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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy slams New York, New Jersey; Washington region spared major devastation

The Washington area escaped the worst of the devastation brought to the East Coast by Hurricane Sandy. Residents awoke Tuesday to widespread but not overwhelming power outages, and flooding and downed trees and branches that paled in comparison to what had happened further north and along the eastern seaboard.

New York, New Jersey and the beach towns of the Del Marva peninsula were brutalized by the storm. As of Tuesday morning, an estimated 7.5 million people were without power on the East Coast, and at least 16 people in seven states were believed to have died in the storm, the Associated Press reported.

The National Weather Service projected diminished rainfall in many areas, but schools, transit and government remained shut down in most cities, and the damage had already been done. The powerful storm’s torrential rains, howling winds and widespread flooding transformed the streets of Atlantic City, N.J. into rivers and inundated parts of Lower Manhattan. Swirling water formed whitewater cascades in the Ground Zero construction zone and swamped New York’s financial district. Part of Manhattan’s storied skyline went dark as power failed for more than 250,000 customers south of Midtown.

Sandy — which was reclassified as a nontropical storm because of its unusual dynamics came ashore at 8 p.m. Monday in Atlantic City, carrying sustained hurricane-force winds of 80 mph or more and dangerous flood tides as high as 13 feet , the National Hurricane Center said.

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