Sandy, one of the biggest storms ever to hit the United States, roared ashore with fierce winds and heavy rain on Monday near the gambling resort of Atlantic City, New Jersey, after forcing evacuations, shutting down transportation and interrupting the presidential campaign.
High winds and flooding racked hundreds of miles (km) of Atlantic coastline while heavy snows were forecast farther inland at higher elevations as the center of the storm marched westward.
More than 2 million customers already were left without power by early evening and more than a million people were subject to evacuation orders. Many communities were swamped by flood waters.
The National Hurricane Center said Sandy came ashore as a “post-tropical cyclone,” meaning it still packed hurricane-force winds but lost the characteristics of a tropical storm. It had sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (129 kph), well above the threshold for hurricane intensity. Sandy previously had been characterized as a hurricane.
The storm’s target area includes big population centers such as New York City, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Trees were downed across the region, untethered pieces of scaffolding rolled down the ghostly streets of New York City, falling debris closed a major bridge in Boston and floodwater inundated side streets in the resort town of Dewey Beach, Delaware, leaving just the tops of mailboxes in view.
In Washington, President Barack Obama appealed to the tens of millions of people in the hurricane’s path to follow directions given to them by authorities.