Last night, the news from the New York metro area sounded apocalyptic: Water flooding the subways, cranes falling, a blakcout over lower Manhattan, and nuclear power plants forced to partially shut down. Today, as the flood waters recede and the rain begins to lighten, people are venturing outside and beginning to evaluate the damage. Hurricane Sandy was devastating by any measure, but beleaguered New Yorkers can take comfort: It could have been worse. Here's a look at some of the world's most devastating storms this year, often in places far less equipped to handle severe weather.
Above, a man and his family sit in front of their flooded home in Adagama town in Ughelli in the oil rich Niger delta region of Nigeria, on Oct. 13. Recent floods in the region, which have been the worst in decades, killed over 140 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. The disaster could also yet spark a food crisis.
A man pulls a pig along a flooded street in Port au Prince, Haiti, on Oct. 25. The same storm that struck fear into Manhattan hit the unlucky country of Haiti early last week. As many people are still living in tent cities and temporary housing after the 2010 earthquake, the country was ill-equipped to handle any kind of severe weather. At least 52 people have died in Haiti due to heavy rains caused by Hurricane Sandy, and health officials fear a cholera outbreak as the storm waters recede.
EPA/JEAN JACQUES AGUSTIN
A man walks by a collapsed bridge in a devastated area of Beijing on on July 27, after the worst rainstorms in six decades pounded the capital city on July 21, leaving the metropolis flooded and tens of thousands of people stranded in surging waters. At least 77 people were killed by the storms.
Above, residents try to cross through floodwaters as others wait on the roofs of their houses on Aug. 7 in Manila, Philippines. According to the Office of Civil Defense, the floods left at least 66 people dead and affected up to 2.68 million people in Manila and surrounding provinces, with more than 440,000 fleeing to evacuation centers.
Above, a man stands near his flooded house in the southern Russian town of Krymsk on July 8. The death toll from severe flash floods in Russia's southern Krasnodar region reached over 170 people, prompting Russian President Vladimir Putin to order a probe into the government's tardy warnings and emergency response.
Villagers paddle a boat near submerged houses in a village near Kaziranga National Park in northeastern India on Sept. 27. More than 2 million people were forced from their homes, a problem that was exacerbated by continued rains, which hampered a military air operation to help flood victims. Over 100 people were killed.
The river Ouse bursts its banks, causing severe flooding in York, England on Sept. 27. Britain's most severe September storms for 30 years dropped nearly twice the average monthly rainfall on the region, flooding hundreds of homes and businesses in the historic city of York and causing chaos in much of northern England.
A Thai street food vendor pushes his cart through a flooded street in Bangkok on Sept. 25. Heavy rains hit the Thai capital for weeks on end, raising fears of a repeat of last year's crippling floods, which killed more than 800 people.
An aerial view shows flooding in North Wagga Wagga during a helicopter tour by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard as she reviewed the disaster zone on March 7. Thousands of people fled their homes and at least two died after 12 inches of rain fell in just 24 hours.
ANDREW MEARES/AFP/Getty Images
A man swims through floodwater past a partially submerged house at a village outside Pathein, in the Irrawaddy delta region of Myanmar. Recent heavy monsoon rains have left swathes of farmland flooded in many parts of the country. More than 68,000 people fled Myanamar in the wake of the storm.
ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images