Megastorm Sandy plunges NYC into darkness, floods waterfront, leaves crane hanging
NEW YORK (AP) -- Much of New York was plunged into darkness Monday by a superstorm that overflowed the city's historic waterfront, flooded the financial district and subway tunnels and cut power to hundreds of thousands of people.
The city had shut its mass transit system, schools, the stock exchange and Broadway and ordered hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to leave home to get out of the way of the superstorm Sandy as it zeroed in on the nation's largest city.
Residents spent much of the day trying to salvage normal routines, jogging and snapping pictures of the water while officials warned the worst of the storm had not hit.
By evening, a record 13-foot storm surge was threatening Manhattan's southern tip, howling winds had left a crane hanging from a high-rise, and utilities deliberately darkened part of downtown Manhattan to avoid storm damage.
"It's really a complete ghost town now," said Stephen Weisbrot, from a powerless 10th-floor apartment in lower Manhattan.
Superstorm Sandy slams into New Jersey coast, sends surge of seawater against NYC
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coastline with 80 mph winds Monday night and hurled an unprecedented 13-foot surge of seawater at New York City, flooding its tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers Wall Street. At least 10 U.S. deaths were blamed on the storm, which brought the presidential campaign to a halt a week before Election Day.
For New York City at least, Sandy was not the dayslong onslaught many had feared, and the wind and rain that sent water sloshing into Manhattan from three sides began dying down within hours.
Still, the power was out for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and an estimated 5.2 million people altogether across the East. And the full extent of the storm's damage across the region was unclear, and unlikely to be known until daybreak.
In addition, heavy rain and further flooding remain major threats over the next couple of days as the storm makes its way into Pennsylvania and up into New York State. Near midnight, the center of the storm was just outside Philadelphia, and its winds were down to 75 mph, just barely hurricane strength.
"It was nerve-racking for a while, before the storm hit. Everything was rattling," said Don Schweikert, who owns a bed-and-breakfast in Cape May, N.J., near where Sandy roared ashore. "I don't see anything wrong, but I won't see everything until morning."
10 Things to Know for Tuesday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and stories that will be talked about on Tuesday:
1. SANDY SLAMS ASHORE, PUSHING WALL OF WATER INTO NYC
Tunnels and subway stations are flooded. Across the East, millions lose power.
AP PHOTOS: Big waves and high winds, images of the East Coast superstorm
Superstorm Sandy lashed the Eastern United States as it made landfall along the New Jersey coast Monday, packing torrential rains and wind gusts and knocking out electricity to more than 1.5 million people.
The initial impact was severe: making rivers out of coastal roads, forcing those who waited too long to be rescued by boats or fearfully ride out. The nation's major financial markets shut down, schools and public transportation closed and city streets were abandoned as the storm moved over a region of 50 million people.
Here's a look at AP photos of the storm so far:
A state-by-state look at what's happening with the East Coast superstorm
The massive storm that started out as Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast and morphed into a huge and problematic system affecting millions of people. Here's a snapshot of what is happening or expected, state by state.
The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 members of a crew forced to abandon a tall ship off the North Carolina coast. One of the crew members was found hours later and was in critical condition at a hospital Monday night, but the ship's captain was still missing. The HMS Bounty was originally built for the 1962 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" starring Marlon Brando and has been featured in other films, including one of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. Power outages: 5,639.
Obama swaps campaign role for hurricane-response commander; Romney curtails politics
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Eight days before the election, President Barack Obama switched from campaigner to hands-on commander of the federal response to Superstorm Sandy as it barreled across the Eastern Seaboard. Republican Mitt Romney scaled back his appearances and urged supporters to "do your very best" in donating to relief efforts.
The political pace quickened on Monday even without the customary clash of rallies and rhetoric. Romney's allies put down $1.2 million for a last-minute television ad campaign designed to make Pennsylvania competitive -- or at least appear so -- and the roll of early voters swelled past 15 million in scattered states.
With the race in its final full week, most national polls showed the two presidential rivals separated by a statistically insignificant point or two, although others said Romney had a narrow lead for the overall popular vote.
But the election will be won or lost in the nine most competitive states. Republicans claimed momentum there, but the president's high command projected confidence. And Romney's increasingly narrow focus on Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio suggested he still searched for a breakthrough in the Midwest to deny Obama the 270 electoral votes needed for victory.
The president changed roles quickly during the day, highlighting the advantages of the incumbency -- as long as events go smoothly. He scrapped a morning campaign appearance in Florida, boarded Air Force One for a bumpy flight to the nation's capital and appeared before reporters in the White House not long afterward.
Syrian regime launches what opposition calls widest campaign of airstrikes yet
BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian fighter jets pounded rebel areas across the country on Monday with scores of airstrikes that anti-regime activists called the most widespread bombing in a single day since Syria's troubles started 19 months ago.
The death toll for what was supposed to be a four-day cease-fire between the regime of President Bashar Assad and rebels seeking his overthrow exceeded 500, and activists guessed the government's heavy reliance on air power reflected its inability to roll back rebel gains.
"The army is no longer able to make any progress on the ground so it is resorting to this style," said activist Hisham Nijim via Skype from the northern town of Khan Sheikhoun.
Activists said more than 80 people were killed nationwide Monday while videos posted online showed fighter jets screaming over Syrian towns, mushroom clouds rising from neighborhoods and residents searching the remains of damaged and collapsed buildings for bodies. One video from Maaret al-Numan in the north showed residents trying to save a boy who was buried up to his shoulders in rubble. Another showed the dead bodies of a young boy and girl laid out on a tile floor.
The airstrikes focused on rebel areas in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, as well as on restive areas in and around the capital Damascus. The regime has been bombing rebel areas in the north for months, but had sparingly used its air force near the capital, presumably to avoid isolating its supporters there.
AP survey: Next US president will have limited ability to manage key economic challenges
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Whoever wins the U.S. presidential election will likely struggle to manage the biggest economic threats he'll face.
That's the cautionary message that emerges from the latest Associated Press Economy Survey.
Europe's recession will persist deep into the next presidential term, according to a majority of the 31 economists who responded to the survey. A weaker European economy would shrink demand for U.S. exports and cost U.S. jobs. Yet there's little the next president can do about it.
An even more urgent threat to the U.S. economy, the economists say, is Congress' failure so far to reach a deal to prevent tax increases and spending cuts from taking effect next year and possibly triggering another recession. Yet as President Barack Obama has found, the White House can't force a congressional accord.
And whether Obama or his Republican challenger Mitt Romney wins Nov. 6, he'll likely have to deal with one chamber of Congress led by the opposing party. Polls suggest the Senate will remain in Democratic hands after the election and the House in Republican control.
Apple retail head steps down after 6 months; software veteran also to Forstall to leave
NEW YORK (AP) -- Apple Inc. shook up its executive ranks Monday, saying the head of its store operations is leaving after just six months on the job and the long-serving head of its iPhone software development operations is exiting next year.
Apple didn't say why retail senior vice president John Browett and iOS software SVP Scott Forstall were leaving, but both have presided over missteps this year.
Browett cut staffing hours at Apple's retail stores, a move the company reversed and acknowledged as a mistake. Forstall's division launched a software update in September that replaced Google Maps with Apple's first mapping application. It quickly drew unfavorable comparisons to the software it was replacing, and Apple apologized.
Browett's departure is immediate, and the company is looking for a replacement. Forstall will act as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook until he leaves, Apple said. His responsibilities will be divided among other Apple veterans.
Forstall joined Apple in 1997 with the company's purchase of Steve Jobs' NeXT startup. Apple credits him as one of the original architects of Mac OS X.
Alex Smith completes 18 of 19 passes, 49ers dominate Cardinals 24-3
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- On an almost perfect Monday night for Alex Smith, the San Francisco 49ers flexed their NFC West dominance with a 24-3 flattening of the Arizona Cardinals.
Smith completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns -- two to Michael Crabtree and one to Randy Moss -- to help San Francisco (6-2) open a two-game lead in the division and send Arizona (4-4) to its fourth straight lost.
Smith's only incompletion was dropped by a wide-open receiver.
Smith was 14 of 15 for 146 yards and two touchdowns, both to Crabtree, as the 49ers built a 17-0 halftime lead.
Moss caught a 47-yard TD pass, dodging tacklers down the sideline on a play that seemed to turn back the clock to the receiver's prime. With the catch, he tied Terrell Owens for fourth on the NFL career touchdown list with 156.