Oct 30 2012
Huge swathes of New York have been left deserted and dark after America's largest city suffered the full force of Superstorm Sandy.
As the storm hit land and moved slowly inwards, millions along the US East Coast awoke without power or transport.
New York's financial heart in Lower Manhattan remained closed for a second day and a huge fire which broke out after the storm struck destroyed up to 100 homes in the Queens district.
Across a wide area of the country the storm killed at least 17 people in seven states, cut power to more than six million homes and businesses from Carolina to Ohio, caused scares at two nuclear power plants, and put the presidential campaign on hold a week before Election Day.
The storm reached well into the Midwest: Chicago warned residents to stay away from the Lake Michigan shore as the city prepared for winds of up to 60 mph and waves exceeding 24 feet well into Wednesday.
But New York was the hardest-hit and President Barack Obama declared a major disaster there after flood surges inundated huge areas. An unprecedented 13-foot surge of seawater - 3 feet above the previous record - gushed into lower Manhattan, flooding tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers Wall Street.
In the Breezy Point area of Queens in New York, up to 100 homes were destroyed by a huge fire in the flooded borough. More than 190 firefighters managed to contain the balze, but they were struggling with some pockets of fire.
Skyscrapers swayed and creaked in winds that partially toppled a crane 74 stories up, forcing 900 guests to leave a nearby hotel for safety reasons. A hospital had to evacuate 200 patients after losing its backup generator. The city's three major airports remained closed wtih more than 13,500 flights cancelled.
In New Jersey, where the storm hit initially, hundreds of people were being evacuated in rising water. Boats were used to try to rescue about 800 people living in a trailer park. Just before it made landfall at 8pm local time near Atlantic City, forecasters stripped Sandy of hurricane status - but the distinction was purely technical, based on its shape and internal temperature. It still packed hurricane-force wind, and it was still dangerous to the tens of millions in its path.
It was blamed for at least 17 deaths in the US - in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia. Three of the victims were children, one just eight. At least one death was blamed on the storm in Canada.