.
Just before its centre reached land, the storm was stripped 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 remained every bit as dangerous to the 50 million people in its path. By late night, the centre of the storm was over southern New Jersey.
The National Hurricane Center announced at 8 p.m. that Sandy had come ashore near Atlantic City. It smacked the boarded-up big cities of the Northeast corridor, from Washington and Baltimore to Philadelphia, New York and Boston, with stinging rain and gusts of more than 85 135 kilometres per hour. The sea surged a record of nearly four meters at the foot of Manhattan, flooding the financial district and subway tunnels.
The 13 deaths were reported in New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Some of the victims were killed by falling trees. Police in Toronto said a woman was killed by a falling sign as high winds closed in on Canada's largest city.
Storm damage was projected at $10 billion to $20 billion, meaning it could prove to be one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney suspended their campaigning with just over a week to go before election day.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said late Monday that the worst of the rain had passed for the city, and that the high tide that sent water sloshing into Manhattan from three sides was receding.
The major American stock exchanges closed for the day, the first unplanned shutdown since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. Wall Street expected to remain closed on Tuesday. The United Nations cancelled all meetings at its New York headquarters.