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Video: Bloomberg orders evacuation in NYC's low-lying areas

NBC News and news services
updated 10/29/2012 12:37:45 AM ET 2012-10-29T04:37:45

Interactive: Hurricane Tracker (on this page)
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Hurricane Sandy lumbered toward the East Coast early Monday, leaving potentially tens of millions of residents with only hours to prepare for its onslaught of punishing wind, torrential rains and, at higher elevations, heavy snow.

A day before the storm was scheduled to make landfall, state and local officials issued mandatory evacuation orders for hundreds of thousands of residents in low-lying areas and began the slow, grinding process of shutting down New York City’s massive transit system.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock exchanges said they would not be trading on Monday and possibly Tuesday. In Washington, D.C., federal offices will remain closed Monday, and federal courts in affected areas sent out releases saying they, too, would be shuttered in anticipation of the historic storm.

Forecasters said Sandy has the ingredients to transform into a "super storm" as it merges with an Arctic jet stream, which could make the storm unlike anything seen over the eastern United States in decades. The storm is projected to make landfall late Monday .

"We're looking at impact of greater than 50 to 60 million people," said Louis Uccellini, head of environmental prediction for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Sandy could be the largest storm ever to hit the United States, according to NOAA's website.

"The size of this alone, affecting a heavily populated area, is going to be history making," said Jeff Masters, a hurricane specialist who writes a blog posted on the Weather Underground.

Workers on Sunday night began shutting down New York City's subway, bus and commuter railroads , as ordered by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In New Jersey, bus, rail and light rail services were gradually shut down starting Sunday afternoon.

BreakingNews.com's coverage of Sandy

In anticipation of widespread damage and vast power outages, states of emergency were declared in nine states from North Carolina to Maine, as well as in Washington, D.C., as Sandy made its way north after killing at least 65 people in the Caribbean.

Story: States shutter transit systems ahead of storm

“Sandy is a large hurricane and large systems pose multiple hazards for more people than … smaller systems of comparable intensity,” National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb said Sunday. “The large size of the system is why it is so capable of producing a life threatening storm surge, with that threat being applicable to many areas.”

A late Sunday advisory from the National Hurricane Center said Sandy was about 290 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and 470 miles south-southeast of New York City. It was moving northeast at 14 mph.

"The combination of an extremely dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters," the National Hurricane Center said in its advisory.

Mandatory evacuations
Forecasters said Sandy could make U.S. landfall anywhere between Maryland and southern New England. Some computer models show a likely landfall between Delaware and the New York/New Jersey area, where the storm surge could reach from 6 feet to 11 feet.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered mandatory evacuations (.PDF) of 375,000 people from low-lying areas in New York City, signifying officials' growing concern about the severity of the storm and its impact on the five boroughs. About 45,000 of those were people living in public housing, where the heat, hot water and elevator services will be turned off, Bloomberg said, according to NBCNewYork.com.

“This evacuation is mandatory. It is for your own safety,” Bloomberg said.

The city opened 65 shelters in public schools on Sunday morning and said more could be opened. Last year, the mayor called for an evacuation in anticipation of Tropical Storm Irene, which officials called unprecedented.

Three other states also were ordering mandatory evacuations.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell ordered a mandatory evacuation of an estimated 50,000 people in coastal communities. In New Jersey, mandatory evacuations were ordered for Sandy Hook south to Cape May, an area that includes the casinos in Atlantic City and popular beach resorts.

Video: Bloomberg orders evacuation in NYC's low-lying areas (on this page)

Five shelters were open in Atlantic County for those five affected municipalities that are home to some 66,000 people, according to census data, said Linda Gilmore, a county spokeswoman. One of the shelters was already full.

“As conditions continue to deteriorate we’re seeing more people," with rain and increasing winds, she told NBC News.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered mandatory evacuations on Sunday in vulnerable areas of Bridgeport and Fairfield.

Separately, several cities, including Stamford, Conn., and Islip, N.Y., also ordered residents out of flood-prone areas.

Tips on preparing for Sandy

Not everyone was heeding the evacuation orders. Peter Mercatanti, 26, who lives on Deauville Beach in Mantoloking, N.J., said Sunday afternoon that he had kayaks ready and had packed wet suits, waterproof book bags, flares, glow sticks, flashlights, propane and food to bear out the storm.

He had stocked sandbags around his home and put up shelter blinds on all of the windows and the doors. But ocean water was hitting his fence and winds that he estimated to be about 25 to 30 miles an hour could be heard screaming on the beach.

“I just wanted to be here for it, see it, experience it, and try to take care of my house as much as possible,” Mercatanti, a chief of operations for a gym chain, told NBC News by telephone.

Though he is "extremely worried," he won't leave the island but will head to a friend's house nearby if need be.

Image: Peter Mercatanti's house in Deauville Beach, N.J.
Peter Mercatanti
Peter Mercatanti won't leave his house on Deauville Beach in Mantoloking, N.J., saying he wants to home to experience the storm and try to take care of his house. "I can be sustainable and floating," he said. He took this image around 6 p.m. ET on Sunday.

"I’ve pretty much kind of prepared for every possible situation," he said. "I can be sustainable and floating."

The Coast Guard also rescued a surfer near Sea Bright, N.J., where authorities have issued mandatory evacuations.

"We can't stress enough to stay clear of beaches," said Chief Petty Officer Rodger Krass, the command duty officer in the New York sector, said in a statement. "Now is not the time to head out onto the water to go surfing as sea conditions are extremely dangerous and are continuing to worsen as Hurricane Sandy approaches shore."

President Barack Obama on Sunday visited the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA Headquarters, where the deployment of federal resources and teams to states up and down the East Coast will be coordinated, the White House said.

Calling it a "very serious storm event," he said: "This is going to affect a big swath of the country and because it's slow moving, it could be a number of days until people get power back."

Video: N.J. coast residents ordered to evacuate

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said earlier Sunday that the "time for preparing and talking is about over."

"People need to be acting now particularly as this storm … is becoming a rather substantial risk to storm surge," he added. The hurricane is "going to produce very high potential life threatening storm surge … that may require additional evacuations today."

Coastal flooding posed a major threat, particularly in low-lying areas like New York City, the global financial nerve center, and Alexandria, Va., across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Flooding also could occur in parts of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York, the National Hurricane Center said.

But Fugate warned that "this is not a coastal threat alone" and that the impact will be felt "well inland."

Share your images of Hurricane Sandy preparations

Some areas could experience up to a foot of rain, while others, such as West Virginia, Virginia and the area around the North Carolina-Tennessee border, could get from 1 to 3 feet of snow.

Sandy's winds were not overwhelming for a hurricane -- sustained near 75 mph Sunday afternoon with higher gusts. But its width is exceptional. Hurricane force winds extended up to 175 miles from its center while its lesser tropical storm-force winds reached across 520 miles.

Slideshow: Recovering after Sandy (on this page)

Officials urged residents to stock up on emergency supplies, but items like lanterns, generators, propane, rain boots and batteries were hard to find at stores throughout the region. Grocery stores also reported runs on bread, bottled water and canned foods.

Long lines also were reported at gas stations that remained open.

Sandy also was disrupting travel in the region. More than 6,800 flights have been canceled so far, according to FlightAware.com, a flight tracking website. Rail traffic also was impacted, with Amtrak canceling all of its northeast corridor service in addition to some other lines it operates in the region.

Some local governments, including New York City and Washington, D.C., announced schools would be closed on Monday and Tuesday. Federal government offices in Washington, D.C., will also be closed Monday and non-emergency employees there as well as in Connecticut and Massachusetts have been told not to come to work.

The Broadway League said it was calling off all Broadway performances on Sunday and Monday evenings.

Workers also halted construction on Saturday at the World Trade Center, where efforts to secure the site were ongoing, Cuomo said in a statement. All construction materials have been tied down and nailed to concrete floors, or secured with heavy chains, and more than 1,000 sandbags had been placed around low-lying areas next to Battery Park and the Hudson River.

"I've directed the Port Authority to ensure that the World Trade Center site and the Memorial are protected from flooding and high winds due to Hurricane Sandy," Cuomo said. "The World Trade Center is being built well above and beyond normal flood protection standards; however we must take every precaution to ensure the site is protected from a potentially historic storm."

Election issues
Coming in the hectic run-up to the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 6, the storm presented a challenge to the campaigns of Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

Obama canceled campaign stops in Virginia and Colorado early next week because of the hurricane and was planning to remain at the White House, his spokesman said Saturday.

Romney rescheduled his campaign events for Virginia on Sunday and headed to Ohio instead.

Obama said officials did not expect the storm to impact voting, "but we're obviously going to have a look." Meantime, Maryland’s governor also announced that early voting in the state would be canceled Monday, so as not to jeopardize the safety of voters, NBC Washington reported.

Sandy is set to deliver potential election surprise

Power outages caused by the storm, expected to affect millions or residents and businesses, could continue through the election, NBC meteorologist Bill Karins warned. Some 3,000 people were without power in Virginia, where it was raining Sunday and up to 200 people were going to be evacuated, said Gov. Robert McDonnell.

"After the storm hits, expect the cleanup and power outage restoration to continue right up through Election Day," Karins said. "Serious and life-threatening weather conditions are expected from Outer Banks to New England."

Although Sandy is not forecast to be as strong as other recent storms to hit the Northeast -- such as Hurricane Irene in August 2011, which left $4 billion in damage -- it holds the potential to cause significant damage because it will be moving slowly.

Some experts predict at least $1 billion in damage in the United States.

Insurers prepare for impact of Hurricane Sandy

NBC News' Isolde Raftery, Ian Johnston, Miranda Leitsinger, Miguel Llanos, Andrew Mach and Jim Gold, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Photos: Recovery

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  1. Hundreds of people affected by Sandy wait in line for distributions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Red Cross and other aid organizations on Nov. 17 in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. FEMA says it is extending, by a month, a program providing temporary housing to New Yorkers displaced by Superstorm Sandy. (Bebeto Matthews / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A volunteer checks Donald Vaughn, who had not been able to keep a dialysis appointment, in his apartment at a public housing facility in the Rockaway section of the Queens borough of New York on Nov. 17. Some residents have struggled to get their lives back to normal more than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy since some essential services have yet to return to parts of the city. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Contractors dig several feet of sand out of a garage after it was deposited by the storm surge from Sandy in Mantoloking, N.J. on Nov. 16. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Destroyed rides sit on the beach from the Funtown Pier on Nov. 16 in Seaside Heights, N.J. Two amusement piers and a number of roller coasters were destroyed in the seaside town by Sandy. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A surfer heads out into the water in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood where a large section of the iconic boardwalk was washed away on Nov. 16, in the Queens borough of New York City. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. President Barack Obama and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, talk with a man inside the distribution tent as they tour a FEMA recovery center in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on Staten Island in New York on Nov. 15, 2012. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, is at right. Obama got a look Thursday at the devastation that Sandy waged on New York City, flying over flood-ravaged Queens before landing in Staten Island to meet storm victims who lost homes and loved ones. (Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Rosemary McDermott and her husband Anthony Minor react as they open a safe containing a family genealogy they were able to salvage from the basement of her mother's home in the Breezy Point section of Queens, N.Y., on Nov. 15, 2012. A fire destroyed more than 100 homes in the oceanfront community during Superstorm Sandy. At left are Todd Griffin and Kevin Striegle, volunteers with Adventures in Missions, who helped find the safe beneath the debris. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. People receive free clothing at the Ocean Bay Action Center on Nov. 15, 2012, in the Rockaway neighborhood of Queens in New York City. More than two weeks after Superstorm Sandy, residents are still lining up for free clothing and food as emergency workers continue to restore power, water and heat to the battered community. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Patrick Wall, house manager at Coney Island USA, cleans a vintage player piano damaged in the flooding of the buildings that house the Coney Island Circus Sideshow and the Coney Island Museum on Nov. 15, 2012, in Brooklyn, New York City. Staff and volunteers are working to restore what can be saved following Superstorm Sandy. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Homeowner Rob Ostrander talks on the phone in front of his Hurricane Sandy damaged home in the Brooklyn borough region of Belle Harbor, N.Y., Nov. 14. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A worker looks up at a hole in the foundation caused by Hurricane Sandy to the home of Leslie Mahoney in the Brooklyn borough of Belle Harbor, N.Y., Nov. 14. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Lisa Baney walks back toward her family's home after taking a photo of a neighbor's destroyed home on Nov. 14, in Bay Head, N.J. Many residents of the hard hit seaside town remain without power. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A living room is filled with sand washed in by Superstorm Sandy on Nov. 14, in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. A man looks up at a building along the destroyed section of boardwalk on Nov. 14, in Point Pleasant, N.J. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Workers pause to look at a home that has been pushed on top of a work truck by the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy in the Brooklyn borough of Belle Harbor N.Y., Nov. 14. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A candle is handed out to residents in need from a group called Dream Center in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood in Queens, N.Y. on Nov.14. Two weeks after Superstorm Sandy slammed into parts of New York and New Jersey, thousands are still without power and heat. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. An New York police officer jumps over a chasm in the boardwalk caused by the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy in Belle Harbor, N.Y., Nov. 14. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Louise McCarthy carts belongings from her flood-damaged home as she passes the charred ruins of other homes in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough of New York, Nov. 14. A fire destroyed more than 100 homes in the oceanfront community during Superstorm Sandy. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Heavy equipment operator Bill Unger carries photos he salvaged from a mass dump of household possessions on Nov. 13, in the Midland Beach area of the Staten Island, N.Y. Unger has been helping to remove Hurricane Sandy debris for the city and collecting photos along the way. He takes them to his daughter, who is posting them on Facebook for neighborhood residents to find online and later collect. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. A woman steps down off a damaged section of boardwalk in the Rockaway neighborhood of New York City, Nov. 13. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. CVS workers stock the shelves of a temporary store being constructed in front of a damaged CVS location in the Rockaway Beach neighborhood of Queens, New York, Nov. 12. Most stores in the area have been damaged or destroyed. (Andrew Gombert / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. A home that was damaged by Superstorm Sandy is seen in Union Beach, N.J., on Nov. 12. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. An insurance claims adjuster climbs the entrance to a house in the Breezy Point neighborhood on Nov. 12, which was left devastated by Superstorm Sandy in New York City's Queens borough. (Adrees Latif / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Chris Schmidt works on ripping out damaged wood in a friend's home, as a fire burns in the fireplace, on Nov. 12. People in the area continue to deal with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in the Oakwood Beach neighborhood of Staten Island, N.Y. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Members of the U.S. Army's 62nd Medical Brigade Preventive Medicine Detachment take water samples during early morning fog in Breezy Point, on Nov. 12. The neighborhood was left devastated by Superstorm Sandy in New York City's Queens borough. (Adrees Latif / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. People line up to receive donated items from Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens in the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, on Nov. 12. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. A woman carries her dog while walking through charred homes in Breezy Point, on Nov. 12. (Adrees Latif / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. A resident looks through a destroyed house in Union Beach, N.J., on Nov. 12. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Streets damaged during Superstorm Sandy are seen in Ortley Beach, N.J., on Nov. 10. (Tim Larsen / Governor's Office via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. People gather for free donated food beneath a spotlight in an area without power on Nov. 12, in the Rockaway neighborhood in New York City's Queens borough. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. A young girl rejoices as she finds a doll, while she and her mother search through piles of clothes and other items donated for victims of Superstorm Sandy, on a sidewalk on the south side of Staten Island, on Nov. 12. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Seabee EOCN Courtney McCormack, left, grabbed a shovel and started digging out the sand that had washed up against the house as others in the group grabbed the waterlogged debris to begin a 100 yard walk out of the neighborhood to a large trash pile in Breezy Point, N.Y. on Nov. 12. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. A cyclist passes piles of debris on Nov. 10, as clean-up continues where a large section of the iconic boardwalk was washed away in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Community pet rescuer Kim Ruiz stands among the cats, five of whom were rescued during Superstorm Sandy, and dogs she houses in her unheated apartment without electricity in the Far Rockaway neighborhood in the Queens borough of New York City on Nov. 9. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Mac Baker heats pots of water on the floor with small flames for a bit of warmth in her unheated apartment on Nov. 9, with her niece Nytaisha Baker in the Ocean Bay public housing projects in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Volunteer Christine Wakefield organizes donated goods Nov. 9, in a Metropolitan Transit Authority bus in the Midland Beach neighborhood of Staten Island, N.Y. (Andrew Burton / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. David Sylvester searches through the remains of his house, which was flooded and then burned to the ground during Hurricane Sandy, for the corpses of his five cats in the Midland Beach neighborhood in Staten Island, N.Y., on Nov. 9. (Andrew Burton / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Dean Rasinya takes a break from cleaning his damaged home on Nov. 8 in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens in New York City. Rasinya's house still stands, just at the edge of the fire's reach, near the area where there was a huge blaze that destroyed over 100 homes in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Rasinya has lived in the neighborhood for 35 years and intends to rebuild. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. U.S. Marines from the 8th Engineer Support Battallon out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., attempt to start a generator which they will use to pump out floodwater from an overnight storm on Nov. 8 in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. The Breezy Point neighborhood was heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. David Sylvester, 50, stands in front of the remains of his house in the Midland Beach neighborhood on Staten Island in New York City on Nov. 8. Sylvester and his wife Joanne lost their five cats when their home caught fire after Hurricane Sandy flooded their neighborhood. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Theresa Goddard, her apartment still without electricity, is overwhelmed while discussing her living conditions on Nov. 8 in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. Even as a storm plunged temperatures below freezing, she and many other residents of the Red Hook public housing projects remain without heat and running water. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. A damaged house sits in the middle of the street as the area continues to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Breezy Point, Queens, N.Y. on Nov. 8. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Snow covers debris from the cleanup after Sandy in the Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., on Nov. 8. Residents across the Northeast woke up on Nov. 8 to more than 200,000 new power outages and record early snow from a nor'easter that struck just 10 days after Superstorm Sandy battered the region. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Ed Cardona shovels a few inches of snow from his driveway, just two hundred yards from the water, on Staten Island in New York City on Nov. 8. Cardona, who has lived here since 1989, had about three feet of water after Superstorm Sandy. "I still love the place, I'm not going anywhere. I picked up a new snowblower within the last seven months that went under water. I didn't get to use it at all, but that's OK. The family's safe, that's what's important," said Cardona. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. A man walks past a fallen tree in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., Nov. 8. (Shannon Stapleton / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. People wait in line to buy gasoline during a snowstorm on Nov. 7 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The city is still experiencing long gas lines in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Snow blows past debris and non-functioning streetlights on Nov. 7 in the Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. A man helps another person climb down from a destroyed section of boardwalk after they checked the storm's approach in the Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., on Nov. 7. The Rockaway Peninsula was especially hard hit by Superstorm Sandy and some evacuated ahead of the nor'easter. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Volunteers walk through falling snow while bringing food to residents of homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy on Nov. 7 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Snow falls as Eddie Saman clears out destroyed household belongings from his flood-damaged home on Nov. 7 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. He and fellow residents of the low-lying New Dorp area of Staten Island had been advised to evacuate ahead of the arrival of a storm that could potentially reflood areas devastated by Superstorm Sandy. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. U.S. Marines work to clean up debris on Nov. 7 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. U.S. Postal Service mail carrier Kenneth Henn delivers mail to a residence along Ocean Ave. at 15th Street in the evacuated section of Belmar, N.J., on Nov. 7. Machines pile sand along Ocean Ave. in the background. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. Linemen install a transformer on Nov. 7 to help restore power in the Staten Island community of Oakwood Beach in New York City. The linemen were from Chain Electric, a contract utility crew that drove in from Mississippi to help out. (Paul J. Richards / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. Dave Young, left, and Joe Callan, front right, help friend and fellow FDNY firefighter Kieran Burke, background, search for his wife's engagement ring, a family heirloom, in the ashes of Burke's home on Nov. 6 in Breezy Point, N.Y. (David Friedman / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. This sign and photo were nailed to one of several pilings that had held up a home in Head, N.J., until it was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. (Tom Mihalek / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. Heavy equipment operators work on a mountain of debris left by superstorm Sandy on Nov. 6 in Wall, N.J. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. Casey Brouder clears out her parents' home on Nov. 6 in Breezy Point, N.Y. (David Friedman / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. Members of the National Guard walk past a house damaged by Sandy as it is painted with an American flag in the New Dorp section of Staten Island, N.Y. on Nov. 6. Voting in the U.S. presidential election is the latest challenge for the hundreds of thousands of people in the New York-New Jersey area still affected by superstorm Sandy. (Seth Wenig / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. Poll workers Eva Prenga, right, Roxanne Blancero, center, and Carole Sevchuk try to start an optical scanner voting machine in the cold and dark at a polling station in a tent in the Midland Beach section of Staten Island, N.Y., on Nov. 6. The original polling site, a school, was damaged by superstorm Sandy. (Seth Wenig / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Nikolas Policastro, 20, gives a kiss to one of his five puppies while Paige Shaw of the American Red Cross pets their mother "Bella" at a shelter in the Pinelands Regional Junior High School in Little Egg Harbor, N.J. on Nov. 6. Policastro, his four brothers and his parents sought refuge at the shelter after their home in Mystic Islands was swamped with over five feet of water from Sandy. The shelter was one of the few places that the family could house their extended family of five cats, five dogs and five thee-week-old puppies. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. A woman and her son scramble over a tree toppled by superstorm Sandy as she accompanies him to Public School 195, in the background, in the Manhattan Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn, on Nov. 5 in New York. Nov. 5 was the first day of public school for New York City students following the storm. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. MTA employees observe a pump removing seawater from the L train's tunnel, in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy in New York City on Nov. 5. The MTA says the G and L trains are now the top priority to reopen. The signal system on the G still needs repairs, and the L tunnel under the East River is still being pumped out. (MTA via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. People wait at a crowded subway stop as New York City tries to recover from the after effects of Hurricane Sandy in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Nov. 5. Portions of the city's transit system are still not operating due to flooding and damage from last week's hurricane causing severe crowding in areas. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Lakota Serpica, 8, does her part to help organize donations for people affected by Sandy in Midland Beach in Staten Island, N.Y. on Nov. 5. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. arrive in Staten Island, N.Y. on Nov. 5. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, garbage lies piled on the street in the New Dorp neighborhood of Staten Island, N.Y., on Nov. 4. (Seth Wenig / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. A worker scrapes up mud and tiles from flood-damaged Saint Rose High School in Belmar, N.J., on Nov. 4. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. People salvage food from bags thrown out of a flooded store in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, N.Y., on Nov. 4. Victims of Sandy on the East Coast struggled against the cold early on Sunday amid fuel shortages and power outages, even as officials fretted about getting voters displaced by the storm to polling stations for Tuesday's presidential election. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  69. Soldiers from the National Guard help to unload supplies to set up a donation distribution center for victims of Sandy, at St. Camillus School in the Rockaways area of Queens, N.Y., on Nov. 4. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  70. Rockaway residents stay warm by a fire during near-freezing temperatures on Nov. 4 in the Rockaway area of Queens, N.Y. (Allison Joyce / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  71. Members of the Coney Island Cathedral of Deliverance worship in a neighboring community center on Nov. 4 in New York City, after their church and beach community were heavily damaged by Sandy. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  72. New York City Marathon runners help clear debris from homes in a damaged neighborhood in the Staten Island borough of New York on Nov. 4. More than 1,000 people, many of whom had originally planned to run the marathon, crowded onto two Staten Island Ferry boats and headed to the stricken borough with relief supplies ranging from food to plastic bags. (Adrees Latif / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  73. Vincent Gearity removes water-damaged insulation in a crawl space below a home as the area continues to clean up after Hurricane Sandy in Toms River, N.J., Nov. 4. (Steve Nesius / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  74. A man takes a photograph of a home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., on Nov. 4. (Les Stone / American Red Cross via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  75. An American Red Cross meal truck and volunteers hand out free meals in Bellmore, N.Y. on Nov. 3 (Jason Colston / American Red Cross via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  76. A man walks near standing water and piles of sand swept onto a road from Superstorm Sandy at Rockaway Beach on Nov. 3, in the Queens borough of New York City. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  77. An NYPD helicopter air drops supplies in the New Dorp Beach section of Staten Island, N.Y. on Nov. 3. (Andrew Gombert / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  78. A man stands outside his house which was left flooded by hurricane Sandy in the Staten Island borough of New York, Nov. 3. (Adrees Latif / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  79. Volunteer Christina Wilson, left, helps clean up the kitchen of the Ventura family home, which was flooded during Superstorm Sandy, Nov. 3, in Staten Island, N.Y. A Superstorm Sandy relief fund is being created just for residents of the hard-hit New York City borough. Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Borough President James Molinaro say the fund will help residents displaced from their homes. (Julio Cortez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  80. Howard Goldsmith consoles his wife, Rosanna Troia, while helping clean out Troia's mother's home in the Midland Beach neighborhood of Staten Island on Nov. 3. As clean-up efforts from Superstorm Sandy continue, colder weather and another storm predicted for next week are beginning to make some worried. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  81. Volunteers deliver blankets to residents affected by Hurricane Sandy in the Staten Island borough of New York, Nov. 3. (Keith Bedford / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  82. A member of the National Guard fills up a gas tank at the Armory on Nov. 3, in the Staten Island borough of New York City. New Jersey has begun rationing gas and the Department of Defense will be setting up mobile gas stations in New York City and Long Island. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  83. A man looks over the remains of a home in the Staten Island borough of New York, Nov. 3. (Keith Bedford / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  84. People clean the boardwalk of sand washed in by Superstorm Sandy in low-lying historic Coney Island on Nov. 3, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  85. Roxanne Boothe uses a flashlight as she walks through a hallway in Sam Burt Houses, where she is president of the tenants' association, on Nov. 3 in Coney Island, N.Y. The complex, which has been without power since Oct. 29, flooded during superstorm Sandy and a 90-year-old woman who had lived there for more than 40 years drowned on the first floor. "We have no heat, no water, no electricity, it’s dark in the whole building," said Boothe, who was frustrated that the Red Cross and FEMA assistance has not reached her neighborhood. (Bebeto Matthews / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  86. Collins Wimbish, left, and Margaret Girgaud cook food over a fire in a barrel in the Rockaways neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., Nov. 3. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  87. Jeff Kulikowski, left, sits on a bench on the boardwalk that was pushed off of its pilings by storm surge as the city tries to recover from the after effects of Hurricane Sandy in the Rockaways neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., Nov. 3. Large areas of the city are still without power or functioning stores to buy food and water. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image:
    Bebeto Matthews / AP
    Above: Slideshow (87) Recovering after Sandy - Recovery
  2. Image: Repair and restoration work on the New York City subway system
    Leonard Wiggins / Metropolitan Transportation Authority via EPA
    Slideshow (176) Recovering after Sandy - Aftermath
  3. Image: A general view shows the skyline of lower Manhattan in darkness after a preventive power outage caused by giant storm Sandy in New York
    Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
    Slideshow (100) Recovering after Sandy - Hurricane

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