New storm bears down on Sandy-battered NYC, NJ

Associated Press Modified: November 7, 2012 at 11:31 pm •  Published: November 7, 2012

By evening, the storm had created a slushy mess in the streets in the metropolitan area. Eight-foot waves crashed on the beaches in New Jersey, which was lashed with a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow. The Long Island Rail Road, one of the nation's biggest commuter train systems, suspended all service again after struggling over the past several days to get up and running in Sandy's wake.

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 that by early evening, the nor'easter knocked out power to at least 11,000 customers, some of whom had just gotten it back. Tens of thousands more were expected to lose power overnight. The Long Island Power Authority said by evening that the number of customers in the dark had risen from 150,000 to more than 198,000.

Similarly, New Jersey utilities reported a few thousand more 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 New York's 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. New York's death toll increased to 41 on Tuesday 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.

At the peak of the outages from Sandy, more than 8.5 million customers lost power. Before the nor'easter hit, that number was down to 675,000, nearly all of them in New Jersey and New York.

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.

The nor'easter cut a feed to a substation briefly Wednesday night, knocking out power to 8,000 customers around East Brunswick, N.J.

On Wednesday, a state official said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo fired his emergency management director for diverting crews to remove a tree from his driveway during Superstorm Sandy.

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Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Jonathan Fahey, Tom Hays, David B. Caruso, Meghan Barr, Kiley Armstrong and Jennifer Peltz in New York; Jim Fitzgerald in White Plains, N.Y.; and Angela Delli Santi in Harvey Cedars, N.J. Eltman reported from Garden City, N.Y.