Emergency officials along the U.S. east coast are assessing damage from
the massive storm named Sandy, which is now blamed for at least 28 U.S.
President Barack Obama has declared "major disasters" in the
northeastern states of New York and New Jersey, where the storm has
flooded low-lying areas, damaged structures and caused widespread power
Tuesday's declarations free up federal disaster funds to help with
disaster relief efforts. During a Tuesday conference at the White House,
the president also pledged to deliver additional resources to hard-hit
The storm moved ashore late Monday south of New York with
hurricane-strength winds. It weakened as it moved inland.
In a Tuesday news conference, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said many
of the city's subway tunnels are closed, around 750,000 people have lost
power and at least 80 homes were destroyed in a wind-driven fire.
"The damage we suffered across the city is clearly extensive and it will
not be repaired overnight. The two biggest challenges facing our city
going forward are getting our mass transit system up and running and
restoring power," Bloomberg said.
Trading at the New York Stock Exchange was canceled Tuesday for a second
day in a row, marking the first time since 1888 that trading has been
suspended for two consecutive days because of weather.
In neighboring New Jersey, a possible berm breach has caused flooding in
several towns, forcing at least 800 people to evacuate. Also, a New
Jersey nuclear power plant declared an alert after waters rose to a
designated high-level mark. Officials said there were no safety concerns
at the plant, which was shut off for maintenance.
In a Tuesday news conference, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said
a popular vacation destination in his state has been hit hard.
"The level of devastation at the Jersey shore is unthinkabl," Christie
Christie, a Republican who has been harshly critical of President Barack
Obama, praised the president for his response to the storm. In an
interview Tuesday with the NBC television network's "Today" show, he
said the president and federal emergency officials had done an
U.S. President Barack Obama has declared that Hurricane Sandy triggered
a "major disaster" in New York and New Jersey. The declaration makes
federal funding available to residents of both states.
At least seven other locales are under a "State of Emergency" - they
government's response has been great. I was on the phone at midnight
again with the president, personally. He has expedited the designation
of New Jersey as a major disaster area. He expedited that on the phone.
Last night, I was on the phone with FEMA (the Federal Emergency
Management Agency) at 2 a.m. this morning to answer the questions they
needed answered to get that designation. And, the president has been
outstanding in this and so have the folks at FEMA," Christie said.
Other U.S. cities along the Eastern Seaboard, including Washington, were
also at a standstill Tuesday, with public transit systems suspended,
airports closed and millions of people forced to stay home from work for
a second day.
Unseasonably powerful blizzards struck further inland. As much as a
meter of snow was predicted in some places, as the storm spanned some
forecaster Dan Padinowski of the AccuWeather service said that "Sandy"
has been a unique storm.
"This is certainly pretty amazing. Just a number of amazing aspects to
this storm, obviously how large it was. The low pressure which made for
such a strong and expansive wind field and, of course, having the cold
air on the western side of this storm add in an even more unique element
to it -- that we had a couple feet of snow in the southern Appalachians,
the central Appalachians," Padinowski said.
Federal government offices have been closed since Monday.
The storm killed at least 65 people in the Caribbean last week before
moving toward the United States.