Oct 30 2012 By Cheryl Mullin
AT LEAST 13 people have been killed in the US and millions are without power after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coastline and hurled a record-breaking 13ft surge of seawater at New York City.
Sandy knocked out power to at least 5.7 million people across the east of the country and New York’s main utility said large sections of Manhattan had been plunged into darkness by the storm, with 250,000 customers without power as water pressed into the island from three sides.
The 13 deaths were reported in New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
Some of the victims were killed by falling trees while police in Toronto said a woman was killed by a falling sign as high winds closed in on Canada’s largest city.
A New York City hospital was moving out more than 200 patients after its backup generator failed when the power was knocked out by the storm.
Dozens of ambulances lined up outside NYU Tisch Hospital on Monday night as doctors and nurses began the slow process of taking people out.
Just before Sandy’s centre reached land, the storm was stripped of hurricane status, but the distinction was purely technical, based on its shape and internal temperature.
It still packed hurricane-force wind and forecasters were careful to say it remained every bit as dangerous to the 50 million people in its path.
The full extent of the storm’s damage across the region was unclear and was unlikely to become known until daybreak.
Heavy rain and further flooding remain major threats over the next couple of days as the storm makes its way into Pennsylvania and up into New York State.
Near midnight, the centre of the storm was just outside Philadelphia and its winds were down to 75mph, just barely hurricane strength.
The National Hurricane Centre announced at 8pm on Monday that Sandy had come ashore near Atlantic City.