Boats and flotsam washed up by Hurricane Sandy 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK - Millions of people awoke on Tuesday to scenes of destruction wrought by monster storm Sandy after it smashed into the eastern United States, cutting power to swathes of the nation's most densely populated region, swamping New York's subway system and submerging streets in Manhattan's financial district
At least 15 people were reported killed along the eastern seaboard by Sandy, one of the biggest storms to ever hit the country, which dropped just below hurricane status before making landfall on Monday night in New Jersey.
The storm interrupted the presidential campaign a week before Election Day - posing both risks and opportunities for US President Barack Obama as he seeks a second term in a tight race - and closed US financial markets for a second day.
As a weakened but still massive storm system continued its trek inland, more than 1 million people in a dozen states were under orders to evacuate. Sandy left behind a trail of damage - homes underwater, trees toppled and power lines downed - caused by epic flooding and fierce winds all along the Atlantic coast.
In the storm's wake, Obama issued federal emergency decrees for New York and New Jersey, declaring that "major disasters" existed in both states. One disaster-forecasting company predicted economic losses could ultimately reach $20 billion, only half insured.
"It's total devastation down there, there are boats in the street five blocks from the ocean," said evacuee Peter Sandomeno, one of the owners of the Broadway Court Motel in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. "That's the worst storm I've ever seen, and I've been there for 11 years."
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