New storm bears down on Sandy-battered New York, New Jersey

By COLLEEN LONG and FRANK ELTMAN Published: November 8, 2012
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The city manager in Long Beach, N.Y., urged the roughly 21,000 people who ignored previous mandatory evacuation orders in the badly damaged barrier-island city to get out.

Forecasters said the nor'easter would bring moderate coastal flooding, with storm surges of about 3 feet possible Wednesday into Thursday — far less than the 8 to 14 feet Sandy hurled at the region. The storm's winds were expected to be well below Sandy's, which gusted to 90 mph.

By the afternoon, the storm was bringing rain and wet snow to New York, New Jersey and the Philadelphia area and creating a slushy mess in the streets. Eight-foot waves crashed on the beaches in New Jersey.

The early-afternoon high tide came and went without any reports of serious flooding in New York City, the mayor said. The next high tide was early Thursday. But forecasters said the moment of maximum flood danger may have passed.

Con Ed said the nor'easter knocked out power to at least 11,000 people, some of whom had just gotten it back. The Long Island Power Authority said by evening that the number of customers in the dark had risen from 150,000 to nearly 187,000.

Similarly, New Jersey utilities reported scattered outages, with some customers complaining that they had just gotten their electricity back in the past two day or two, only to lose it again.

On Staten Island, workers and residents on a washed-out block in Midland Beach continued to pull debris — old lawn chairs, stuffed animals, a basketball hoop — from their homes, even as the bad weather blew in.

Jane Murphy, a nurse, wondered, “How much worse can it get?” as she cleaned the inside of her flooded-out car.

Sandy killed more than 100 people in 10 states, with most of the victims in New York and New Jersey. On Tuesday, the death toll inched higher when a 78-year-old man died of a head injury, suffered when he fell down a wet, sandy stairwell in the dark, authorities said.

Long lines persisted at gas stations but were shorter than they were days ago. Ahead of the nor'easter, an estimated 270,000 homes and businesses in New York state and around 370,000 in New Jersey were still without electricity.

The storm could bring repairs to a standstill because of federal safety regulations that prohibit linemen from working in bucket trucks when wind gusts reach 40 mph.

Authorities warned also that trees and limbs broken or weakened by Sandy could fall and that even where repairs have been made, the electrical system is fragile, with some substations fed by only a single power line instead of several.