Fallen tree on the National Mall (Chris Moody/Yahoo! News)WASHINGTON—Mayor Vincent C. Gray spent Tuesday morning riding through the streets here with the U.S. National Guard in a Humvee caravan to assess the damage left by the superstorm.
He probably could have done it in a Prius.
By Tuesday afternoon, the city's public transportation network was back up and running. The communal Bikeshare program was operational. Area schools plan to reopen on Wednesday after two days of closures, and federal government workers are expected to return to work.
The storm's impact on the nation's capital, Gray said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon, "thankfully turned out a whole lot better" than anticipated.
According to the mayor's assessment, the damage was limited. Just two traffic lights failed to operate, and the local power company, Pepco, reported just 2,000 without power. While 236 trees had fallen, crews were already cleaning them up by Tuesday morning.
In neighborhoods throughout the district, from Glover Park in the northwest to the city's hip Atlas District along H Street in the northeast, few if any remnants of the storm remained. The streets were filled with people who braved a misting rain. Restaurants were open and hundreds of shoppers in Georgetown appeared happy to have the day off work. Joggers were plentiful, and local residents were on their lawns raking leaves as though it were just another autumn afternoon.
Even a pumpkin patch near the National Cathedral, where rows of gourds were left out in a field the night of the storm, appeared untouched and ready for Halloween.
"Before Hurricane Sandy struck," Gray said, "I said the district government was ready to meet this challenge—and over the last few days, we proved that."