TODAY | October 31, 2012
>> let's get to nbc's lester holt now. he has made his way to point pleasant beach, new jersey this morning. lester, good morning to you.
>> reporter: savannah, good morning. you saw it from the air. this is what it looks like up close. keep in mind this goes interest community to community. point pleasant beach, the boardwalk, what's left of it. this was part of a hotel here that was along the boardwalk, popular place. sand is everywhere. places it didn't used to be pushed inland for blocks and blocks. in fact, a moment ago i realized i was standing in the middle of a swimming pool. it's now a giant sandbox. president obama will visit the jersey shore later today . governor christie will tour him around to see the damage along this battered coastline, but, of course, it's not just new jersey. this entire region took a nasty hit. unimaginable devastation and staggering scenes of damage stretching all across the northeast as families try to recover from sandy's unforgiving wrath.
>> i'm floored by what happened.
>> reporter: neighborhoods are ravaged. cars and home swallowed by water.
>> it was unbelievable. i never saw anything like that in my life.
>> shredded debris and trees ripped from the ground, knocking down power lines and leaving an open wound of heartbreak up and down the coast.
>> it was the scariest thing i've ever seen.
>> reporter: across 15 states millions have been left without power. new jersey, the state where sandy came ashore, was hardest hit. in seaside heights , the boardwalk's been ripped apart. the amusement park there before and after the storm. the roller coaster now in the atlantic ocean . the ocean swept so far onshore everything is now covered in sand. the governor told brian williams the jersey shore as we know it is forever changed .
>> i'm committed to rebuilding. we're going to do it, because as you said, it is not only the heart of our economy, it's the soul of new jersey. the jersey shore is the soul of new jersey.
>> reporter: even inland in little ferry , evacuations continued into tuesday night.
>> you have no one to go to. water is rushing in. water is going by, and you don't know what to do.
>> reporter: new york pummeled, too. in breezy point, more than 100 homes were destroyed by fire in the flood-ravaged coastal community.
>> we're just devastating, blowing from one building to the next one, and those buildings were close together.
>> reporter: in this dramatic rescue captured on video, a new york city police department helicopter plucked five adults and one child from rooftops in a flooded section of staten island . elsewhere in new york city , hundreds of thousands still without power. the stock market reopens today, but important parts of the city were crippled by flooding and debris.
>> downtown manhattan , we had the hudson river came over the banks and was pouring in to the ground zero site.
>> reporter: new york 's train and subway service are suspended, and it may be days before they resume. schools closed again today. that high rise collapsed crane above new york city is still dangling, an ominous reminder of sandy's lingering danger. all along the south shore of new york 's long island there's damage, home and lives lost. connecticut's coastline littered with submerged homes. sandy's impact is being felt across a large part of the country. west virginia , pounded with two feet of snow. and even lake michigan churning with dangerous high waves as the effects of the storm were felt well inland. the economic aftermath is still unfolding, but in spite of a destruction and loss, a resolve to rebuild and to reflect.
>> i still have my life. we still have our health.
>> reporter: when he visits with the president here along the shore today, governor christie is execs pected to talk to the president about the possibility of using the armey corps of engineers to rebuild this area. yesterday at a news conference the governor waxed on about the new jersey of his youth, the jersey shore of his youth. i think a lot of folks who come here are feeling awfully jost nick and sad, matt.
>> lester holt , i think a lot of people agree with