Hurricane Sandy barreled across the East Coast of the United States throughout Monday, leaving millions without power, an estimated $20 billion in damages and an additional 16 people dead.
Hurricane Sandy converged with a cold-weather system and made landfall over New Jersey on Monday evening with 80 mph winds. The storm produced snow in mountainous regions, and spanned nearly 900 miles.
New York City and Atlantic City may have been the two hardest hit areas by the super storm.
“It’s bad,” New Jersey State Police Sgt. Adam Grossman told NJ.com late last night. “It’s a massive storm. But we will get a better idea of how bad it is once day breaks.”
Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said in an early morning statement to The New York Times that Hurricane Sandy may well be the most destructive storm in 108-year history of New York City’s subway system. “We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery. Lhota did not provide a timetable for restoring transit service to the city.
Hurricane Sandy’s economic toll is set to exceed $20 billion, according to Bloomberg. That number also includes $7 billion to $8 billion of insured losses. The remaining number will likely be put on cities and towns for repairs to infrastructure.
Charles Watson, research and development director at Kinetic Analysis Corp., a hazard-research company in Silver Spring, Md. told Bloomberg, “I think it is disproportionate going into the public sector side."
Hurricane Sandy also halted travel plans for thousands of people around the world, stranding some in places like Hong Kong and Tokyo.
More than 13,500 flights had been canceled for Monday and Tuesday, according to the flight-tracking service FlightAware. By early Tuesday morning, more than 500 flights scheduled for Wednesday were also canceled.
Amtrak cut all regional service in New England and subways shut down in Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston, leaving people stranded in their homes.
“Shutting down public transit is never ideal. But under the circumstances, the safety of our customers and our employees is paramount,” Richard Davey, the Massachusetts transportation secretary, told the Boston Globe.
But the most destructive element in Hurricane Sandy's wake is the loss of life. The Associated Press reported that at least 16 deaths in the United States were tied to the storm, seven of which occurred in New York City. An estimated 70 more people died in the Caribbean due to Hurricane Sandy.