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Superstorm Sandy takes aim at Atlantic coast

 A downed limb lies in a flooded street as Hurricane Sandy approaches, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in Center Moriches, N.Y. Hurricane Sandy continued on it...
 A man reacts to waves crashing over a seawall in Narragansett, R.I., Monday, Oct. 29, 2012.  A fast-strengthening Hurricane Sandy churned north Monda...
 A car crushed by a fallen tree sits along Montauk Highway as Hurricane Sandy approaches, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in Bay Shore, N.Y.  Hurricane Sandy c...
 A house is inundated by flood water as Hurricane Sandy approaches, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in Center Moriches, N.Y.  Hurricane Sandy continued on its ...
 This NOAA satellite image taken Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 shows Hurricane Sandy off the Mid Atlantic coastline moving toward the north with maximum susta...
 A sign informs motorists along U.S. Route 50 that Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which connects the state's eastern and western shores, is closed ...

Superstorm Sandy

A downed limb lies in a flooded street as Hurricane Sandy approaches, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in Center Moriches, N.Y. Hurricane Sandy continued on it...

Superstorm Sandy

A man reacts to waves crashing over a seawall in Narragansett, R.I., Monday, Oct. 29, 2012. A fast-strengthening Hurricane Sandy churned north Monda...

Superstorm Sandy

A car crushed by a fallen tree sits along Montauk Highway as Hurricane Sandy approaches, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in Bay Shore, N.Y. Hurricane Sandy c...

Superstorm Sandy

A house is inundated by flood water as Hurricane Sandy approaches, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in Center Moriches, N.Y. Hurricane Sandy continued on its ...

Superstorm Sandy

This NOAA satellite image taken Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 shows Hurricane Sandy off the Mid Atlantic coastline moving toward the north with maximum susta...

Superstorm Sandy

A sign informs motorists along U.S. Route 50 that Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which connects the state's eastern and western shores, is closed ...

A furious Hurricane Sandy made the westward lurch that forecasters feared and took dead aim at the U.S. states of New Jersey and Delaware on Monday, putting the presidential campaign on hold and threatening to cripple Wall Street and the New York subway system with an epic surge of seawater.
Gaining speed and power through the day, the storm knocked out electricity to more than 1.5 million people and figured to upend life for tens of millions more. It clobbered 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 mph (135 kph).
Sandy, which killed 69 people in the Caribbean before making its way up the Atlantic, began to hook left at midday and was about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of Atlantic City by evening, moving west-northwest at almost 30 mph (50 kph) _ faster than forecasters expected.
As it drew near, Sandy moved closer to converging with two cold-weather systems to form a fearsome superstorm of snow, rain and wind. Forecasters warned of 20-foot (6-meter) waves bashing into the Chicago lakefront and up to 3 feet (0.9 meters) of snow in West Virginia.
From Washington to Boston, subways, buses, trains and schools were shut down across the region of more than 50 million people. Amtrak cancelled all train service cross the Northeast through Tuesday, while airlines canceled 10,000 flights, disrupting the plans of travelers all over the world.
Hundreds of thousands of people were under orders to move to higher ground. The storm knocked out electricity to more than 1 million people, and 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.
At the White House, Obama made a direct appeal to those in harm's way: "Please listen to what your state and local officials are saying. When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate. Don't delay, don't pause, don't question the instructions that are being given, because this is a powerful storm."
The storm washed away a section of the Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey. Water was splashing over the seawalls at the southern tip of Manhattan.
New York City authorities worried that salt water would seep through the boarded-up street grates and through the sandbags placed at subway entrances, crippling the electrical connections needed to operate the subway.
Authorities also feared the surge of seawater could damage the underground electrical and communications lines in lower Manhattan that are vital to the nation's financial center.
Consolidated Edison said it was considering cutting off the power to lower Manhattan to try to protect the system from damage from salt water.
A construction crane atop a luxury high-rise in midtown Manhattan collapsed in high winds and dangled precariously. Residents in surrounding buildings were ordered to move to lower floors and the streets below were cleared, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.
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 canceled all meetings at its New York headquarters.
Authorities warned that New York City and Long Island could get the worst of the storm surge: an 11-foot (3-meter) onslaught of seawater that could swamp lower Manhattan, flood the subways and damage the underground network of electrical and communications lines that are vital to the nation's financial capital.
"Leave immediately. Conditions are deteriorating very rapidly, and the window for you getting out safely is closing," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told those in low-lying areas.
Defiant New Yorkers jogged, pushed strollers and took snapshots of churning New York Harbor Monday, trying to salvage normal routines.
Without most stores and museums open, tourists were left to snap photos of the World Trade Center site, Wall Street and Times Square in largely deserted streets.
Belgian tourist Gerd Van don Mooter-Dedecker, 56, wandered in to Trinity Church after learning that a planned shopping spree with her husband Monday wouldn't happen. "We brought empty suitcases so we could fill them up," she said.
As rain from the leading edges began to fall over the Northeast on Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people from Maryland to Connecticut were ordered to leave low-lying coastal areas, including 375,000 in lower Manhattan and other parts of New York City, 50,000 in Delaware and 30,000 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The storm washed away an old section of the world-famous Atlantic City Boardwalk and left most of the city's emptied-out streets under water. All 12 casinos in the city were closed, and some 30,000 people were under orders to evacuate.
Obama declared emergencies in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, authorizing federal relief work to begin well ahead of time. He promised the government would "respond big and respond fast" after the storm hits.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was typically blunt: "Don't be stupid. Get out."
Those who stayed in New York had few ways to get out. New York's subways, which serve 5 million people a day, were shut down. The Holland Tunnel connecting New York to New Jersey was closed, as was a tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and the city planned to shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington, the Verrazano-Narrows and several other spans because of high winds.
Coast Guard officials rescued 14 people, recovered one person who rescuers said was unresponsive and were still looking for the captain of a replica of the tall ship made famous in the film "Mutiny on the Bounty" after the vessel began taking on water off the North Carolina coast.
In Maryland, the storm caused significant damage to a large fishing pier in the beach resort of Ocean City. Gov. Martin O'Malley says the fishing pier is now "half-gone."
Early voting was canceled Monday in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Despite the dire warnings, some refused to budge.
Mark Vial pushed a stroller holding his 2-year-old daughter Maziyar toward his apartment building in Battery Park City, an area in Lower Manhattan that was ordered evacuated.
"We're high up enough, so I'm not worried about flooding," said Via, 35. "There's plenty of food. We'll be ok.
___
Breed reported from Raleigh, North Carolina; Contributing to this report were Jennifer Peltz and Tom Hays in New York City, AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington; Katie Zezima in Atlantic City, New Jersey; David Porter in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey; Wayne Parry in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey; and David Dishneau in Delaware.


Updated : 2021-05-07 20:52 GMT+08:00