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Transit systems struggling to restart

See submerged subway in Manhattan

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Story highlights

  • Amtrak has no estimate for when trains to and from Penn Station will be back up
  • Some New York City area airports set to offer limited service Wednesday
  • The New York City transit system sustains devastating damage
  • More than 19,500 flights have been canceled, a flight tracking site says

While Superstorm Sandy's punch has weakened, its wrath is still being felt.

Walloped by severe storm damage and flooding, the New York City area's extensive transportation system is struggling to get back online, while some area airports are resuming service on Wednesday. Other Northeast and mid-Atlantic airport and ground transportation systems were gradually resuming operations.

Here's what's happening in many of the affected areas:

Sandy's impact: State by state

Airline operations resuming

New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey would open Wednesday morning for limited service, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced Tuesday night. In preparation for JFK's opening, some airlines were to land aircraft at the airport late Tuesday night.

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New York City's LaGuardia International Airport is expected to remain closed through Wednesday because of significant damage.

N.J. transit operations center underwater

The Port Authority strongly advised travelers to contact their airlines before heading to any of the airports, even if they are open.

Delta Air Lines expects to resume limited domestic service to JFK International Wednesday afternoon.

Some of the Northeast's other airports are coming back to life. The Boston and Philadelphia airports and the three airports serving the Washington/Baltimore area are open and operational with some airlines already resuming limited flight service.

Southwest Airlines (including subsidiary AirTran Airways) is planning to resume normal operations by midday Wednesday across most of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, with the exception of the New York City area and Philadelphia airports, according to a statement. United previously announced that it hoped to resume service at the major Washington area airports and Cleveland on Tuesday evening, weather permitting.

Most carriers will allow affected passengers to change their itineraries without penalty. You can check advisories from the major airlines -- American Airlines, Delta, United, US Airways, AirTran, JetBlue and Southwest -- on their websites.

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More than 19,500 flights have been canceled as a result of the storm, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.com.

More than 7,000 Tuesday flights were canceled, FlightAware figures show. By 9 a.m. Wednesday, more than 2,800 Wednesday flights and more than 480 Thursday flights had been canceled.

Public transportation upheaval

New York City's critical public transit network was still crippled Wednesday, although bus service was operating "as close to a normal weekday schedule as possible," according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's website.

The MTA's commuter railroad service remained suspended Wednesday.

Seven subway tunnels under the East River flooded in the course of the storm, and two Long Island Rail Road tubes and two vehicular tunnels were inundated. One subway bridge, three subway yards and six bus facilities also were flooded, according to MTA's website.

Six of MTA's seven bridges were open Wednesday, the exception being the Cross Bay Bridge. The MTA said it's too early to estimate how long it will take to restore systemwide service.

In New Jersey, most NJ Transit services remained suspended Wednesday, with the exception of bus service in Camden County operating on a weekday schedule. Commuter bus and train service will be running Wednesday in Maryland, according to the Maryland Transit Administration.

Some service in Philadelphia was restored Tuesday, and Southeastern Pennsylvania's regional rail commuter lines were scheduled to resume service Wednesday morning, according to a SEPTA statement.

In Boston, most transit service resumed Tuesday, with some delays, according to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

In Washington, bus and rail service was restored on modified schedules. Normal operations were expected to resume Wednesday.

Amtrak will provide some modified service between Newark, New Jersey, and points south starting Wednesday. Trains between Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia, and between Boston and Portland, Maine, will also run.

However, trains directly to and from Penn Station in New York will be idle. Consult Amtrak's website for more details.

      Superstorm Sandy

    • A mother learns that her newborn is part of a hospital evacuation. Facebook posts from a member of the HMS Bounty turn ominous. A man worries about the wind and rain, but another force of nature hits home.
    • In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, a storm that ripped so much apart, people have come together to provide help and hope.

      Tourists become volunteer rescue workers. The connected provide power outlets and Wi-Fi. Performers lift spirits. Photographers preserve images. Doctors work overtime to keep hospitals running and patients alive.
    • Despite a mangled phone screen, volunteer Candice Osborne is able to quickly respond to the needs of Superstorm Sandy victims with the help of social media.

      It has been in operation only since October 30, but the Facebook page for "Giving back to those affected by Sandy" has a longer timeline than most Facebook members.
    • Steph Goralnick

      It's important to remember that even as the effect of Superstorm Sandy recedes from the news, there are still devastated areas that are without electricity, heat or hot water.
    • Americares volunteers help clean out flood damaged homes in Queens, New York during Operation "Muck-Out"

      Our AmeriCares "Operation Muck-Out" team immediately got to work, ripping out the interior walls and removing the insulation until only wooden beams were standing.
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      Ashley Murray became the first female president of Liberty Industrial Gases and Welding Supplies Inc. in Brooklyn. But now the family history Murray was charged with preserving is at risk of ending after Superstorm Sandy.
    • Jeannette Van Houten and other residents of Union Beach, New Jersey, have found family photos such as this one scattered after Superstorms Sandy. They want to return them to their rightful owners.

      The adage says "a picture is worth a thousand words," but when Leeann Lewandowski happened upon a photograph of her late mother on Facebook after her home was destroyed in Superstorm Sandy, she was speechless.