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October 30, 2012

Sandy moves west, leaving devastation, deaths in its wake

NEW YORK — The Atlantic superstorm Sandy churned across Pennsylvania Tuesday after blacking out much of southern Manhattan and leaving a trail of flooding, death and destruction along the East Coast.

Government offices and stock markets were shut for a second day amid damage that may total billions of dollars. The Associated Press reported at least 20 deaths related to the storm, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said 10 people were dead in the city.

"It's fair to say the path of destruction that she left in her wake is going to be felt for quite some time," the mayor said at a press conference Tuesday. "Make no mistake about it, this was a devastating storm, maybe the worse that we have ever experienced." He said he expects the number of deaths to go up as more information comes in.

Subways will be out for several days after several tracks and stations flooded, he said. Limited bus service will start today. About 750,000 New Yorkers were without power.

From Washington D.C. to Boston, transit systems, businesses and homeowners awoke to assess the damage and begin recovery. The storm, which came ashore Monday evening in southern New Jersey, brought life-threatening floods to a region with 60 million residents. It interrupted the U.S. presidential race eight days before Election Day. President Barack Obama declared New York and New Jersey disaster regions eligible for federal relief.

The storm may cause as much as $20 billion in economic damage and losses, according to Eqecat Inc., a risk-management company in Oakland, Calif.

Sandy weakened with its center drifting west through central Pennsylvania. Its core was about 120 miles (193 kilometers) east-southeast of Pittsburgh with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour, according to an 11 a.m. advisory from the U.S. Hydrometeorological Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland.

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