TODAY   |  October 30, 2012

Sandy’s devastation: Deaths, floods, outages

TODAY’s Natalie Morales reports on the devastation caused when mega-storm Sandy made landfall Monday night. Massive flooding and high winds left more than 7 million without power and led to 16 storm-related deaths in the region.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> storm covered this morning. let's start with natalie morales in lower manhattan in battery park city . natalie, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning to you, matt. as we are just waking up, as millions are to realize the full devastation the consequences and aftermath of sandy, as you can see here we're still feeling the effects here, the outer bands of that storm still present here. the whitecaps behind me here on the harbor as we'll still raging. clearly the story here last night was definitely the flooding. at the height of the storm there was a 13-foot storm surge . that a record-breaker here in new york city , and as you mentioned this is a city that was plunged into darkness as well. about 650,000 people just in the city alone. more than 6 million just along the -- up and down the eastern seaboard . now, this has been a deadly storm , certainly a storm that we're just beginning to really see the full effects, and we'll understand more as soon as the sun comes up, but clearly we will then see what really has been the aftermath. waves pounded the new jersey coastline destroying parts of atlantic city 's historic boardwalk.

>> this storm as everyone has been saying it's not like any storm we've ever seen before.

>> reporter: sparks flew from a con-edison explosion in manhattan, and snow fell in western virginia and tennessee, all scenes from super storm sandy, also known as frankenstrom or the storm of the century .

>> this water is swallowing this neighborhood.

>> reporter: it was downgraded late monday to a post- tropical cyclone , but when it hit land at around 8:00 p.m . with winds of up to 90 miles per hour, no one was spared its wrath.

>> now we're seeing hurricane force wind gusts, and this is really pushing the atlantic on to the beaches here of north jersey .

>> reporter: millions of people and more than half a dozen states experienced devastating flooding, and over 7 million homes lost power. raging fires spread across the tri-state area. in lower manhattan , the lights went out in the city that never sleeps . the power outage caused evacuations of some of the city's most vulnerable. over 200 patients were carried down stairs and out of nyu's langone medical center , including babies in critical care. a building was ripped apart, left exposed to the storm , and a construction crane hung by threads 80 stories above the ground.

>> unless you own a submarine, there's no way you're getting out of new york city .

>> reporter: and there is no getting in.

>> what looks like a river is actually the fdr drive .

>> reporter: water gushed through the city, covering everything from ground zero to the brooklyn waterfront and the new jersey p.a.t.h. train. the mta chairman spoke to the historic damage saying the new york city subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disas ter as devastating as what we experience d last night.

>> we need to keep the roads clear. do not drive. let me repeat that. please, do not drive.

>> reporter: as day breaks, the recovery effort begins, but the extent of the damage from this de deadly storm remains to be seen. now, of course, this is the city's financial center as well. the new york stock exchange will remain closed for a second day. now, this is only the second time in history that has happened. the last time back in 1888 during a blizzard. now, can you see once again, conditions have worsened here this morning. we're feeling some rain, again some high winds here once again, but certainly nothing like what we experienced yesterday at the height of this storm . matt and savannah, you talked about early damage estimates. they are saying anywhere between $10 billion and $20 billion, but it still may be too soon to tell.

>> all right, natalie, downtown lower man hattan, battery park city where they saw a record storm surge . thanks, we'll check