Some areas along the New Jersey coastline will be without power for another week and the water may be turned off as well. NBC's Ron Allen reports.
Doug Mills / AFP - Getty Images
President Barack Obama flies over Seaside Heights, N.J., on Wednesday.
New in this version: LaGuardia Airport to reopen Thursday; U.S. declares public health emergency in N.Y.
Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET: President Barack Obama surveyed New Jersey's battered coastline Wednesday, saying the federal government was "going to be here for the long haul" as the state and 15 others dealt with cleanup and power failures two days after Superstorm Sandy tore through.
M. Alex Johnson, Jim Miklaszewski and Ali Weinberg of NBC News; NBC 4 in New York, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
"We are here for you, and we will not forget," he added.
He was shown around by Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican and vocal backer of presidential challenger Mitt Romney who nevertheless has praised Obama and the federal response to the storm.
Related: Political side to Obama, Christie mutual praise
"We will get up and get this rebuilt," Christie said in remarks with Obama at his side.
Christie earlier had said he would ask the president to direct the Army Corps of Engineers to figure out how to rebuild beaches to better protect devastated areas.
President Barack Obama witnessed the extent of the damage during a visit to the devastated New Jersey coastline Wednesday. NBC's Lester Holt reports.
President Barack Obama surveyed New Jersey's battered coastline on Wednesday, saying the federal government was "going to be here for the long haul," as the state and 15 others dealt with cleanup and power outages two days after Superstorm Sandy tore through.
After a helicopter tour, Obama visited residents in hard-hit Brigantine, where he made his promise of long-term support.
He was shown around by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican and vocal backer of presidential challenger Mitt Romney who nevertheless has praised Obama and the federal response to the storm.
Christie earlier said he would ask the president to task the Army Corps of Engineers with how "to rebuild the beach to protect these towns."
But, he added, "it won't be the same because some of the iconic things are washed into the ocean."
Christie on Wednesday ordered that Halloween trick-or-treating be moved to Monday due to unsafe conditions. Aerial footage of the coastline Wednesday morning showed mile after mile of destruction: a neighborhood on fire, others swamped by sand and evacuations still happening in places with high water.
NBC's Lester Holt walks through a destroyed restaurant in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., which has been completely filled with sand by Sandy.
Recovery operations on Wednesday got a boost from the Navy, which ordered three helicopter carrier ships to the New Jersey and New York coasts, officials told NBC News.
The USS Wasp, USS Carter Hall, and USS Mesa Verde will provide landing platforms for Coast Guard, National Guard and civilian agency helicopters if needed, the officials said, adding that the Atlantic Fleet command made the decision in the name of "prudent planning."
Wall Street reopened Wednesday, as did some airports, but 5.7 million homes and businesses -- two thirds in New Jersey and New York -- still were without power Wednesday afternoon.
Aerial footage reveals devastation from New York City to North Carolina's Outer Banks.
Two days after landfall, Sandy was still impacting areas from the Atlantic coast to as far inland as Chicago:
- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius declared a public health emergency for New York, helping to make sure Medicare, Medicaid and children's health beneficiaries continue to receive services.About 500 patients at New York City's Bellevue Hospital were evacuated to other hospitals after floodwaters crippled its equipment and power supply.
- Some 500 patients at New York City's Bellevue Hospital were being evacuated Wednesday after lab equipment was damaged by floodwater.
- Three of seven flooded East River tunnels in New York City were cleared of water on Wednesday, and some subway service was set to resume Thursday. Full bus service was restored, as was some train service.
- New York City schools will be closed the rest of the week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
- 90 percent of Long Island was without power and it could take up to 10 days to restore all service, Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., told MSNBC.
- Sewage was backing up into homes near a flooded sewage plant in Long Island's Nassau County. An official feared it could spread to thousands of homes.
- The U.N. Security Council had to relocate because of water damage to parts of U.N. headquarters in Manhattan.
- Fires that destroyed more than a dozen homes in a New Jersey shore town rekindled overnight due to natural gas leaks, NBCNewYork.com reported. Other communities up and down the coast also saw fires destroy homes.
- National Guard troops were evacuating flooded neighborhoods in Hoboken, N.J., NBCNewYork.com reported. "About 20,000 people still remain in their homes, and we're trying to put together an evacuation plan, get the equipment here," Mayor Dawn Zimmer told MSNBC Tuesday night.
- New Jersey's barrier islands were literally reshaped by the surge of water, NBC's Al Roker reported.
- More than three feet of snow had fallen in parts of West Virginia, where 225,000 homes and businesses were without power Wednesday morning. Red House, Md., saw 30 inches of snow.
- In Chicago, forecasters warned that high waves and flooding are possible on the Lake Michigan shore on Wednesday. Sandy caused waves up to two stories high on the Great Lakes Tuesday, forcing cargo ships -- some longer than three football fields -- to seek shelter. "We don't stop for thunderstorms and flurries," said Glen Nekvasil, spokesman for lake cargo association. "But this was just too much."
- In New Haven, Conn., Sandy blew down a tree that uprooted human remains and what appeared to be a time capsule.
The National Guard arrived Wednesday in Hoboken, N.J., rescuing the elderly trapped inside their homes and delivering food and supplies. NBC's Katy Tur reports.
Interactive storm trackerSandy leaves trail of destruction, disbelief
Sandy has claimed at least 47 lives in the U.S., after killing at least 71 in the Caribbean.
In New Jersey, aerial footage Wednesday showed fires raging among storm-damaged homes and sand pushed inland, with TODAY's Natalie Morales reporting from the air that she counted some 25 separate points of flame.
Boats that Morales said had been "tossed as if toys" could be seen piled up next to wrecked houses in the area.
The National Guard has arrived in Hoboken, N.J., to give much-needed help to people trapped in their homes by flooding. Many of the city's streets are still under multiple feet of water. NBC's Natalie Morales takes an aerial view.
In Hoboken, across from Manhattan, live wires dangled in floodwaters that were rapidly mixing with sewage.
The lower half of Manhattan remained without power after a transformer explosion at a Con Edison substation Monday night.
Superstorm Sandy made landfall Monday evening on a destructive and deadly path across the Northeast.
Two of the area's three major airports -- Kennedy in New York and Newark Liberty -- reopened with limited service on Wednesday. New York's LaGuardia Airport was flooded and remained closed. Nearly 19,000 flights have been canceled since Sunday.
Sunday’s New York Marathon is still on, but flying in runners from out of town will be tricky. The National Basketball Association canceled the season-opening game between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, because of damage around the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski as well as Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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