Hurricane Sandy Update: Death Toll Reaches 39; Millions Without Power

The death toll created by Hurricane Sandy continues to rise as residents begin to put their lives back together, and millions find themselves without power.

Over 39 deaths were reported in the U.S. on Tuesday afternoon, up from 16 deaths at the start of the day. Although the bulk of the storm has passed and Hurricane Sandy has transformed into a tropical storm, the death toll continues to rise.

The increasing number of deaths has been attributed mostly to falling trees as residents and workers deal with the aftermath of the storm. Over 8 million homes in more than a dozen states are without power, including New York City, which took one of the largest hits from the storm. The extent of damage has been unmatched in history.

The New York Stock Exchange was forced to close for two days in a row, which has not occurred since 1888. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is also struggling to repair the worse damage that it has seen in its 108 years of existence. While a number of bus routes were restored, offering passenger free rides for the next day, the situation with underground trains has remained ambiguous.

"It is beyond anything I thought I'd ever see," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said. "It is a devastating sight right now."

Atlantic City is reportedly underwater, Hoboken flooded, and Jersey City closed off to traffic due to a lack of traffic light functioning. The N.J. Path train which connects the state to Manhattan has also been flooded with salt water and faces similar dilemmas to that of the MTA.

"This will be one for the record books," John Miksad, senior vice president for electric operations at Consolidated Edison, which had more than 670,000 customers without power in and around New York City, told AP News.

Residents who were evacuated have been cautioned from returning home before officials have declared that it is safe. The public has also been cautioned to avoid flooded areas both in car and on foot.

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