Cyclone Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coastline and hurled a record-breaking 4-metre surge of seawater at New York City on Monday, roaring ashore after washing away part of the Atlantic City boardwalk and putting the presidential campaign on hold. At least 10 deaths were blamed on the storm.
Sandy knocked out power to at least 3.1 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.
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.
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 135 km/h. The sea surged a record of nearly 4 metres at the foot of Manhattan, flooding the financial district and subway tunnels.
The 10 deaths were in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police in Toronto said a woman was killed by a falling sign as high winds closed in on Canada’s largest city.
As it made its way toward land, it converged with a cold-weather system that turned into a fearsome superstorm, a monstrous hybrid consisting not only of rain and high wind but of snow. Forecasters warned of 20-foot (6-meter) waves bashing into the Chicago lakefront and up to 0.9 metres of snow in West Virginia.