Superstorm Sandy Reeks Havoc
Hurricane Sandy, a late-season post-tropical cyclone, swept through the Caribbean and up the East Coast of the United States in late October 2012. The storm left dozens dead, thousands homeless and millions without power. Total damage is expected to be in the billions of dollars.
The storm brought hurricane-strength winds, flooding and blackouts to the US Atlantic coast. Sandy damaged or destroyed homes and businesses, more than 72,000 in New Jersey alone. In Cuba, the number of damaged homes has been estimated at 130,000 to 200,000.
The death toll from Sandy as of Nov. 1 was at least 149. The confirmed deaths include 42 in New York; 12 in New Jersey; nine in Maryland; six in Pennsylvania; five in West Virginia; four in Connecticut; two in Virginia; and one in North Carolina. One person died in Canada, and at least 67 people were killed in the Caribbean, including 54 in Haiti.
Sandy slams Jersey shore
A full moon made high tides 20 percent higher than normal and amplified Sandy’s storm surge. Streets were flooded, trees and power lines knocked down and the city’s famed boardwalk was ripped apart. Along the Jersey shore, people were left stranded in their homes and waited for rescue teams in boats to rescue them. More than 80 homes were destroyed in one fire in Queens. Several other fires were started throughout the New York metro area.
Seawater surged over Lower Manhattan’s seawalls and highways and into low-lying streets. The water inundated tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers Wall Street and sent hospital patients and tourists scrambling for safety. Skyscrapers swayed and creaked in winds that partially toppled a crane 74 stories above Midtown. A large tanker ship ran aground on the city’s Staten Island.
As of Nov. 1, about 4.7 million people in 15 states were without electricity, down from nearly 8.5 million a day earlier. Subway tunnels in Lower Manhattan remained flooded, but some lines had resumed service.
Airlines, which had canceled more than 15,000 flights around the world, were returning to normal schedules. Most gas stations in New York City and New Jersey were closed because of power shortages and depleted fuel supplies. Long lines formed at gas stations that were expected to open.
Sandy will end up causing about $20 billion in property damage and $10 billion to $30 billion more in lost business, making it one of the costliest natural disasters on record in the United States, according to IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm. The New York City mayor’s office in late November estimated total losses to the city to be $19 billion and asked the federal government for $9.8 billion in aid for costs not covered by insurance or FEMA.
By Nov. 1, Sandy had dissipated. The National Weather Service reported that “multiple remnants” were circulating across the lower Great Lakes region and moving into Canada. Some areas were getting residual rain and snow showers. Tides were back down to less than a foot above normal.
In a surprise move, the House of Representatives will not vote on Sandy aid in the 112th Congress, a GOP leadership aid confirmed late Tuesday evening. A vote to provide aid to victims affected by the storm could come later this week during the 113th Congress, leaving lawmakers to start from scratch on a resolution to the standoff.
After the House passed the “fiscal cliff” deal, members from Sandy-stricken areas on both sides of the aisle took to the floor to decry the lack of action.
TOPICS: Superstorm, Sandy, Hurricane, Storm, Caribbean