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The sun is out: Crawling out from the post-Sandy devastation

October 31, 2012|By Michael Muskal and Tina Susman

New Yorkers took their first tentative steps Wednesday to regain their lives in the stressful aftermath of super storm Sandy despite continuing power outages, a snarled transportation system and the shock of floods and fire.

But in parts of New Jersey, across the Hudson River, the new day revealed the extent of devastation. Serious flooding inundated the area around Hoboken, where emergency evacuations continued. Along the Jersey Shore and barrier islands, crown jewels of the state's important tourist injury, entire neighborhoods were crushed, flooded and swamped with mountains of sand.

President Obama, off the campaign trail for the third day to deal with storm-related issues, will tour the devastated areas with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

While a wide swath of the nation assessed the damage as emergency supplies and crews poured into hard-hit areas, the storm once known as Hurricane Sandy continued to weaken in Pennsylvania with “no discernible surface circulation,” the National Weather Service reported.

Sandy has become a trough of low pressure, but strong winds were still possible over the Great Lakes and parts of the Northeast and there remained a danger of more flooding, the weather service said.

STATE BY STATE: Snow piles up; beaches wash away

In the wake of the cyclonic system created by the merger of Sandy, a western storm and cold Canadian air, at least 55 deaths were reported in the United States.

Property damage was estimated in the billions of dollars, and with the loss of productivity from the millions of workers who stayed home, the tab could hit as much as $50 billion, according to some insurance estimates. More than 8 million customers lost power during the storm and efforts to bring everyone back on line were proceeding -- but slowly in some places.

After days of atmospheric turbulence, the sun returned to Manhattan and there were small green shoots of recovery. Some buses rolled, as did taxis. Bridges that had been shut -- turning Manhattan into an isolated and besieged enclave -- reopened. Cars clogged some roadways during a tentative morning commute.

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