Submerged: The lobby of Verizon's Corporate headquarters in Manhattan. The headquarter houses executive offices as well as some of the company's key telecom equipment that supports services to New York's financial district

The scale of the devastation left by Superstorm Sandy is mounting today as the  death toll continues to rise – currently 48 people across the US and Canada have  been reported dead, but the final figure is expected to be significantly higher.

President Obama declared a ‘major disaster’  in New York and Long Island as flooded  streets were littered with cars, homes  were razed to the ground and tankers washed up on shore.

The President warned that Sandy ‘is not yet  over’ and announced that he would visit New Jersey on Wednesday to visit the  scenes of the destruction.

Hundreds of thousands of people are  without  power in New York and the transit system, schools, the stock  exchange and  Broadway are all out of action after a 13ft wall of water  caused by the storm  surge and high tides brought severe flooding to  subways and road tunnels.

Submerged: The lobby of Verizon’s Corporate headquarters in Manhattan. The headquarter houses executive offices as well as some of the company’s key telecom equipment that supports services to New York’s financial district

Sandy, one of the biggest storms to ever  descend on the country, hit the mainland at 6.30pm local time yesterday having  laid waste to large parts of the coast during the day.

The storm that made landfall in New  Jersey  on Monday evening with 80mph sustained winds, cut power to more than 7.4 million  homes and  businesses from the Carolinas to Ohio, caused scares at two nuclear  plants and stopped the presidential campaign cold.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says  the death toll in the America’s most populous city is up to ten – two children,  aged 11 and 13, were killed instantly in the city by a falling tree. Many of the total number of victims were said to have  been killed by falling trees.

Nearly 200 firefighters spent the night  battling to get a blaze under control in the Queens, but over 80 homes were  flattened in the fire.

Search: Aviators of the 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion, New Jersey National Guard, look for displaced residents along the coastline of Seaside Heights today

On Wednesday, the President plans to  thank  first responders in New Jersey as he surveys the damage with state Governor  Chris Christie, who has praised Obama’s leadership in dealing  with the  disaster.

Speaking from the headquarters of the Red  Cross in Washington DC, Obama said that Sandy ‘is not yet over’.

Warning there were still risks of flooding  and downed power lines, he described the storm as ‘heartbreaking for the nation’ and, offering his thoughts  and prayers to the victims, he added: ‘America is  with you.’

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says it  could be three days or more  before power is restored to hundreds of thousands  of people now in the  dark.

He is giving no estimate on when public  transit would be running, though he expects some buses be running later today.

He said there have nor been any storm-related  fatalities in NYC hospitals.

The storm was once Hurricane Sandy but  combined with two wintry systems to  become a huge hybrid storm whose center  smashed ashore late Monday in  New Jersey. New York City was perfectly  positioned to absorb the worst  of its storm surge – a record 13 feet.

The dead included two who drowned in a home  and one who was in bed when a tree fell on an apartment, the mayor said. A  23-year-old woman died by stepping into a puddle near a live  electrical wire.

A man and a woman were crushed by a falling  tree. An off-duty officer on  Staten Island who ushered his relatives to the  attic of his home  apparently became trapped in the basement.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 156 rescue missions  were made by state and city police.

‘It’s fair to say that the state police and  NYPD and the National Guard saved hundreds of lives yesterday,’ he  said.


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