Hurricane Sandy left 16 dead, zapped power and left millions of people anxious to return to homes Tuesday, and the storm wasn't done yet, U.S. forecasters said.
Sandy, now a post-tropical cyclone, moved through Pennsylvania Tuesday and was expected to move into Canada Wednesday, the National Weather Service's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center said in its 11 a.m. EDT advisory.
Authorities blame Sandy for at least 16 deaths in the United States and one in Canada, adding to the storm's earlier toll of 67 in the Caribbean, CNN reported.
Left in Sandy's wake were darkened skylines, fires, trees tossed about and streets that became canals. Floodwaters gushed into New York's subway tunnels and in New Jersey, scattered parts of Atlantic City's famed boardwalk.
The HMS Bounty, a 180-foot sailboat, is shown submerged in the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Sandy approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C., Monday, October 29, 2012. UPI/Tim Kuklewski/Coast GuardLicense photo | Permalink
Authorities scrambled boats and high-water vehicles to rescue residents trapped in several towns after a berm broke in Moonachie, N.J.
New Jersey Gov. Christ Christie asked residents to exercise patience and not return to their homes to inspect the damage.
"I know people want to inspect their homes on the barrier islands, but at this point it is unsafe," Christie posted on his Twitter page. "Please be patient."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo echoed the same sentiments: "If you have been evacuated from #Sandy, return home only when officials say it is safe."
Christie called the devastation to the shorelines of Garden State, where Sandy made landfall Monday evening, "unthinkable."
New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority reported on its Twitter page a boat was resting on the tracks at one station.
MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota said the city's mass transit system likely would be restored "in pieces and parts" in the next few days.
"We're going to try to be creative," Lhota said in an interview with WNYC, New York, public radio.
Governors have declared states of emergency. President Obama has signed emergency and disaster declarations for many states overnight, paving the way for federal assistance. He met with disaster officials again Tuesday morning to assess damage and federal efforts.
In Connecticut, CNN reported some residents trapped in their houses by floodwaters received this text message from the state's Emergency Management Office:
"If u find urself surrounded by H2O, call 4 help if u can & then get 2 highest level of home. Hang a white sheet out a street side window."
The water tanker John B. Caddell ran aground in Staten Island, WABC-TV, New York, reported.
About 7.5 million customers are without power in 15 states and the District of Columbia, CNN said, based on numbers it compiled from local power providers.
More than 15,000 flights have been canceled since Sunday because of Sandy, flight tracking site FlightAware.com said.
Amtrak said on its Facebook page it would assess damage to its tracks and decide later Tuesday whether service would be restored.
In West Virginia, where 2-3 feet of snow was expected, the governor's office asked that only essential state employees report for work.
The storm, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, was about 120 miles east-southeast of Pittsburgh and about 145 miles west of Philadelphia, moving west at 10 mph, the hurricane center said.
Forecasters said numerous weather watches and warnings were posted for much of the eastern United States, including high-wind warnings, storm warnings, blizzard warnings, winter storm watches and warnings, and flood and coastal flood watches, warnings and advisories.
In its 11 a.m. EDT advisory, NWS' Hydrometeorological Prediction Center said Sandy was expected to track across Pennsylvania Tuesday afternoon before turning toward western New York Tuesday night and moving into Canada Wednesday.
New York officials said the Manhattan, Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Ed Koch Queensboro bridges would reopen Tuesday, The New York Times reported. The Tappen Zee Bridge already has reopened.
A spokesman for Consolidated Edison said Tuesday much of Manhattan could be without electricity for several days after an explosion at a substation on the East River Monday.
A backup power system failed at NYU Langone Medical Center Monday night, forcing the evacuation of all patients to nearby hospitals, The New York Times said.
Medical center officials said it began transporting all 215 patients to other facilities Monday evening and were still transporting some early Tuesday morning to facilities such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Mount Sinai Medical Center.
CNN reported three feet of water flowed onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange building, a first.
At least 50 homes burned to the ground in one neighborhood of Queens, fire officials said, though the cause of the blaze was not immediately released.
New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority said seven subway tunnels were flooded, the Metro-North Railroad lost power along some lines, the Long Island Rail Road evacuated its West Side Yards and sustained flooding in one tunnel, the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel was flooded, and the Queens Midtown Tunnel took on water and was closed. Six bus garages were disabled by high water.
Damage from the storm could be as much as $20 billion, catastrophe-risk modeling firm EQECAT said.
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