Sandy — which was reclassified as a nontropical storm because of its unusual dynamics — came ashore at 8 p.m. in Atlantic City, carrying sustained hurricane-force winds of 80 mph or more and dangerous flood tides as high as 13 feet , the National Hurricane Center said.
At least 16 people in seven states died as a result of the storm, the Associated Press reported.President Obama declared a major disaster in New York and New Jersey.
By about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sandy was classified a post-tropical cyclone. Meteorologists said Sandy lost some characteristics of a tropical storm because of its collision with arctic air. But that collision also created an unsually large and dangerous storm system spanning nearly 1,000 miles. Fierce snowstorms dumped as much as 2 feet of snow across mountainous areas in southern Virginia, West Virginia and western Maryland, forcing officials to close Interstate 68.
The storm also had an impact on politics, as candidates called off campaign events and election officials shut down early voting in some areas.
Even on its approach, the effects of the superstorm were felt as flooding rains, gale-force winds and heavy seas swamped islands, ravaged coastal towns, shut down major transportation arteries, closed government offices at all levels, and forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate low-lying areas. The tall ship HMS Bounty sank off the North Carolina coast; 14 crew members were rescued by the Coast Guard, but one crew member drowned and the captain of the ship was missing.
In Washington, the region’s entire public transit system — Metro, Virginia Railway Express and the Maryland Transportation System — came to a halt on Monday, and most federal employees were told to stay home.
Federal officials announced that government offices would remain closed Tuesday for most employees, while Metro officials shut down rail, bus and MetroAccess service at least through Tuesday morning.
Amtrak canceled Northeast service, while stranded airplane passengers dozed or played cards in quiet terminals after dozens of flights were scratched at Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport.
In Maryland, high winds forced the closure of the Bay Bridge around 3 p.m. Monday. The Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge — which carries Interstate 95, the East Coast’s major artery, over the Susquehanna River — remained open but was operating under speed restrictions because of high winds. The speed on interstates and other highways was also reduced to 45 mph.