New York, Long Island Declared Disaster

11:54 PM, Oct 30, 2012   |    comments
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NEW YORK (AP) - President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in New York, Long Island and New Jersey. The declaration makes federal funding available to people in the area.

It bore the brunt of the sea surge from a superstorm that hit the East Coast on Monday. The National Hurricane Center said that as of 5 a.m. Tuesday, the storm was moving westward across Pennsylvania and was centered about 90 miles west of Philadelphia. It lost its hurricane status on Monday and is now considered an extratropical cyclone.

It has left more than 7.5 million people without power. It is expected to move into western New York on Tuesday night and move into Canada on Wednesday.

Superstorm Sandy is pummeled its way throughout the East Coast and so far has left 6.2 million people without electricity. Utility officials say businesses and homes without power in New York City could be without electricity for up to a week. Power will be restored first to hospitals, mass transit and police, fire, sewage and water-pumping stations.

Flooding in parts of the city will linger today and potentially much longer. For a second day the financial district will be closed. As the storm brings the Northeast to a halt, damage is estimated in the billions of dollars.

Sixteen US deaths have been reported due to Superstorm Sandy. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is calling it a "once-in-a-long-time storm."

New York State Police say two children were killed when a tree struck a home in Westchester County.

Sgt. Brian Ferrone of Troop K says the boys, ages 11 and 13, were pronounced dead at the scene Monday night. It happened just before 7:30 p.m. on Bonnie View Street in North Salem.

A 15-year-old and a 12 year-old in the home were also treated for minor injuries. No other details were immediately available.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office says at least five people have died in New York state because of the massive storm lashing the area.

Due to Sandy's high winds New York City's major bridges are closed. City officials say the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Ed Koch Queensboro and Williamsburg bridges were closed at 7 p.m. Around 7:30 p.m. the RFK-Triborough Bridge was forced to shut down due to 100-mph wind gusts.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said water has surged into two major commuter tunnels and into subway stations and tracks. After water came into the stations and tracks MTA cut power to some subway stations in lower Manhattan. MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota says the New York City subway system is 108 years old and has never faced a disaster as devastating as what they experienced Monday night.

Also, fire destroyed at least 50 homes in a flooded neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens.

A fire department spokesman says more than 190 firefighters are at the blaze in the Breezy Point section. He says two people have suffered minor injuries.


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