At least 15 people were reported killed along the eastern seaboard by Sandy, one of the biggest storms to ever hit the country, which dropped just below hurricane status before making landfall on Monday night in New Jersey.
The storm interrupted the presidential campaign a week before Election Day - posing both risks and opportunities for President Barack Obama as he seeks a second term in a tight race - and closed U.S. financial markets for a second day.
As a weakened but still massive storm system continued its trek inland, more than 1 million people in a dozen states were under orders to evacuate. Sandy left behind a trail of damage - homes underwater, trees toppled and power lines downed - caused by epic flooding and fierce winds all along the Atlantic coast.
In the storm's wake, Obama issued federal emergency decrees for New York and New Jersey, declaring that "major disasters" existed in both states. One disaster-forecasting company predicted economic losses could ultimately reach $20 billion, only half insured.
"It's total devastation down there, there are boats in the street five blocks from the ocean," said evacuee Peter Sandomeno, one of the owners of the Broadway Court Motel in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. "That's the worst storm I've ever seen, and I've been there for 11 years."
Sandy comes just a week before the presidential election. The election is so close that it could determine who wins, but just how that will play out is hard to know. This is the October Surprise. -Abagond
A lot of people were worried about the potential effects Hurricane Sandy could have on the election (i.e. people wouldn't be able to get out and vote in the storm's aftermath). To be honest, I not worried about that and neither is the president:
Right now, all the president has to do is his job. The election will take care of itself, for better or worse. With any luck, Mitt Romney's latest attempt to turn a national tragedy into a photo op will surely collapse on itself with the same speed and force as a red giant at the cusp of supernova. I'm sure the thousands in need of FEMA assistance in the wake of Hurricane Sandy appreciate Mitt's concern over the effect the agency has on the nation's fiscal well-being.
If anyone in the affected areas manages to read this blog post, stay safe. From the looks of things, there's a lot of work to be done in the coming days.