Hurricane Sandy's final tab: $65B, 159 dead, 100 million gallons of raw sewage

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,New Jersey,Jersey Shore,New York,Energy and Environment

A presidential commission on Monday unveiled the final tab from last October's killer Hurricane Sandy that slammed New Jersey and New York: $65 billion in damages, 159 deaths, 650,000 homes damaged and a disgusting 100 million gallons of raw sewage dumped into Long Island's Hewlett Bay.

The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force's 200-page report blamed global warming in part for the devastating storm that also crashed into the presidential election and other states on the East Coast, and it warned that continued climate change is likely to lead to even worse storms.

"While scientific evidence does not yet tell us definitively whether storms like Sandy are growing more common, evidence indicates climate change is already altering environmental conditions in a way that suggests there may be changes in the frequency, intensity, duration, and timing of future extreme meteorological events, which may lead to unprecedented extreme weather events," said the report issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

It provided 69 recommendations to communities and governments on how to prepare for the next disaster, such as working to protect the nation's electric and fuel grids and moving faster to help damaged businesses get up and running.

It also gave credit to those who helped those who suffered in the disaster, though there was no mention of religious groups that arrived to provide temporary housing and shelter to Sandy's victims. Those organizations and their supporters in Congress, including New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, have been urging the administration to help churches, mosques and synagogues damaged in Sandy, but the president's team has turned a deaf ear.

But it's the reports damage report that is stunning. In a section titled "Hurricane Sandy by the Numbers," the administration reveals:

» Economic loss was $65 billion.

» 2 million working days lost.

» $58 million in damages to the recreational fishing sector.

» 72 killed by the storm, another 87 indirectly by the storm.

» 85 million customers lost power.

» 48,000 trees removed to restore power.

» 650,000 homes damaged or destroyed.

» 6,477 storm survivors in shelters at the peak of the disaster.

» 8 commuter tunnels flooded.

» 25 percent of cellular phone sites out of service in 10 states.

» Sandy covered 1.8 million square miles.

» Peak wave height in Monmouth County, N.J. reached over 32 feet.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.