New Jersey assesses Hurricane Sandy damage as clean-up begins - FOX 32 News Chicago

New Jersey assesses Hurricane Sandy damage as clean-up begins

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

President Obama will tour New Jersey Wednesday, along with Governor Chris Christie, to get a first hand look at the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The death toll from the storm in the United States now stands at 51. Another 66 died in the Caribbean before Sandy arrived on the East Coast.

Eight and a half million people are still without power and may not have it for a week or more.

Subways in New York are still closed, and many roads in the region are still covered with sand, trees and other debris.

Flames burned all over the cut-off barrier island of Mantoloking, an area was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.

Authorities believe a gas main may have exploded and quickly spread across the island. Firefighters had difficulty getting to the fires because of storm damage.

One man in Ocean City, New Jersey recorded the storm surge from Sandy as it came rolling in. Streets flooded from the surge in a matter of minutes.

Those who stayed behind had to be rescued by helicopter or boat, because all of the roads were washed away or covered with sand.

From the air, viewers could see the damage the storm caused in Seaside Heights. The sand in some places is eight feet deep, burying roads, cars and everything else in its path.

Officials said it could take months just to clear away the debris. Ten main lines in the city were shut down because the tunnels and tracks were covered with salt water and sludge.

Transit officials said it could take a week or more to get the lines up and running because all of that salt and water must be cleaned off before the trains can run again.

Still others are trapped because of high water Sandy left behind. A new York City police helicopter rescued five adults and a child from a Staten Island home Wednesday morning.

Helicopter 23 made the rescue, named after 23 New York City police officers who died on 9/11.

Most of the Northeast is dealing with flooding from Hurricane Sandy, but West Virginia has blizzard conditions throughout the state. The weather shut down highways and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands.

The National Weather Service said more than 1 ft. of snow was reported in lower elevations of the state while higher elevations saw up to three feet. A blizzard warning is still in effect for more than a dozen counties in West Virginia until Wednesday afternoon.

A reporter and producer covering the storm for ABC News almost became part of the story.

Matt Gutman and his producer were getting wired up for a live shot when a giant wave rolled in and almost swept them away. They were lucky they were close to shore and that they could grab on a nearby fence.

A CBS reporter was also knocked over by a large wave during the hurricane.

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