Cuomo: N.Y. superstorm damage could total $33B

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He didn’t like the answer.

“The Democrats ruined my business,” he said, referring to his shuttered clothing manufacturing firm.

Unlike other holdouts who got by with generators or gas stoves, the 63-year-old from Ukraine has been without power since Sandy brought 8 feet of water through his door and his neighbor’s deck into his yard. He tried to beat the cold Wednesday night by sleeping with his Yorkie, Kuzya, and cat, Channel.

“I had the dog right here,” he said, pointing to his left side, “and the cat on my chest. It was still too cold, but I cannot leave my house.”

Throughout Staten Island’s beach area, the storm had blanketed growing piles of debris with several inches of snow. By mid-morning, it was starting to melt, filling the streets with filthy sludge.

Airlines canceled hundreds of flights before and during the new storm. On Thursday, there were about 600 canceled, according to flight tracking service FlightAware, mostly in the New York area.

But roads in New Jersey and New York City were clear for the morning commute, and rail lines into New York were running smoothly so far, despite snow still coming down heavily in some areas.

The Queens-Midtown Tunnel, a vital vehicular route linking Manhattan to the city borough of Queens and the rest of Long Island, is reopening Friday after being swamped by Sandy, Cuomo said.

Under ordinary circumstances, a storm of this sort wouldn’t be a big deal. But large swaths of the landscape were still an open wound, with the electrical system highly fragile and many of Sandy’s victims still mucking out their homes and cars and shivering in the deepening cold. As the storm picked up Wednesday evening, lights started flickering off again.

The additional power outages could stall recovery efforts, even though utility companies had prepared, adding extra crews ahead of the nor’easter.

In New Jersey, there were about 400,000 power outages early Thursday; 150,000 of those were new. In New York City and Westchester, more than 70,000 customers were without power after the storm knocked out an additional 55,000 customers.

For Consolidated Edison, the extra outages were dealt with swiftly, so there were only about 3,000 additional customers without power from the total Wednesday of 67,000.

“I think we’re going to be able to power through. Our objective was to get power restored to everyone by the weekend and we’re still working with that goal,” said Alfonso Quiroz, a spokesman for the utility.

On Long Island, an area badly battered, there were 125,000 new outages, but about 80,000 were restored, making a total of about 300,000 customers without power. Long Island Power Authority spokesman Mark Gross said the utility was assessing new damage while working to restore outages.

Paul Farash, of West Babylon, N.Y., said he got power back after three days and didn’t lose it again.

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