Superstorm Sandy now ashore, its work is far from done
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The storm that was Sandy isn't done just yet, but it's already left large swaths of the East Coast in shambles.
Officials across 14 states confirm that at least 50 people have been killed by the storm, and millions of people from Maine down to North Carolina woke up without power.
After lashing coastal cities and inundating parts of New York City with 13 feet of water, the core of the hybrid storm is now beginning a long slog across Pennsylvania and upstate New York, with its effects spreading as far west as Wisconsin and Illinois.
The big storm, which has caused wind warnings from Chicago to Maine and Canada to Florida, will continue to be a problem for a couple more days with heavy rainfall, snow and local flooding.
"This is going to be an event that, for a period of time, is going to alter the way we do things," Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said Monday, warning residents of his state they would not escape with just a glancing blow.
By midnight, what's left of Sandy was near Philadelphia and was forecast to spend most of Tuesday heading across Pennsylvania before taking a sharp turn Wednesday into western New York, weakening as it moved, said Daniel Brown, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center.
The once-tropical system has merged with a wintry cold front and is likely to produce heavy rain in the East for the next two or three days -- adding up to more flooding, Brown said.
Coastal storm surge will likely continue to be elevated Tuesday, especially with morning high tides, but they may be at levels that are between a foot to a couple of feet lower than Monday night's peak, Brown said. On the coast, gale-force winds will continue and subside eventually Tuesday evening, but inland, they should subside by midday.
In parts of the mid-Atlantic region, particularly higher elevations, several more inches of snow was predicted Tuesday in addition to what fell the night before.
On the western shore of Lake Michigan, large waves were a concern. The Village of Pleasant Prairie, Wis., urged residents to evacuate in anticipation of waves as high as 18 feet. In Chicago, emergency officials asked residents and utility crews to be prepared for winds forecast at 50 mph and waves as high as 25 feet.
In upstate New York, automated calls warned about 13,000 Rochester-area residents who live near Lake Ontario to watch out for waves of 8 to 10 feet overnight. Emergency officials in neighboring Wayne County also suggested that shoreline homeowners evacuate.
The National Weather Service warned of hurricane-force winds with gusts up to 80 mph in New York City and surrounding counties until Tuesday evening.
EAST COAST SUPERSTORM: STATE-BY-STATE
by The Associated Press
The massive storm formerly known as Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast and was expected to join up with two other weather systems to create a huge and problematic storm affecting 50 million people. Here's a snapshot of what is happening or expected, state by state.
The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 members of a crew forced to abandon a tall ship off the North Carolina coast. One of the crew members was found hours later and was in critical condition at a hospital Monday night, but the ship's captain was still missing. The HMS Bounty was originally built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Marlon Brando and has been featured in other films, including one of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.
The University of Connecticut is closing Tuesday, joining a hundreds of other schools and school systems across the state. The closure includes UConn's law school and the UConn Health Center, though the John Dempsey Hospital will remain open during the storm. State police said one person has died after being hit by a falling tree. Power outages: 381,906.
Dover Air Force Base has relocated some aircraft in anticipation of the storm, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has requested that the base be used as a staging area for support and supplies. Some residents of low-lying areas of the base have been ordered to evacuate. Power outages: 32,000.
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. City officials said Lake Shore Drive, along Lake Michigan, is expected to remain open. But they urged motorists to proceed carefully. The Chicago Transit Authority said it will reroute buses if necessary.
Sandy is expected to bring snow to far southeastern Kentucky. A winter storm warning is in effect in Harlan, Letcher and Pike counties through Wednesday morning. Forecasters say snow could accumulate from 4 to 10 inches in high elevations and 1 to 3 inches in lower elevations.
Virtually all Maine public schools opened Monday but some were closing early before the heaviest rain and wind from Hurricane Sandy. State officials say the biggest concern is wind, which is expected to cause widespread power outages. The state's utilities say they have crews poised to deal with expected power outages, including some from Canada. Power outages: 50,000.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says vehicular travel is banned on city roads beginning at 6 p.m. Monday. The restrictions to do not apply to uniformed personnel, hospital employees or other medical providers. Gov. Martin O'Malley earlier Monday closed the Bay Bridge.
Voluntary evacuation recommendations have been issued in Scituate, Lynn, New Bedford and Plum Island. The recommendations are for just certain sections of the communities that could be affected by flooding as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Mandatory evacuations were ordered in sections of Dartmouth and Fall River. Power outages: 400,000.
Michigan utilities say high winds could cause power outages in the state and they're keeping an eye on the weather to respond to power problems. DTE Energy Co. said gusts of 50 mph Monday evening and Tuesday could affect some it its 2.1 million customers. Power outages: 23,000.
Gov. John Lynch has urged all drivers to be off the roads by 3 p.m. as Hurricane Sandy approaches. Lynch declared a state of emergency and directed that non-essential state workers be released from work Monday afternoon. He urged employers to consider releasing workers early. The governor has put 100 New Hampshire Guard soldiers on active duty. At least 13 shelters have been opened. Power outages: 100,000.
All roads into and out of Ocean City are closed due to flooding that has cut off the popular Jersey shore resort community. Hurricane Sandy already had flooded most of Atlantic City, sweeping away an old section of the city's famed boardwalk. Officials said two people were killed when a tree landed on their vehicle. Power outages: 1.6 million.
Video footage from the National Guard shows homes were literally covered in sand during the storm. Dozens of residents had to be rescued after the high water left them stranded.
New Jersey may be the hardest-hit state, with a beach literally swallowing a community near Toms River after a levee failed and crews had to evacuate hundreds in the middle of the night.
Half of Hoboken remains flooded, and Atlantic City's famous boardwalk is shattered.
Much of New York was plunged into darkness Monday from the superstorm and utilities that deliberately darkened downtown Manhattan to prevent storm damage. Water flooded into two major commuter tunnels and into all ten subway tracks at stations in the city. The transit authority says the system, which 5 million New Yorkers use to get to and from work, will be closed indefinitely due to the need for repairs. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said at least five people have died in New York state because of the storm. Power outages: 1,130,000.
Laguardia Airport looked more like a sea port on Tuesday. Most of the runways are flooded, and the light system may be damaged -- along with some of the instruments that guide planes in and out. It may take until Thursday to reopen any airports in the area.
Residents of low-lying areas and along Lake Erie were told to watch for flooding; utilities are anticipating high winds that could blow down trees and poles. Snow is forecast in some areas. Power outages: 23,000.
Officials from the state transit agency and the Pennsylvania Turnpike have instituted speed restrictions over concerns about high winds and ordered certain vehicles, including empty trucks and motorcycles, off some highways. The National Weather Service says southeastern Pennsylvania could get winds reaching 75 mph and rainfall up to 10 inches. An infant was slightly injured when a tree fell on a house in Delaware County on Monday. A man died Sunday in Lancaster County when he fell while trimming a tree. Power outages: 240,000.
Officials are concerned about wind driving water north up Narragansett Bay, which could create flooding in low-lying areas of the upper bay, including Providence, Warwick and Cranston. Power outages: 110,000.
Snow is expected in higher elevations, where a freeze warning has been issued. High winds are expected in many areas.
Gov. Peter Shumlin declared a state of emergency to provide access to National Guard troops in a state still recovering from the devastating effects of the remnants of Hurricane Irene. Culverts and storm drainage basins in some spots have been cleared of debris. Power outages: 14,470.
Thousands in Virginia are without power as former Hurricane Sandy began moving away from the state. There are about 100,000 people without electricity in northern Virginia. Utilities have brought in additional crews to assist with restoration efforts. Power outages: 123,460.
Taxis that originate in Washington are authorized to add an emergency flat rate of $15 per trip because of Hurricane Sandy, starting Monday. The price is supposed to expire at noon Tuesday, but can be extended if considered necessary. The capital area's transit system shut down rail service for the first time since 2003. Power outages: 5,500.
Officials said a woman was killed in a storm-related traffic accident. A spokeswoman for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said about 5 inches of snow had fallen in the area of Tucker County where the crash occurred, making road conditions treacherous. Tomblin declared a state of emergency for the state on Monday. West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Jimmy Gianato said conditions are expected to be at their worst overnight and early Tuesday before the storm moves on.
The Village of Pleasant Prairie along Lake Michigan near the Illinois border has advised residents in about 265 homes to voluntarily evacuate Tuesday morning because of the possibility of dangerously high waves and flooding. Lori Getter of the Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management said waves of 14-18 feet are forecast for Lake Michigan.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.