orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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October 30, 2012

Sandy leaves death, damp and darkness in wake

(Continued)

NEW YORK — "They said to take only what we needed, and leave the rest, because we'll come back in two or three days," she said as she and hundreds of others gathered in the luggage-strewn marble lobby. "I hope so."

An explosion Monday night at a substation for Consolidated Edison, the main utility service New York City, knocked out power to about 310,000 customers in Manhattan.

"It sounded like the Fourth of July," Stephen Weisbrot said from his 10th-floor apartment.

One of the units at Indian Point, a nuclear power plant north of New York City, was shut down Monday night because of electrical grid problems, said Entergy Corp., which operates the plant. The company said there was no risk to the public.

And officials declared an "unusual event" at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey Township, N.J., the nation's oldest, when waters surged to 6 feet above sea level during the evening.

Within two hours, the situation at the reactor — which was offline for regular maintenance — was upgraded to an alert, the second-lowest in a four-tiered warning system.

In Baltimore, fire officials said four unoccupied rowhouses collapsed in the storm, sending debris into the street but causing no injuries. A blizzard in western Maryland caused a pileup of tractor-trailers that blocked part of Interstate 68 on slippery Big Savage Mountain.

"It's like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs up here," said Bill Wiltson, a Maryland State Police dispatcher.

Hundreds of miles from the storm's center, gusts topping 60 mph prompted officials to close the port of Portland, Maine, and scared away several cruise ships.

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