Damage Report: Surveying the Wreckage of Hurricane Sandy

After a night of devastation in which millions along the East Coast lost power and mass transit, the toll of Superstorm Sandy is only beginning to come into view.

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After a night of devastation in which millions along the East Coast lost power and mass transit, the toll of Superstorm Sandy is only beginning to come into view. New York was among the hardest hit, with a 13-foot surge of seawater gushing into Manhattan leaving more than 750,000 customers without power. But residents in New Jersey, where the storm made landfall last night, continue to be in peril with a levee break inundating the town of Moonachie. From the Carolinas to Ohio, some 7.5 million homes and business are without power and the storm's 80 mph winds killed at least 16 32 people in seven states. Meanwhile, the nation's major mobile carriers have vowed to get cell phone service up and running for customers as soon as possible but there's no ETA for a fix. Update: For a handy map of all the reported incidents of damage, head on over to The Guardian. Here's a survey of some of the major destruction by region.

New York

  • At least 7 deaths in the New York region were attributed to the storm. 
  • According to the latest estimate by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 750,000 are without power. 
  • New York City's subway system is facing its worst natural disaster ever. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said "waters have surged into two major commuter tunnels and into subway stations and tracks." Seven subway tunnels were flooded under the East River, according to the MTA. Below, floodwaters enter the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel in an MTA photo:

Here's a photo via Twitter of a subway station in upper Manhattan at 145th St.

There's no timeline for when service will be restored but some bus lines will be back in working order by this after noon.

  • In Breezy Point, a beach community on the Rockaway barrie risland in Queens, between 80 and 100 homes were destroyed in a massive fire, according to the New York Fire DepartmentThe Journal says "Hundreds of homes in this Queens neighborhood suffered flood damage and at least five houses were swept off their foundations."
  • Photo via Reuters.

  • New York schools will remain closed on Wednesday. The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq will both be opened tomorrow. 
  • Nuclear power plants were shut down in both New York and New Jersey. In New York "Entergy Nuclear shut down its Indian Point Unit 3 ... because of external electrical grid issues."

  • Most of Amtrak's service in the Northeast has been suspended, according to a statement on its website. It will decide later today whether it will restore service on Wednesday. “Crews are currently inspecting tunnels, tracks, equipment and stations to assess the damage from Hurricane Sandy and are beginning to make the necessary repairs along Amtrak-owned sections of railroad in the Northeast, including the Northeast Corridor. … Necessary repairs include the removal of trees and other debris from the tracks and the overhead electrical power system, as well as track and signal repairs,” the railroad said.

New Jersey

  • According to the Department of Energy, almost 2.5 million customer in New Jersey are without power, leaving 2.3 million in the dark. (About 60 percent of New Jersey customers don't have power.)
  • At least three deaths were attributed to the storm in New Jersey.
  •  Today, officials are taking to boats to try to rescue almost 800 people in a trailer park in Moonachie, according to The Wall Street Journal. "There were no reports of injuries or deaths. Local authorities initially reported a levee had broken, but Gov. Chris Christie said a berm overflowed."
  • In Atlantic City, which is inundated with water, emergency efforts are currently underway to rescue some 500 residents in their homes. according to director of emergency management Tom Foley
  • New Jersey's state government is closed and Gov. Chris Christie encouraged local school districts to do the same. "All these decisions are made at the local level, but I would hope that they would look at the conditions we’re dealing with and would make the smart move and not have school buses out on the road (today)," the governor said at a press conference. "We don’t know what condition the roads will be in, We’re going to anticipate during the evening a lot more downed trees and downed wires. It will just be a very dangerous situation to move folks around (today), we believe. So let’s leave these roads open for emergency personnel to get around."
  • Bad roads. The Star-Ledger reports that due to flooding and heavy winds there was a "road closure or weather-related traffic incident in all 21 of the New Jersey counties at the same time." The paper says "state officials took the rare — if unprecedented — step of closing three-quarters of the 173-mile long Garden State Parkway, from Exit 129 in Woodbridge Township all the way down to its end in Cape May." 
  • According to the Journal, nuclear power plant closures have also occurred. "PSEG Nuclear, which shut down a unit at its Salem plant in southern New Jersey after problems with four of the station’s six circulating water pumps."


  • Pennsylvania was hit by the center of the storm at one point, causing 32 river gauges to flood as of Tuesday morning. According to the National Weather Service, "the Conestoga River in Lancaster topped 14 feet, three feet above flood stage." Hundreds have been evacuated out of flood zones.
  • More than 1.2 million were without power in the state. 


  • Two deaths were attributed to Sandy in Connecticut and two are missing, according to the Register Citizen.
  • More than 475,000 are without power and as the Long Island Sound flooded roads and heavy winds collapsed trees and power lines. Power is slowly being brought back on. "The good news for the state’s largest utility is that neither the substation in Branford, nor the one in Stamford, where they built a concrete berm to help protect it on Monday, were damaged by flood waters."


  • About 322,073 customers were without power and the state isn't out of the woods yet. "The Bay State's emergency agency warned residents of continuing dangerous winds into Tuesday, which could cause power outages, and reminded them that coastal flooding was expected overnight," reports the CNN
  • State employees will be going to work Tuesday. 


  • Storms in Maryland have left 290,000 without power.
  • Major flooding has been reported in the state as well. The Wall Street Journal reports that "21 river gauges showed flood levels, including the Monocacy River near Frederick, where the water level topped 19 feet, more than four feet above flood stage."
  • The main damage done to Maryland was in the tourist city of Ocean City. The Baltimore Sun reports that "The Route 90 bridge reopened after being shut off to non-emergency traffic overnight Monday, but the Route 50 bridge remained closed, expected to reopen some time Tuesday afternoon. Access to Coastal Highway south of 62nd Street had been closed to non-emergency traffic Tuesday morning, though a steady stream of cars was being permitted to pass the road block anyway. Beaches have been closed through Tuesday."


  • Dogged by flooding, The Journal reports that "23 river gauges topped flood levels, with parts of the Potomac starting to overflow their banks ... Water levels in Goose Creek rose above 18 feet near Leesburg Va., more than six feet above flood stage."

Washington, D.C.

  • On Tuesday, the federal government remained closed along with the Metro system, schools and courts. About 25,000 are without power.  
  • Still, Washington escaped the worst of the storm, where the hurricane inflicted only "modest" damage. The worst of the flooding occurred near the Potomac River. "The Potomac reached a height of 6.48 feet at the Georgetown/Wisconsin Avenue gauge in Washington D.C. shortly before 10 a.m., just above the flood stage of 6 feet, and was expected to reach 9.3 feet by late Wednesday before receding," according to the Journal.


  • 6,600 residents are without power and in North Carolina, Gov. Beverly Perdue expanded a state emergency to the western end of the state as a foot of snow is expected. 


  • Even regions as far as the Midwest have been effected. According to the AP, "The powerful storm is expected to extend as far as Chicago, where the National Weather Service already has issued high wind warnings and a lakeshore flood warning for Tuesday and Wednesday. Water may pile up on the south shore of Lake Michigan, said Louis Uccellini, director of environmental prediction for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.