It could be three days or more before power is restored to parts of New York affected by Storm Sandy.
That is the timeline being estimated by the city’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the day after New York was hit by the ‘superstorm’.
“Make no mistake about it, this was a devastating storm – maybe the worst that we have ever experienced. In addition to the lives we’ve lost, the damage we’ve suffered across the city is clearly extensive and it will not be repaired overnight.
“The two biggest challenges facing our city going forward are getting our mass transit system up and running and restoring power,” Bloomberg said at a press conference.
With the city’s subway and tunnel systems affected by heavy flooding, many commuters will not be able to use their cars either as damaged vehicles littered ravaged streets.
US president Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in New York City and Long Island.
A surge of nearly four metres in the sea, coupled with high tides from a full moon caused record levels of water in Manhattan, southern Brooklyn and southern Queens on Monday night. Manhattan was battered from both directions by the Hudson River to the west and the East River on the other side.
During the night, more than 200 patients had to be evacuated from a New York University hospital after electricity was cut off and a back-up generator failed.
Hundreds of thousands of people across the city are without power.
Although Sandy has been downgraded from a hurricane, it is still expected to bring heavy rain and flooding in other parts of the US and Canada.
Though no longer a hurricane, "post-tropical" superstorm Sandy packed a hurricane-sized punch as it slammed into the Jersey Shore on Monday, killing at least 30 people from West Virginia to North Carolina and Connecticut.
Sandy whipped torrents of water over the streets of Atlantic City, stretching for blocks inland and ripping up part of the vacation spot's fabled boardwalk. The storm surge set records in Lower Manhattan, where flooded substations caused a widespread power outage. It swamped beachfronts on both sides of Long Island Sound and delivered hurricane-force winds from Virginia to Cape Cod as it came ashore.
One New York hospital evacuates 200 patients; another turns to backup power.
At least 30 U.S. deaths have been blamed on Sandy.
"Extraordinary" amount of water in Lower Manhattan, Bloomberg says
Jersey Shore police: "The whole north side of my town is totally under water".
The Atlantic hurricane season may be just a month away from ending, but its not going away quietly. Hurricane Sandy caused havoc in Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas and is now heading straight for the Mid-Atlantic United States. Ports all along the eastern U.S. have been affected.
One ship, Eurodam, which was scheduled to arrive in Port Canaveral on October 26, was forced by rough seas to dock in Jacksonville and stay there. Carnival canceled its October 28 Carnival Glory and Carnival Pride sailings altogether.
Sandy's projected path shows it making landfall in New Jersey sometime early morning Tuesday. At least a dozen cruise ship itineraries already have been changed and more could be affected.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Sandy is located 270 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina moving parallel to the eastern U.S. coastline. Maximum sustained winds from the storm have remained steady at 75 m.p.h., but the storm is expected to strengthen as it gets closer to northern Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey between now and Tuesday.