Millions of residents along the US Atlantic seaboard have been left without power and inundated by floodwaters in the aftermath of super storm Sandy. At least 40 people in the United States and Canada have been killed.
New York's partly flooded subway will be out of service for four or five days because of Sandy's 4.2 meter (14 foot) storm surge, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Wind-fanned fires had destroyed 80 homes. Their occupants had been rescued, he said.
Sandy had left "unthinkable" coastal damage along New Jersey's Atlantic coastline, said state governor Chris Christie. Hundreds of people were still stranded, he said.
New Jersey state officials said "unprecedented" flooding left by nearly 30 centimeters of rainfall could leave homes powerless for days.
New York state governor Andrew Cuomo said 18 lives were lost alone in his state, including residents crushed by falling trees or electrocuted by downed lines.
Airports closed, millions without power
Three of New York's main airports remained flooded on Tuesday and the New York Stock Exchange was closed for a second day.
The utility Con Edison said more than eight million homes and businesses were without power, some because of a sub-station explosion. Power providers reported outages in every state, leaving at least a fifth of consumers without electricity.
In Toronto, Canada, police said one woman resident was killed when struck by a falling sign. Power utilities in Canada's Ontario and neighboring Quebec provinces said 130,000 customers were also without electricity.
Canada's Weather Office said the storm's eye is expected to reach the Great Lakes on Wednesday before tracking northeast along the Saint Lawrence seaway.
The US National Hurricane Center said Sandy was weakening as it moved inland, but it was still packing gale-force winds and downpours.
Two economic forecasting firms said Sandy had caused $20 billion (15.5 billion euros) in damages and affected more than 60 million Americans.
Rival praises Obama's handling
In his Situation Room, US President Barack Obama had told his team "to make sure all available resources are being provided to state and local responders as quickly as possible," according to a White House statement.
Obama, who interrupted his election campaign against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, drew unexpected praise from a Romney ally, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
"It's been very good working with the president, and his administration has been coordinating with us, great – it's been wonderful," Christie said.
Romney gathers donations
Romney, meanwhile, has turned scheduled campaign events in Wisconsin and Ohio into gatherings to collect donations for storm victims ahead of the November 6 presidential election.
From Kettering in Ohio, a key electoral swing state, Romney said he had spoken to some of the governors in the affected areas "and they talked about a lot of people having hard times."
A Reuters/Ipsos survey released on Tuesday showed Obama leading Romney among likely voters by a narrow 47 percent to 46 percent. The poll among 3,300 interviewees was conducted as the storm hit on Monday afternoon.
ipj/dr (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)