October 30th, 2012 (InsideCostaRica.com) Authorities in the United States have reported a total of 16 people dead as a result of “megastorm” Sandy. The storm left severe damage in its wake, and millions woke up with no electricity this morning.
The mega storm Sandy touched New Jersey shores last night, bringing winds of 80 miles per hour, and with them, 13 foot waves in New York.
The National Hurricane Center announced that Sandy made landfall about 5 kilometers from Atlantic City at 8:00 p.m. EST last night. The ocean swelled about 13 feet at the south end of Manhattan.
In an attempt to reduce damage from the storm, the main electrical company in New York shut down electric service in southern Manhattan, where Wall Street is located.
Authorities were concerned that the water from the ocean would flood the metro system and subway tunnels, as well as cause damage to electrical and telecommunications systems, vital for the nation’s financial center.
“I looked out the window and saw a river flowing through Manhattan,” said Earl Bateman, a stockbroker who has lived in NY for 30 yrs.
Last night, a nuclear plant in northeast New Jersey was declared in state of alert, due to water passing the allowed level. However, no security issues were reported.
Of the deceased, 7 were in New York, 3 in New Jersey, 2 in Maryland, one in Connecticut and another in Carolina. A woman in Canada also died due to a landslide caused by the heavy winds and rain.
Reports from this morning indicate that at least 7.5 million homes and businesses are still without electricity throughout the east coast of the United States. Ronald Reagan airport in Washington, and the Dulles airport in Virginia, have cancelled all their flights and will remain closed until further notice.
“The situation is much worse than I ever imagined,” said the governor of New Jersey.
Airports in New York remain closed and at least 5,500 flights have been cancelled for today.
The US stock markets also remain closed today. Officials say they may open tomorrow, should conditions allow.
Fifty homes also caught fire in the borough of Queens, though the cause is still unknown. It took 200 firemen to get the fires under control.
New York’s metro system remains flooded and officials say it could take anywhere from 14 hours to 4 days to remove all of the water.
President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in New York.