It could be three days or more before power is restored to parts of New York affected by Storm Sandy.
That is the timeline being estimated by the city’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the day after New York was hit by the ‘superstorm’.
“Make no mistake about it, this was a devastating storm – maybe the worst that we have ever experienced. In addition to the lives we’ve lost, the damage we’ve suffered across the city is clearly extensive and it will not be repaired overnight.
“The two biggest challenges facing our city going forward are getting our mass transit system up and running and restoring power,” Bloomberg said at a press conference.
With the city’s subway and tunnel systems affected by heavy flooding, many commuters will not be able to use their cars either as damaged vehicles littered ravaged streets.
US president Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in New York City and Long Island.
A surge of nearly four metres in the sea, coupled with high tides from a full moon caused record levels of water in Manhattan, southern Brooklyn and southern Queens on Monday night. Manhattan was battered from both directions by the Hudson River to the west and the East River on the other side.
During the night, more than 200 patients had to be evacuated from a New York University hospital after electricity was cut off and a back-up generator failed.
Hundreds of thousands of people across the city are without power.
Although Sandy has been downgraded from a hurricane, it is still expected to bring heavy rain and flooding in other parts of the US and Canada.