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13 Foot Waves, 16 Dead, 6 Million Without Power

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(USA TODAY) An estimated 6.2 million people are without power and 16 are dead due to mega storm Sandy.

Officials blamed at least 16 deaths on the storm — five in New York, three each in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, two in Connecticut, and one each in Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia. Three of the victims were children, one just 8 years old. Sandy also killed 69 people in the Caribbean.

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(Fox News) Monster Storm Sandy slammed into the East Coast Monday, killing at least 16 people, hurling a record-breaking 13-foot surge of seawater at New York City and knocking out power to more than 7.5 million across the East Coast.

The massive storm was downgraded from a hurricane after it barged ashore in southern New Jersey around 8:00 p.m., bringing more than 85-mph winds and a roiling wall of seawater as it moved through New York City.

The 16 deaths were reported in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Some of the victims were killed by falling trees. At least one death was blamed on the storm in Canada.

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Storm Barrels Through Region, Leaving Battered Path

(New York Times) As Hurricane Sandy churned inland as a downgraded storm, residents up and down the battered mid-Atlantic region woke on Tuesday to lingering waters, darkened homes and the daunting task of cleaning up from once-in-a-generation storm surges and their devastating effects.

Power remained out for roughly six million people, including a large swath of Manhattan. Early risers stepped out into debris-littered streets that remained mostly deserted as residents awaited dawn to shed light on the extent of the damage. Bridges remained closed and seven subway tunnels under the East River remained flooded.

The storm was the most destructive in the 108-year history of New York City’s subway system, said Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, in an early morning statement. “We are assessing the extent of the damage and beginning the process of recovery,” he said, but did not provide a timetable for restoring transit service to a paralyzed city.

At least seven deaths in the New York region were tied to the storm, which toppled trees and sparked fires in several areas. In Breezy Point on the Rockaways, nearly 200 firefighters were still battling a blaze on Tuesday morning that destroyed at least 50 tightly-packed homes in the beach community. A Fire Department spokesman said the area was “probably the most flooded part of the city, so there are all sorts of complications.”

The surging water also caused extensive complications at NYU Langone Medical Center when a backup power system failed Monday evening, forcing the evacuation of patients to other facilities. Backup power also failed at Coney Island Hospital in southern Brooklyn, though critical patients had been evacuated in advance of the storm.

Nine hours after making landfall at 8 p.m. on Monday, the storm – already downgraded from Hurricane Sandy to a post-tropical cyclone – weakened as it passed west across southern Pennsylvania, though it still packed maximum sustained winds of 65 m.p.h., the National Hurricane Center said. It was expected to turn north and head for Canada late on Tuesday.

The storm had unexpectedly picked up speed as it roared over the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, grinding life to a halt for millions of people in more than a half-dozen states, with extensive evacuations that turned shorefront neighborhoods into ghost towns.

The wind-driven rain lashed sea walls and protective barriers in places like Atlantic City, where the Boardwalk was damaged as water forced its way inland. Foam was spitting, and the sand gave in to the waves along the beach at Sandy Hook, N.J., at the entrance to New York Harbor. Water was thigh-high on the streets in Sea Bright, N.J., a three-mile sand-sliver of a town where the ocean joined the Shrewsbury River.

“It’s the worst I’ve seen,” said David Arnold, watching the storm from his longtime home in Long Branch, N.J. “The ocean is in the road, there are trees down everywhere. I’ve never seen it this bad.”

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