Image: Satellite view of Sandy
NASA via AFP - Getty Images
This satellite-based image shows Hurricane Sandy on Thursday.
By
updated 10/26/2012 1:57:01 PM ET 2012-10-26T17:57:01

The United States is facing a year or more without crucial satellites that provide invaluable data for predicting storm tracks, a result of years of mismanagement and underfunding, according to several recent official reviews.

The looming gap in satellite coverage, which some experts now view as almost certain to occur within the next few years, could result in shaky forecasts about storms like Hurricane Sandy, which is now expected to hit the northeast seaboard early next week.

The endangered satellites fly pole-to-pole orbits and cross the Equator in the afternoon, scanning the whole planet one strip at a time. Along with orbiters on other timetables, they are among the most effective tools used to pin down the paths of major storms around five days ahead.

All this week, forecasters have been relying on just such satellite observations for almost all of the data needed to narrow down what were at first widely divergent computer models of what Hurricane Sandy would do next: explode against the coast, or veer away into the open ocean?

Experiments show that without this kind of satellite data, forecasters would have underestimated by half the massive snowfall that hit Washington in the 2010 blizzard nicknamed “Snowmageddon.”

“We cannot afford to lose any enhancement that allows us to accurately forecast any weather event coming our way,” said Craig J. Craft, commissioner of emergency management for Nassau County, Long Island, where the great hurricane of 1938 hit without warning and killed hundreds. On Thursday, Mr. Craft was seeking more precise forecasts for the looming storm and gearing up for possible hospital and nursing home evacuations, as were ordered before Hurricane Irene last year. “Without accurate forecasts it is hard to know when to pull that trigger.”

Experts have grown increasingly alarmed in the past two years because the existing polar satellites are nearing or beyond their life expectancies, and the launching of the next replacement, known as JPSS-1, has slipped until early 2017, probably too late to avoid a gap of at least a year.

Prodded by lawmakers and auditors, the satellite’s managers are just beginning to think through their alternatives when the gap arrives, but these are unlikely to avoid it.

The mismanagement of the $13 billion program, which goes back a decade, was recently described as a “national embarrassment” by a top official of the Commerce Department.

This summer, three independent reviews — by the Commerce inspector general, the Government Accountability Office, and a blue-ribbon team of outside experts — each questioned the government’s cost estimates for the program, criticized the program’s managers for not pinning down the designs and called for urgent remedies. The project is run by Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, along with NASA.

The outside review team, led by A. Thomas Young, an aerospace industry leader, called the management of the program “dysfunctional.”

In response, top Commerce and NOAA officials on Sept. 18 ordered what they called an urgent restructuring — just the latest overhaul of a program that has been troubled for many years. They streamlined the management, said they would fill key vacancies quickly, demanded immediate reports on how the agency might try to cope with the gap. They have moved quickly to nail down the specific designs of the JPSS1’s components, many of them already partly built. And they promised to quickly complete a new independent cost estimate to verify the program’s budget.

“There is no more critical strategic issue for our weather satellite programs than the risk of gaps in satellite coverage,” wrote Jane Lubchenco, the under secretary of Commerce responsible for NOAA, in her memorandum ordering the changes.

Ms. Lubchenco wrote that the administration had been trying all along to fix “this dysfunctional program that had become a national embarrassment due to chronic management problems.”

“It is a long, sad history,” said Dennis Hartmann, the chairman of a broad review of earth-observing satellite programs released in May by the National Research Council. The report projected a dismal decline in what has been among the crown jewels of modern earth and atmospheric science.

The JPSS (for Joint Polar Satellite System) also includes important sensors for studying the global climate, and these too are at risk.

But its main satellites, about the size of small school buses, are most notable because they put instruments to sense atmospheric moisture, temperature and the like into what is known as the “polar p.m.” orbit, a passage from lower altitude that provides sharp and frequent images of weather patterns spanning the globe. (Other satellites stare continuously at one part of the globe from farther off, for short-term forecasting.)

Polar satellites provide 84 percent of the data used in the main American computer model tracking the course of Hurricane Sandy, which at first was expected to amble harmlessly away, but now appears poised to strike the mid-Atlantic states.

For years, as the accuracy of this kind of forecasting has steadily improved, NOAA’s p.m. polar satellites have been a crucial player, like the center on a basketball team.

But all the while, despite many warnings, the gap has grown ever more likely.

The department told Congress this summer that it could not come up with any way to launch JPSS-1, the next polar satellite any sooner. Kathryn Sullivan, assistant secretary of Commerce, said it “will endeavor to maintain the launch date as much as practicable.”

The accountability office, which views the impending gap as “almost certain,” has been urging NOAA to come up with alternatives, like leaning on other commercial, military or government satellites for helpful data. But it observed that it would take a long time and more money to bring any such jury-rigged system on line.

For now, the agency is running on a stopgap financing bill that gives it authority to shift money from other projects to the polar satellites. In approving the money, Congress demanded a written plan by next week showing how NOAA intended to stay on schedule and within a strict limit — about $900 million a year. The agency has said its top priority is to verify its latest cost estimates, produced in the past few months.

“NOAA does not have a policy to effect consistent and reliable cost estimates,” the inspector general said. The outside review team said it could not tell “if the current $12.9 billion is high, low, or exactly correct.”

The program’s problems began a decade ago with an effort to merge military and civilian weather satellites into a single project. After its cost doubled and its schedule slipped five years, that project was sundered by the Obama administration.

As its existing satellites aged and the delays mounted, NOAA finally put a new model named Suomi (after a weather-satellite pioneer) into orbit a year ago. It was initially seen as a test bed to reduce risks in the two main replacement satellites. Brought quickly into operational service, it now helps bridge the gap until the next launchings, one in 2017, and the other in 2022 — two and four years late, respectively.

But there are lingering concerns that technical glitches have shortened Suomi’s useful lifetime, perhaps to just three years. Predicting a satellite’s lifetime is like guessing when a light bulb go out. The most likely timing of a gap in coverage is between 2016 and 2018, according to the best official estimates.

That would “threaten life and property,” the independent review team warned.

This report, "Aging Satellite Fleet May Mean Gaps in Storm Forecasts," first appeared in The New York Times.

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Photos: Recovery

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  1. Hundreds of people affected by Sandy wait in line for distributions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Red Cross and other aid organizations on Nov. 17 in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. FEMA says it is extending, by a month, a program providing temporary housing to New Yorkers displaced by Superstorm Sandy. (Bebeto Matthews / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A volunteer checks Donald Vaughn, who had not been able to keep a dialysis appointment, in his apartment at a public housing facility in the Rockaway section of the Queens borough of New York on Nov. 17. Some residents have struggled to get their lives back to normal more than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy since some essential services have yet to return to parts of the city. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Contractors dig several feet of sand out of a garage after it was deposited by the storm surge from Sandy in Mantoloking, N.J. on Nov. 16. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Destroyed rides sit on the beach from the Funtown Pier on Nov. 16 in Seaside Heights, N.J. Two amusement piers and a number of roller coasters were destroyed in the seaside town by Sandy. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A surfer heads out into the water in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood where a large section of the iconic boardwalk was washed away on Nov. 16, in the Queens borough of New York City. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. President Barack Obama and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left, talk with a man inside the distribution tent as they tour a FEMA recovery center in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on Staten Island in New York on Nov. 15, 2012. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, is at right. Obama got a look Thursday at the devastation that Sandy waged on New York City, flying over flood-ravaged Queens before landing in Staten Island to meet storm victims who lost homes and loved ones. (Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Rosemary McDermott and her husband Anthony Minor react as they open a safe containing a family genealogy they were able to salvage from the basement of her mother's home in the Breezy Point section of Queens, N.Y., on Nov. 15, 2012. A fire destroyed more than 100 homes in the oceanfront community during Superstorm Sandy. At left are Todd Griffin and Kevin Striegle, volunteers with Adventures in Missions, who helped find the safe beneath the debris. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. People receive free clothing at the Ocean Bay Action Center on Nov. 15, 2012, in the Rockaway neighborhood of Queens in New York City. More than two weeks after Superstorm Sandy, residents are still lining up for free clothing and food as emergency workers continue to restore power, water and heat to the battered community. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Patrick Wall, house manager at Coney Island USA, cleans a vintage player piano damaged in the flooding of the buildings that house the Coney Island Circus Sideshow and the Coney Island Museum on Nov. 15, 2012, in Brooklyn, New York City. Staff and volunteers are working to restore what can be saved following Superstorm Sandy. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Homeowner Rob Ostrander talks on the phone in front of his Hurricane Sandy damaged home in the Brooklyn borough region of Belle Harbor, N.Y., Nov. 14. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A worker looks up at a hole in the foundation caused by Hurricane Sandy to the home of Leslie Mahoney in the Brooklyn borough of Belle Harbor, N.Y., Nov. 14. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Lisa Baney walks back toward her family's home after taking a photo of a neighbor's destroyed home on Nov. 14, in Bay Head, N.J. Many residents of the hard hit seaside town remain without power. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. A living room is filled with sand washed in by Superstorm Sandy on Nov. 14, in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. A man looks up at a building along the destroyed section of boardwalk on Nov. 14, in Point Pleasant, N.J. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Workers pause to look at a home that has been pushed on top of a work truck by the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy in the Brooklyn borough of Belle Harbor N.Y., Nov. 14. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A candle is handed out to residents in need from a group called Dream Center in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood in Queens, N.Y. on Nov.14. Two weeks after Superstorm Sandy slammed into parts of New York and New Jersey, thousands are still without power and heat. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. An New York police officer jumps over a chasm in the boardwalk caused by the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy in Belle Harbor, N.Y., Nov. 14. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Louise McCarthy carts belongings from her flood-damaged home as she passes the charred ruins of other homes in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough of New York, Nov. 14. A fire destroyed more than 100 homes in the oceanfront community during Superstorm Sandy. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Heavy equipment operator Bill Unger carries photos he salvaged from a mass dump of household possessions on Nov. 13, in the Midland Beach area of the Staten Island, N.Y. Unger has been helping to remove Hurricane Sandy debris for the city and collecting photos along the way. He takes them to his daughter, who is posting them on Facebook for neighborhood residents to find online and later collect. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. A woman steps down off a damaged section of boardwalk in the Rockaway neighborhood of New York City, Nov. 13. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. CVS workers stock the shelves of a temporary store being constructed in front of a damaged CVS location in the Rockaway Beach neighborhood of Queens, New York, Nov. 12. Most stores in the area have been damaged or destroyed. (Andrew Gombert / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. A home that was damaged by Superstorm Sandy is seen in Union Beach, N.J., on Nov. 12. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. An insurance claims adjuster climbs the entrance to a house in the Breezy Point neighborhood on Nov. 12, which was left devastated by Superstorm Sandy in New York City's Queens borough. (Adrees Latif / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Chris Schmidt works on ripping out damaged wood in a friend's home, as a fire burns in the fireplace, on Nov. 12. People in the area continue to deal with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in the Oakwood Beach neighborhood of Staten Island, N.Y. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Members of the U.S. Army's 62nd Medical Brigade Preventive Medicine Detachment take water samples during early morning fog in Breezy Point, on Nov. 12. The neighborhood was left devastated by Superstorm Sandy in New York City's Queens borough. (Adrees Latif / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. People line up to receive donated items from Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens in the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, on Nov. 12. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. A woman carries her dog while walking through charred homes in Breezy Point, on Nov. 12. (Adrees Latif / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. A resident looks through a destroyed house in Union Beach, N.J., on Nov. 12. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Streets damaged during Superstorm Sandy are seen in Ortley Beach, N.J., on Nov. 10. (Tim Larsen / Governor's Office via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. People gather for free donated food beneath a spotlight in an area without power on Nov. 12, in the Rockaway neighborhood in New York City's Queens borough. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. A young girl rejoices as she finds a doll, while she and her mother search through piles of clothes and other items donated for victims of Superstorm Sandy, on a sidewalk on the south side of Staten Island, on Nov. 12. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Seabee EOCN Courtney McCormack, left, grabbed a shovel and started digging out the sand that had washed up against the house as others in the group grabbed the waterlogged debris to begin a 100 yard walk out of the neighborhood to a large trash pile in Breezy Point, N.Y. on Nov. 12. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. A cyclist passes piles of debris on Nov. 10, as clean-up continues where a large section of the iconic boardwalk was washed away in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Community pet rescuer Kim Ruiz stands among the cats, five of whom were rescued during Superstorm Sandy, and dogs she houses in her unheated apartment without electricity in the Far Rockaway neighborhood in the Queens borough of New York City on Nov. 9. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. Mac Baker heats pots of water on the floor with small flames for a bit of warmth in her unheated apartment on Nov. 9, with her niece Nytaisha Baker in the Ocean Bay public housing projects in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Volunteer Christine Wakefield organizes donated goods Nov. 9, in a Metropolitan Transit Authority bus in the Midland Beach neighborhood of Staten Island, N.Y. (Andrew Burton / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. David Sylvester searches through the remains of his house, which was flooded and then burned to the ground during Hurricane Sandy, for the corpses of his five cats in the Midland Beach neighborhood in Staten Island, N.Y., on Nov. 9. (Andrew Burton / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Dean Rasinya takes a break from cleaning his damaged home on Nov. 8 in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens in New York City. Rasinya's house still stands, just at the edge of the fire's reach, near the area where there was a huge blaze that destroyed over 100 homes in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Rasinya has lived in the neighborhood for 35 years and intends to rebuild. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. U.S. Marines from the 8th Engineer Support Battallon out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., attempt to start a generator which they will use to pump out floodwater from an overnight storm on Nov. 8 in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. The Breezy Point neighborhood was heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. David Sylvester, 50, stands in front of the remains of his house in the Midland Beach neighborhood on Staten Island in New York City on Nov. 8. Sylvester and his wife Joanne lost their five cats when their home caught fire after Hurricane Sandy flooded their neighborhood. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Theresa Goddard, her apartment still without electricity, is overwhelmed while discussing her living conditions on Nov. 8 in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. Even as a storm plunged temperatures below freezing, she and many other residents of the Red Hook public housing projects remain without heat and running water. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. A damaged house sits in the middle of the street as the area continues to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Breezy Point, Queens, N.Y. on Nov. 8. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Snow covers debris from the cleanup after Sandy in the Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., on Nov. 8. Residents across the Northeast woke up on Nov. 8 to more than 200,000 new power outages and record early snow from a nor'easter that struck just 10 days after Superstorm Sandy battered the region. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Ed Cardona shovels a few inches of snow from his driveway, just two hundred yards from the water, on Staten Island in New York City on Nov. 8. Cardona, who has lived here since 1989, had about three feet of water after Superstorm Sandy. "I still love the place, I'm not going anywhere. I picked up a new snowblower within the last seven months that went under water. I didn't get to use it at all, but that's OK. The family's safe, that's what's important," said Cardona. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. A man walks past a fallen tree in Roslyn Heights, N.Y., Nov. 8. (Shannon Stapleton / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. People wait in line to buy gasoline during a snowstorm on Nov. 7 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The city is still experiencing long gas lines in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. Snow blows past debris and non-functioning streetlights on Nov. 7 in the Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. A man helps another person climb down from a destroyed section of boardwalk after they checked the storm's approach in the Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., on Nov. 7. The Rockaway Peninsula was especially hard hit by Superstorm Sandy and some evacuated ahead of the nor'easter. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Volunteers walk through falling snow while bringing food to residents of homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy on Nov. 7 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Snow falls as Eddie Saman clears out destroyed household belongings from his flood-damaged home on Nov. 7 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. He and fellow residents of the low-lying New Dorp area of Staten Island had been advised to evacuate ahead of the arrival of a storm that could potentially reflood areas devastated by Superstorm Sandy. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. U.S. Marines work to clean up debris on Nov. 7 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. U.S. Postal Service mail carrier Kenneth Henn delivers mail to a residence along Ocean Ave. at 15th Street in the evacuated section of Belmar, N.J., on Nov. 7. Machines pile sand along Ocean Ave. in the background. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  53. Linemen install a transformer on Nov. 7 to help restore power in the Staten Island community of Oakwood Beach in New York City. The linemen were from Chain Electric, a contract utility crew that drove in from Mississippi to help out. (Paul J. Richards / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. Dave Young, left, and Joe Callan, front right, help friend and fellow FDNY firefighter Kieran Burke, background, search for his wife's engagement ring, a family heirloom, in the ashes of Burke's home on Nov. 6 in Breezy Point, N.Y. (David Friedman / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. This sign and photo were nailed to one of several pilings that had held up a home in Head, N.J., until it was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. (Tom Mihalek / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. Heavy equipment operators work on a mountain of debris left by superstorm Sandy on Nov. 6 in Wall, N.J. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. Casey Brouder clears out her parents' home on Nov. 6 in Breezy Point, N.Y. (David Friedman / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  58. Members of the National Guard walk past a house damaged by Sandy as it is painted with an American flag in the New Dorp section of Staten Island, N.Y. on Nov. 6. Voting in the U.S. presidential election is the latest challenge for the hundreds of thousands of people in the New York-New Jersey area still affected by superstorm Sandy. (Seth Wenig / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  59. Poll workers Eva Prenga, right, Roxanne Blancero, center, and Carole Sevchuk try to start an optical scanner voting machine in the cold and dark at a polling station in a tent in the Midland Beach section of Staten Island, N.Y., on Nov. 6. The original polling site, a school, was damaged by superstorm Sandy. (Seth Wenig / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  60. Nikolas Policastro, 20, gives a kiss to one of his five puppies while Paige Shaw of the American Red Cross pets their mother "Bella" at a shelter in the Pinelands Regional Junior High School in Little Egg Harbor, N.J. on Nov. 6. Policastro, his four brothers and his parents sought refuge at the shelter after their home in Mystic Islands was swamped with over five feet of water from Sandy. The shelter was one of the few places that the family could house their extended family of five cats, five dogs and five thee-week-old puppies. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  61. A woman and her son scramble over a tree toppled by superstorm Sandy as she accompanies him to Public School 195, in the background, in the Manhattan Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn, on Nov. 5 in New York. Nov. 5 was the first day of public school for New York City students following the storm. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  62. MTA employees observe a pump removing seawater from the L train's tunnel, in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy in New York City on Nov. 5. The MTA says the G and L trains are now the top priority to reopen. The signal system on the G still needs repairs, and the L tunnel under the East River is still being pumped out. (MTA via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  63. People wait at a crowded subway stop as New York City tries to recover from the after effects of Hurricane Sandy in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Nov. 5. Portions of the city's transit system are still not operating due to flooding and damage from last week's hurricane causing severe crowding in areas. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  64. Lakota Serpica, 8, does her part to help organize donations for people affected by Sandy in Midland Beach in Staten Island, N.Y. on Nov. 5. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  65. Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. arrive in Staten Island, N.Y. on Nov. 5. (John Makely / NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  66. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, garbage lies piled on the street in the New Dorp neighborhood of Staten Island, N.Y., on Nov. 4. (Seth Wenig / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  67. A worker scrapes up mud and tiles from flood-damaged Saint Rose High School in Belmar, N.J., on Nov. 4. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  68. People salvage food from bags thrown out of a flooded store in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, N.Y., on Nov. 4. Victims of Sandy on the East Coast struggled against the cold early on Sunday amid fuel shortages and power outages, even as officials fretted about getting voters displaced by the storm to polling stations for Tuesday's presidential election. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  69. Soldiers from the National Guard help to unload supplies to set up a donation distribution center for victims of Sandy, at St. Camillus School in the Rockaways area of Queens, N.Y., on Nov. 4. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  70. Rockaway residents stay warm by a fire during near-freezing temperatures on Nov. 4 in the Rockaway area of Queens, N.Y. (Allison Joyce / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  71. Members of the Coney Island Cathedral of Deliverance worship in a neighboring community center on Nov. 4 in New York City, after their church and beach community were heavily damaged by Sandy. (Mark Lennihan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  72. New York City Marathon runners help clear debris from homes in a damaged neighborhood in the Staten Island borough of New York on Nov. 4. More than 1,000 people, many of whom had originally planned to run the marathon, crowded onto two Staten Island Ferry boats and headed to the stricken borough with relief supplies ranging from food to plastic bags. (Adrees Latif / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  73. Vincent Gearity removes water-damaged insulation in a crawl space below a home as the area continues to clean up after Hurricane Sandy in Toms River, N.J., Nov. 4. (Steve Nesius / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  74. A man takes a photograph of a home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., on Nov. 4. (Les Stone / American Red Cross via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  75. An American Red Cross meal truck and volunteers hand out free meals in Bellmore, N.Y. on Nov. 3 (Jason Colston / American Red Cross via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  76. A man walks near standing water and piles of sand swept onto a road from Superstorm Sandy at Rockaway Beach on Nov. 3, in the Queens borough of New York City. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  77. An NYPD helicopter air drops supplies in the New Dorp Beach section of Staten Island, N.Y. on Nov. 3. (Andrew Gombert / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  78. A man stands outside his house which was left flooded by hurricane Sandy in the Staten Island borough of New York, Nov. 3. (Adrees Latif / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  79. Volunteer Christina Wilson, left, helps clean up the kitchen of the Ventura family home, which was flooded during Superstorm Sandy, Nov. 3, in Staten Island, N.Y. A Superstorm Sandy relief fund is being created just for residents of the hard-hit New York City borough. Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Borough President James Molinaro say the fund will help residents displaced from their homes. (Julio Cortez / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  80. Howard Goldsmith consoles his wife, Rosanna Troia, while helping clean out Troia's mother's home in the Midland Beach neighborhood of Staten Island on Nov. 3. As clean-up efforts from Superstorm Sandy continue, colder weather and another storm predicted for next week are beginning to make some worried. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  81. Volunteers deliver blankets to residents affected by Hurricane Sandy in the Staten Island borough of New York, Nov. 3. (Keith Bedford / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  82. A member of the National Guard fills up a gas tank at the Armory on Nov. 3, in the Staten Island borough of New York City. New Jersey has begun rationing gas and the Department of Defense will be setting up mobile gas stations in New York City and Long Island. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  83. A man looks over the remains of a home in the Staten Island borough of New York, Nov. 3. (Keith Bedford / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  84. People clean the boardwalk of sand washed in by Superstorm Sandy in low-lying historic Coney Island on Nov. 3, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  85. Roxanne Boothe uses a flashlight as she walks through a hallway in Sam Burt Houses, where she is president of the tenants' association, on Nov. 3 in Coney Island, N.Y. The complex, which has been without power since Oct. 29, flooded during superstorm Sandy and a 90-year-old woman who had lived there for more than 40 years drowned on the first floor. "We have no heat, no water, no electricity, it’s dark in the whole building," said Boothe, who was frustrated that the Red Cross and FEMA assistance has not reached her neighborhood. (Bebeto Matthews / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  86. Collins Wimbish, left, and Margaret Girgaud cook food over a fire in a barrel in the Rockaways neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., Nov. 3. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  87. Jeff Kulikowski, left, sits on a bench on the boardwalk that was pushed off of its pilings by storm surge as the city tries to recover from the after effects of Hurricane Sandy in the Rockaways neighborhood of Queens, N.Y., Nov. 3. Large areas of the city are still without power or functioning stores to buy food and water. (Justin Lane / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image:
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    Above: Slideshow (87) Recovering after Sandy - Recovery
  2. Image: Repair and restoration work on the New York City subway system
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    Slideshow (176) Recovering after Sandy - Aftermath
  3. Image: A general view shows the skyline of lower Manhattan in darkness after a preventive power outage caused by giant storm Sandy in New York
    Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
    Slideshow (100) Recovering after Sandy - Hurricane

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