The next day, as a Category 2 storm, Sandy attacked Cuba, killing eleven. It’s bout with Cuba dropped it back to a Category 1 as it began an attack on the Bahamas and the northern Caribbean, on Friday the 26th.
At that time the US announced a tropical storm warning, for the southern half of the eastern seaboard. By Saturday, forty-three were dead in the Caribbean. In the US, concerns were growing that Sandy would collide with a storm coming down from the arctic and become a “super storm”.
Sunday, October 28, saw the beginning of Sandy’s US strike. Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC, and parts of North Carolina declared states of emergency as Sandy began combining with the arctic storm. Schools and mass transit were shutdown, while several thousand flights were preemptively cancelled, and evacuations from some low lying areas began. It was also announced that the Caribbean death toll had hit sixty.
Just after 20:00 EDT, October 29, Sandy officially made landfall on the eastern seaboard, with her sights set on New Jersey. By that time, Sandy was throwing gusts of up to one hundred and fifty miles per hour, with sustained winds over ninety. Sandy was being felt from South Carolina, through the Great Lakes, up into Canada. Flooding was occurring in many areas, including New York’s subway system and La Guardia Airport. Damage was becoming heavy, in some areas, with buildings collapsing in New York City and the Atlantic City boardwalk being washed away. By the end of the day, four people had been killed in the US and sixty-nine were confirmed dead in the Caribbean.
As Sandy began dissipating, on Tuesday the 30th, forty-eight people were dead in the US. National Guard Units had begun search and rescue efforts, while the Coast Guard searched the Atlantic. The US government declared New York City and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut to be national disaster areas. Over eighty homes, in New York City, were destroyed by a massive six alarm fire. Atlantic City’s boardwalk was all but washed away, leaving only remnants from the famous attraction. All up and down the coast, massive flooding occurred, while in the mountains up to five feet of snow had fallen. Several towns in New Jersey were completely submerged, while most of New York City’s subway system was as well.
By October 31, the US death toll had reached sixty-four. Four hundred thousand remained evacuated from New York City. Among those were twenty-two hospitals and medical centers. Over a million residents were evacuated from other parts of the eastern seaboard. The cleanup was beginning to see success, with the New York Stock Exchange, several airports, and part of the New York City subway system reopening. However, electricity was still a difficult thing to get in some areas, especially after a Consolidated Edison substation, near the East River, exploded. National Guard units were focusing on New Jersey, especially in getting food and water to stranded residents.
The first of November began with the final addition to the death toll, with eighty in the US. Across twelve states, four and a half million remained without power. Damage from Sandy was estimated at fifty billion dollars. Subway service had mostly returned in New York City and most other means of public transportation had reopened, with Amtrak waiting another day to ensure all lines were clear.
Sandy wrecked havoc across a dozen nations and a dozen US states. It killed a total of one hundred and forty-nine people and caused close to eighty billion dollars in damage. As we remember, a year later, efforts to replace what was lost are still underway, in some places.