Superstorm Sandy is battering coastal communities tonight with storm surges, downpours, and high winds, causing power outages and evacuation orders from Vermont to Virginia. No longer officially a hurricane, Sandy is starting to merge with two cold fronts, becoming bigger and messier but slightly weaker, sustaining winds of 85mph, according to CNN. As of this evening, about 2 million were without power along the eastern seaboard, according to the AP and other sources. Some specifics:
- Facing a direct hit, New Jersey is suffering flooding, high winds, and 434,000 power outages. Part of the Garden State Highway has been closed due to rising waters, and Atlantic City is so flooded that cars are underwater, CNN reports. Part of the city's famed boardwalk has been washed away. Hoboken, meanwhile, is banning all driving after 4pm.
- New York City is expecting storm surges as high as 11 feet. Thousands of flights have been canceled, and the subway has been shut down. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has requested 1,000 National Guard troops be deployed. About 452,000 are without power, and emergency crews have responded to a construction crane hanging dangerously from a luxury high-rise.
- The story is similar in Pennsylvania, specifically Philadelphia, which has also shut down its mass transit system, and seen hundreds of flights canceled. Officials say wind could reach 75mph and rainfall 10 inches. National Guardsmen have been told to be ready for deployment. Power outages: 74,000.
- Flooding is expected to knock out power stations in Connecticut, killing power for 117,400.
- Several coastal communities in Massachusetts are being urged to voluntarily evacuate, the Boston Globe reports, and in Boston all subway and bus service was shut down at 2pm. Nearly 1,000 crews are out helping more than 300,000 who have lost power. Flooding is expected along the coast with this evening's high tide.
- Washington, DC closed its rail service for the first time since 2003, and the federal government has closed up shop save for emergency employees, the Washington Post reports. Nearly 5,500 are without power.
- In Virginia about 9,500 people are without power, and the same could happen to about 1 million more. Chincoteague Island is entirely underwater with 3,500 residents who decided to tough it out.
- Maryland has seen damage to an iconic ocean pier in Ocean City, and a blizzard warning has been issued for the mountainous western part of the state. About 145,000 are without power, the Baltimore Sun reports.
- West Virginia has blizzard fears as well, with as many as 14 counties told to prepare for high winds, heavy snows, and flooded towns.
- Vermont has declared a state of emergency to give it access to National Guard troops. According to the AP, the state still hasn't fully recovered from the damage wrought by Hurricane Irene. About 14,470 have lost power.
- Rhode Island officials say wind could drive water up Narragansett Bay and flood low-lying areas. About 110,000 are without power.
Keep checking back for more.