Superstorm Sandy slams Northeast

Lower Manhattan goes dark Monday night during Superstorm Sandy in this picture taken from Brooklyn.

Superstorm Sandy surged inland late Monday, hitting the New Jersey shore and New York Harbor with incredible force, killing at least 10 people, plunging more than 7 million others into darkness and crippling transportation with historic flooding across a huge swath of the East Coast. The mammoth storm began breaking up as it hit the New Jersey shore Monday evening with maximum sustained winds of 90mph, later dropping to 75 mph, but Sandy continued to punch a destructive path across 11 states and the District of Columbia even after having been downgraded from hurricane status.  The National Hurricane Center re-designated Sandy as a “post-tropical cyclone,” saying it was rapidly losing its tropical characteristics as it merged into an enormous nor’easter. The National Weather Service predicted “historic and life-threatening coastal flooding” through Tuesday morning, with the greatest danger coming at high tide. The powerful storm flooded sections of Atlantic City and other areas of the New Jersey shore, while New York Harbor surged into lower Manhattan and areas of Brooklyn, submerging entire streets and parks.  Sandy made landfall at Atlantic City about 6:45 p.m. ET, NBC New York reported. By 11 p.m. ET, its center was about 10 miles southwest of Philadelphia. Storm water poured into the Brooklyn-Battery and Queens Midtown tunnels, bursting into a subway station and even cascading into the construction site at Ground Zero. At 9:24 p.m., the water level at Battery Park, on the southern tip of Manhattan, had reached 13.88 feet, surpassing the previous record of 11.2 feet in 1821. Nearly 7.1 million customers had already lost power across the eastern half of the country. About half were in New York and New Jersey.