The misery of superstorm Sandy's devastation grew Tuesday as millions in the U.S. East Coast on Tuesday were left without electricity, shutting down New York’s stock markets, suspending its public transportation and halting the country’s presidential race campaigns.
The U.S. death toll climbed to 35, many of the victims killed by falling trees, and rescue work continued.
The storm that made landfall in New Jersey on Monday evening with hurricane force cut power to more than 8.2 million across the East and put the presidential campaign on hold just one week before Election Day.
Firefighters battled blazes and carried out rescues in flooded houses a day after the storm set off an explosion at a power station, while scores of homes were destroyed by fire, officials said.
Subway trains and buses remained suspended for a third day and hundreds of thousands of homes face up to a week without electricity, the power company warned.
Runways at New York's three main airports were flooded extending the international air chaos caused by the storm, though John F. Kennedy airport could reopen Wednesday, officials said. The New York stock exchange was closed for a second day.
In a press conference on Tuesday, 10 storm deaths in the city were reported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who warned the toll could rise.
One man was crushed by a tree in Queens. Bloomberg said another person stepped in a puddle in which there was an electric wire and two people were found drowned in a flooded house.
Firefighters battled 23 serious fires some of which continued Tuesday, Bloomberg told a press conference. He said 80 homes were destroyed.
A spectacular explosion at a Manhattan electricity sub-station cut power to 193,000 homes on the island. While about 300,000 other homes in New York lost electricity as Sandy tore down trees and flooded power transmission facilities.
“Don't be surprised if it takes a week” to get power back, warned Con Edison electricity company spokesman Alfonso Quiroz.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) president Joseph Lhota said the New York subway “has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night.”
Some subway stations had water above platform level and it was expected to be several days before trains were fully operational again.
New York University's Tisch hospital had to evacuate more than 200 patients, including about 20 babies, when it was caught in the power cuts and its backup generator failed. Long lines of ambulances were still taking patients away on Tuesday morning.
Safety experts also nervously watched a crane over a 90 story luxury apartment block that buckled in the gale force winds.
The boom of the crane swayed in the fierce gusts over streets near Central Park, which police and fire services evacuated because of the risk that it could fall.
In another spectacular demonstration of its power, the hurricane pulled off the facade of a three-story building in the Chelsea district. No injuries were reported.
U.S. Campaigns muffled a week before Election Day
Super storm Sandy muffled campaigning a week from the U.S. election, as President Barack Obama cancels campaign events Wednesday due to storm, according to the White House.
Obama held a video-teleconference with top officials in the Situation Room of the White House on the latest developments associated with Sandy.
Republican nominee Romney had also put campaigning on hold, but tried to show compassion by holding what his campaign billed as a “storm relief” event in swing state Ohio.
Campaign teams were meanwhile left calculating the ramifications of the storm, which effectively froze the race in place by muting the main protagonists and consuming news coverage a week from election day.
Efforts to reopen Wall Street
New York's stock markets will likely reopen on Wednesday after a two-day shutdown due to Hurricane Sandy, despite the widespread power outages and flooding still affecting the city, New York state governor Andrew Cuomo said.
“I spoke with (U.S. Treasury Secretary) Tim Geithner about accelerating the return of Wall Street and we are cautiously optimistic that Wall Street will be back online tomorrow,” he said Tuesday.