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Conflict & Tragedy

New York faces unprecedented destruction from Superstorm Sandy

UPDATES 10.30.12

All over the Northeast, residents are waking up to megastorm Sandy's devastation. In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo held separate press conferences on Wednesday to update residents on the storm's damage.

Fifteen people lost their lives in New York, 2 in other states and one in Canada. Over 80 homes were destroyed in the city and extensive flooding remains. Approximately 712,000 are without power in NYC, 8 million across states, which Mayor Bloomberg said may take 2 to 3 days or more to restore. ConEd is working frantically to restore power as soon as possible but Governor Cuomo warned that the problems are so extensive that they are asking Texas, Florida and other states to send in workers to help.

Bloomberg said the city's 76 shelters are still in operation and urged all those taking refuge there to remain where they were for the flood waters were still dangerous. The city received over 4,000 downed tree calls mostly from the borough of Queens and Bloomberg reminded residents to refrain from calling 911 unless it was a life-threatening event.

Some evacuated hospitals remain closed, like NYU in Manhattan and Coney Island in Brooklyn. Bellevue is still without power but is operating with a back-up generator.

All NYC subways remain closed, submerged under several feet of salt water. MTA officials said in the press conference that this was the worst subway system disaster in 108 years. All schools also remain closed. City bus will resume partial service beginning 5:00 p.m on Tuesday and fares will be waived for riders until Wednesday.

Mayor Bloomberg said the two biggest problems facing NY is restoring power and getting the transit system to work again. Millions of residents depends on public transportation to get to and from work, school, colleges and general mobility. The downed subway lines can cripple the city.

In New Jersey, the damages is also extensive and Governor Chris Christie, choking up during his update in Wednesday's press conference, said, "The level of devastation is unthinkable." Rescue efforts are currently underway in Little Ferry, which is covered under several feet of flood water. I saw elderly women and men having to be helped into boats for the streets looked like rivers. People were clutching their pets as they were helped into boats and trucks. Atlantic City was heavily damaged and the Jersey Shore left in shambles.

Long Beach, Long Island is now a ghost town, completely unlivable. All residents have to get out for the water is contaminated and all electrical power is down. City Island in the Bronx was devastated by flood and fire, with several businesses now gutted black shells. The area is also without power. Ruben Diaz, the Bronx City President told local Channel 7 Eyewitness News, that he was impressed by the dedication of our firemen, policemen and other rescue personnel in helping communities suffering from the storm.

West Virginia is now blanketed by a new disaster after Sandy raged through--a blizzard. Inches of snow is coming down hard and is expected to go on for a while..

A state of emergency now exists for NY, NJ, and all other affected areas.

The financial toll of this storm is expected to be astronomical, topping $10 billion.

Check back for updates and scroll down for my earlier reports.

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10.29.12

Sandy roared through New York leaving five dead after pounding Atlantic City and other parts of New Jersey around 8 p.m Monday. Massive floods spread from borough to borough and a record breaking storm surge of 14 ft of water was left in Manhattan's Battery Park. An overall 10 deaths in the U.S. have been blamed on the megastorm.

The monstrous result of Sandy colliding with two cold weather systems when it hit land, caused a megastorm of not only water and wind bu snow. It then dumped heavy rains,snow and wind gusting up to 85 mph, as it roared across New Jersey, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, West Virginia, Chicago.

During a press conference held late Monday night, Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned residents to remain indoors; urging taxis, limos and all other service vehicles to stay off roads and highways. The FDR drive is now closed and other tunnels like Battery Park and Holland were closed earlier in the day.

Bloomberg said though the storm surge would be over in a few hours, it was still very dangerous outside for the heavy winds and rains have not yet subsided. High tide peaked around 8:15p.m. and low tide will be at 6:00 a.m.

New York City subway tunnels are under four feet of seawater, which is devastating for the equipment and mechanisms throughout needed to operate the trains. MTA and Emergency Operating Center personnel had expressed deep concern during an earlier press conference with Governor Andrew Cuomo, for sea water can corrode tracks, valves and other subway mechanisms.

Mayor Bloomberg said there were 443,000 people without power in NY, 3,1 million across all states affected by Sandy but urged residents to remain where they are. He warned against calling 911 unless it was a live-threatening emergency.

Damages have not yet been assessed in NY but projected estimates for the overall cost of the storm is around $10-20 billion, the highest in U.S. history.

Scroll down for my earlier report.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a press conference Monday around 10:20 a.m. to update residents on the city’s readiness for Hurricane Sandy barreling down on the Northeast.

New York is now under a state of emergency, but the governor assured the press that he was “comfortable” with the level of preparedness. Flanked by officials from FEMA, the MTA, the EOC, the National Guard, the Army and the city, Cuomo explained some of what is being done to keep New York residents safe.

He said Sandy, expected to slam NY around 8-9 p.m., is now moving at 90 mph and is approximately 200 miles away from N.Y. The mega storm will precipitate high tides of 6 -11 feet, breaking Hurricane Donna’s 1960 record of 10 ½ ft.

Already, the coastal areas like Coney Island, Breezy Point in Queens and Seaside Heights along the Jersey Shore in NJ, Barrier Islands in Long Island and parts of Westchester are seeing aggressively high tides and widespread flooding.

Gov. Cuomo said he will be calling up an additional 1,000 National Guardsmen to help with the 1,000 he had called on Sunday. Some 4,000 utility workers are available to handle power outages, but he warned power might still take a while to be restored if there is a mass failure, for the city area is vast.

The Emergency Operation Center and the Army Corps of Engineers are confident they have every contingency plan ready. “I think we have done everything we needed to,” said Cuomo during the briefing.

The Holland and Batter tunnels in Manhattan will be closed 2 p.m. Sunday, but all bridges will remain open. All MTA buses, subways and airports are now closed. (see my previous report for more details :http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/13281692-new-york-prepares-for-storm-sandys-wrath-shuts-down-subways-buses-with-massive-evacuation).

In fact, New York City, one of the busiest metropolises in the U.S., resembles a ghost town at the moment, with most stores and other businesses closed and residents urged to stay off the very windy streets and remain indoors. Residents living in apartments and high rise buildings are warned to stay away from windows. The 375,000 New Yorkers in evacuated areas like Zone A were urged to leave since Sunday night with Emergency Supply Kit and Go Bag. One of my friends on Long Island, who was trying to brave out the storm, was told by a police officer that it was in he and his family’s best interest to leave the area as mandated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg early Sunday.

Imir, or Preacha, as we call him, posted a pic of his boarded up home and a chair left at the front of the battened down garage, saying, “Garage reinforced with sandbags on sides, a clear tarp and a seat for Jesus as he watches over the house and the motorcycles.” I don’t have to tell you that he’s a biker extraordinaire. He has since evacuated his family. A recent pic showed the area to his home already flooded and Sandy hasn’t even made her full presence known as yet.

In New York City, we can hear the winds howling and mourning angrily and see the rain pouring down. On Long Island, Long Beach City Councilman Michael Fagen urged residents who refused to evacuate to do so immediately. He told Eyewitness News 7 that Sandy wasn’t being taken as serious as Irene and this might prove to be disastrous for many. Tides were on the rise along that coastline and area flooding already in progress.

In Seaside Heights along the Jersey Shore, owner of the Beachcomber Bar & Grill Michael Carbone told local ABC News 7 that though he had taken precautions and boarded up his establishment, others hadn’t for they felt Sandy would not be a s bad as Irene. Every indication is pointing to it being worse.

The only store I saw open this morning was a Target in New Jersey and that closed at midday. That state is experiencing serious flooding currently and officials expressed deep concern for the Hackensack River’s potential to do great damage. Parts of Mamaroneck in Westchester, Inwood in Manhattan, the Far Rockaways in Queens and several parts of Brooklyn, including coastal Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay, are also under widespread flooding.

President Obama has flown back to Washington, where he gave a brief press conference on the pending storm. "I don't care about the elections, I care about families," he said referring to the millions expected to be affected by Sandy's wrath. A reported 765,000 people across several states are without power at this time.

If you live on the East coast and need additional help, go to:FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Chase Bank is giving their New York, Connecticut and New Jersey customers a break on some fees through Wedesday October 31. Customers will have until the end of business on Thursday to make a deposit or a payment to bring their account current and avoid the fees. Fees waived are:

1. Overdraft Protection Transfer, Extended Overdraft, Returned Item and Insufficient Funds Fees for deposit accounts.

2. Late fees on credit cards, business and consumer loans, including mortgages, home-equity, auto and student loans.

Stay tuned for updates.

Source: Press coverage covered from Live ABC News broadcast in NYC.