Superstorm Sandy hits New Jersey coast of USA
Sandy, one of the biggest storms ever to hit the United States, has led to forceful evacuations, shutting down transportation and interrupting the presidential campaign.
The National Hurricane Center said Sandy came ashore as a "post-tropical cyclone," meaning it still packed hurricane-force winds but lost the characteristics of a tropical storm. It had sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (129 kph), well above the threshold for hurricane intensity. Sandy previously had been characterised as a hurricane, said various media reports.
The storm's target area includes big population centers such as New York City, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
At least three deaths were blamed on Sandy: One person died in a storm-related traffic accident in Maryland, a Pennsylvania man fell from a tree while trimming branches in preparation for the hurricane and one person was killed in New York when a tree fell on a house.
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney cancelled their campaign appearances at the very height of the race, with just over a week to go before Election Day. The president pledged the government's help and made a direct plea from the White House to those in the storm's path, said an Associated Press report.