US candidates shift back to polls after super storm

US candidates shift back to polls after super storm

US candidates shift back to polls after super storm

A handout photograph provided by the US Air Force shows aerial views of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to the New Jersey coast. EPA photo

Millions across the U.S. northeast stricken by massive storm Sandy are attempting to return to their normal lives as companies, markets and airports gradually reopen, despite grim projections of power and mass-transit outages around New York continuing for several more days.

Sandy, which claimed 110 lives and at least 51 in the United States including 18 in New York City, pushed inland and caused more than 8.2 million homes and businesses to lose electricity across several states, as trees toppled by fierce winds tore down power lines. The storm also added an uncertain twist to the U.S. presidential race with five days to go.

Obama visits victims

President Barack Obama visited flood-ravaged areas of the New Jersey shore. As his guide, he had Republican Governor Chris Christie, a vocal backer of presidential challenger Mitt Romney who has nevertheless praised Obama and the federal response to the storm.

Daylight brought surreal images of the storm’s devastation: a boat washed onto a railway track in New York state, cars bobbing like corks in submerged New York City parking lots, a neighborhood in Queens burnt to a cinder. “Restoring power and mass transit remain the two biggest challenges in the days ahead,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters.

Subway tracks and commuter tunnels under New York City, which carry several million people a day, were under several feet of water. New York City is likely to struggle without subways for days, authorities have said. Buses were operating on a limited basis and many residents were walking long distances or scrambling to grab scarce taxi cabs on the streets. Assessing the damage, officials with New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority said they would release a timetable of their recovery plans sometime.

Financial markets reopened

Major airports, John F. Kennedy International in New York and Newark Liberty International, were scheduled to reopen with limited services yesterday. New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the third of the airports that serve the nation’s busiest airspace, was flooded and remained closed. Nearly 19,000 flights have been canceled since the beginning of storm. Despite much of the city’s financial district being damaged by flooding, financial markets reopened yesterday as well.

The destruction was not limited to New York. Cities up and down the Eastern Seaboard from Boston to Philadelphia to Washington were buffeted by storm-force winds and coastal communities suffered widespread flooding.

Sandy weakened Oct. 30 with winds reduced to 70 kilometers per hour, but it was still dumping heavy rain and snow in parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Forecasters warned that flooding would continue along the densely-populated mid-Atlantic coast and that 7,400 National Guardsmen were mobilized in 11 states to provide emergency relief.

Twitter proves a lifeline despite pranksters


As Sandy pounded the U.S. Atlantic Coast, millions of residents turned to Twitter as a part-newswire, part-911 hotline that hummed through the night even as some websites failed and swathes of Manhattan fell dark.

But the social network also became a fertile ground for pranksters who seized the moment to disseminate rumors and Photoshopped images, including a false tweet that the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange was submerged under water. Beginning late on Oct. 28, government agencies and officials, from New York Governor to the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued evacuation orders and updates. “We learned from the storm and tsunami in Japan that Twitter can often be a lifeline,” said Rachael Horwitz, a Twitter spokeswoman

Upheaval in presidential campaign

WASHINGTON – The Associated Press

Sandy has forced President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney to change their campaign plans in the last full week of one of the closest presidential contests in recent U.S.
history. Obama cancelled campaigning in the key battleground state of Florida to hurry back to Washington and oversee the federal response to Hurricane Sandy, which was forecast to send a wall of water into the heavily urban Atlantic coast, from the capital to New York City. Romney also canceled three stops in Virginia on Oct. 29, shifting operations to be with running mate Paul Ryan in Ohio before heading to Wisconsin, where Romney has chipped away at Obama’s lead.

110 Deaths, at least 51 in US
Damage: Estimated property losses at 20,000,000 $
Maximum size of storm : 1,600 kilometers across
Highest storm surge: 4,23 meters in New York
Number of states seeing intense effects of the storm : At least 17
Power outages at peak : More than 8,5 million
Canceled airline flights : More than 18,100