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Northeast states begin cleaning up Sandy's damage

Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 2:50pm

While Wednesday brought clearer skies over the devastated Northeastern states, the road to normalcy still stretches far ahead. Cleanup and repairs had only just begun when President Obama joined Governor Chris Christie to tour storm-ravaged New Jersey Wednesday afternoon. That state's shoreline took the worst battering from superstorm Sandy.

With the blue skies on Wednesday came a clearer picture of the damage. From the twisted remains of the iconic Seaside Heights amusement park on the Jersey Shore, to The Rockaways in the New York borough of Queens, entire swaths of land were ravaged by flooding and sometimes also fire.

In Lower Manhattan, mayor Michael Bloomberg rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, seeking at least the appearance of business as usual. The exchange had been closed Monday and Tuesday. With flooded subway and road tunnels and an ongoing lack of power, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says there's a long way to go before the city and the state return to normal. He said, "This is a long-term recovery and reconstruction effort, and that's the way we have to think about it."

In Hoboken, NJ, National Guard troops spent the day helping thousands of residents who were trapped by flood waters and exhausted from enduring the past few days. The National Guard continues to conduct operations like this across the region because many residents were unable or unwilling to evacuate from their homes.

Hospitals across the Northeast have been evacuated patients from basement and ground-level floors due to flooding, which causes unsanitary conditions on the affected floors. Some have been able to safely move patients and medical equipment to higher-level floors, but others have been forced to send patients to other hospitals.

Utility companies have reported that they are working to restore power to some highly populated areas over the next few days, but it will take several weeks to get the power grid fully patched up.

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