Hurricane Sandy: aftermath photos reveal extent of devastation

Burnt houses next to others that survived in Breezy Point, Queens, after Hurricane Sandy, on October 31. (Reuters/Adrees Latif)

At The Atlantic, a big-picture gallery of photos from AP and Reuters photogs and others, documenting the scope of damage in NYC, NJ, and other areas hard-hit by the recent "Superstorm" Sandy. This is way bigger than "some lights are out," folks.

BB Archives: Hurricane Sandy posts.


  1. In USA are unisulated overhead multi kV lines common in densely built areas with trees. Why do you keep such a risky grid design powered during strong winds? Would it not be a lot safer and less costly to repair and not having to rebuild after fires if you shut your local grids down during hurricanes and turn them on after inspections?

    Over here in Sweden were almost all medium and low voltage powerlines in densely populated areas cablified generations ago. Digging down even pays for itself with lower maintainance costs over about 20 years wich is no more then about a third of the life legnht for modern 400 V to 22 kV ground cables.

    We had a major storm in 2005 and since then has the rebuilding pace of the rural grid about tripled to cablifie or replace overhead 6-40 kV lines with insulated wires that can handle a tree or two per span and when the whole forest falls manny new powerlines are built with breakable bolts to save the poles and hopefully the cables by allowing them to break free and fall to the ground.

    Why are large parts of USA stuck with more or less thirld world infrastructure?

    1. > Why are large parts of USA stuck with more or less third world infrastructure?

      Infrastructure costs money, i.e. taxation. And half the country regularly supports candidates who conflate anti-tax policies with religious morality.

      1. Over here were most of the grid not built with tax money, it were and is payed with fees on grid connections and electricity distributed. But manny municipialities did back investments with tax money wich made it possible to lend cheaply. Part of the national grid and major powerplants were built with government money but they have for quite a while repaid it with taxes, fees and dividends. Todays ongoing strenghtening of the high tension grid for more nuclear power, more renevable power and more power trading is paid by higher fees while parliament decides how much the state grid can be allowed to lend.

        (There is a right-to-left cooperation about limiting government debt and repaying it over the economical cycles since we had a major crisis about 20 years ago and this also makes it harder for government functions to lend money. This is done to make our government more robust and able to support our society during times of hardship. Having paid down a fair part of the government debt before the 2008 crisis made it a lot easier to handle and we are almost back in the black now during the early phases of the euro crisis. Fiscal responsibility is a core right wing value in Sweden and the left wing accepts fiscal responsibility since it avoids the risk for sudden collapses in the social services etc and thus do the left accept priortizing among social services and the right accepts slower tax cuts and both sides like efficiency. )

        Not maintaining infrastructure gets very expensive when society no longer can depend on the services and planning for the long term adds up when different systems becomes more efficeint to run.

        Wonder if USA will learn from the economical and environmental crisises and start fixing them?

    2. “Why are large parts of USA stuck with more or less thirld world infrastructure?”

      Because we chose predator drones, Hellfire missiles, aircraft carriers and Halliburton.  You guys chose education, health care, 5 weeks of vacation, extended parental leave, public transportation and saunas.

        1. What do you mean more than 10 years down the road? Most of the planners in the US can’t imagine making plans that go beyond the next quarterly report.

    3.  Underground or above ground, everything got inundated by seawater and lots of things got fairly spectacularly smashed.  A ruptured natural gas line near a drowning car battery would have been plenty to get something like this started.

      1. Don’t worry, in a few months it’ll all be ancient history even though there will still be thousands of displaced people. 

        Katrina? Yeah I knew someone named that once.

  2. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for New York to rebuild the wiped-out areas with some seriously solid architecture, incorporating all that’s been learned over the last century about how to build decent high-density housing and infrastructure.

    I bet it doesn’t happen.

  3. A thing to keep in mind, concerning the power grid; Deregulation intended free will and honest cooperation. Instead, through a combination of economics, human ego, and forethought, profoundly changed the design and honest engineering that had been the example set forth.

    Now, protection engineering, has in itself become void of basic design fundimentals. I have seen the arrogance of engineers not wanting to speak with anyone because they can contract a study ( $ ). Yet, it was an extremely obvious accident by some one in the substation and it meant nothing but that. That is a sad moment. Emotionally, I can say, nothing beautiful.

    The power grid is technical advancement that we in United States should be proud of, when it was run by engineers, not business.

  4. (sorry, i heard it in my head when i saw the image)

    I’m confident people will learn to adapt and prevent greater harm in the future.

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