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Boats washed ashore by Hurricane Sandy lie scattered around a house near Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, yesterday.
NEW YORK: The US Northeast began an arduous slog back to normal yesterday after historic storm Sandy crippled transportation, knocked out power for millions and killed at least 64 people with a massive storm surge that caused epic flooding.
Financial markets reopened with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange after the first weather-related two-day closure since 1888, and packed buses took commuters to work with the city’s subway system halted after seawater flooded its tunnels.
The New York area’s John F Kennedy and Newark airports reopened with limited service after thousands of flights were canceled, leaving travelers stuck for days. LaGuardia Airport, a third major airport serving the nation’s busiest airspace, was flooded and remained closed.
Limited New York subway service was due to return today, four days after shutting down ahead of the storm, and some commuter rail service was due to come back on line later yesterday.
The progress was in contrast to images of devastation along the New Jersey shore, where flooding swallowed whole neighbourhoods, and in New York City’s Breezy Point, where 111 homes were destroyed by fire.
“It looks like the pictures of London or even Dresden after World War Two,” New York Senator Charles Schumer said in describing Breezy Point.
“Last night I had to drive into lower Manhattan. It’s eerie to see all the lights out. No street lights, no traffic lights and no glows in any of the apartment buildings,” Schumer said, calling for national unity similar to what followed the attacks of September 11, 2001.
It will take days or weeks to recover from the massive power and mass transit outages. More than 6 million customers are without electricity in the region. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the storm may be the most expensive in US history. Most gas stations in New Jersey and Long Island were shut yesterday due to power outages and depleted fuel supplies, frustrating attempts to restore normal life, industry officials said. REUTERS