Historic Storm Pounds East Coast

In NYC Area, Death Toll Rises as Blackouts, Transit Problems Linger

At least 38 deaths in the tri-state area have been attributed to the superstorm

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Millions throughout the storm-ravaged tri-state awoke Wednesday to another day without power, mass transit and other basic services as the death toll from Sandy continued to rise throughout the region.

    The megastorm that swept through New York, New Jersey and Connecticut on Monday is being blamed for more than 30 lives, including people found under debris on Staten Island where rescue workers say some homes were flattened by a wall of water during the storm surge.

    Dramatic Aerial Tour of Sandy NJ Aftermath

    [NY] NJ Aerial Tour of Sandy Aftermath from National Guard
    Aviators of the 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion, New Jersey National Guard, look for displaced residents along the New Jersey coastline Oct. 30, in the aftermath of Sandy. (Published Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013)

    Officials warned it could be five days before the subway and commuter rail system is up and running, and a week before power is restored.

    In Manhattan, where a large swath of residents below 39th Street were in the dark for a second night, Con Ed said homes and businesses could count on a slightly shorter timeline of four days. In parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island, new transmission problems knocked power out to another 160,000 customers late Tuesday, potentially adding more delays to full restoration.

    The White House announced President Barack Obama would tour the devastation in New Jersey on Wednesday, after his chief of staff, Jack Lew, was told by Mayor Bloomberg that the city would "love to have him, but we've got things to do."

    Bloomberg said that he wasn't trying to "dis" the president and that his trip to New Jersey on Wednesday would represent the whole region.

    Kennedy and Newark airports were scheduled to reopen Wednesday morning after being shut down for two days due to the storm. LaGuardia Airport remains closed as crews work to remove water from the runways.

    Sandy roared onto land near Atlantic City, N.J., just as night fell Monday. After surveying the damage a day later, Gov. Chris Christie said the devastation on the Jersey shore was "unthinkable."

    Parts of amusement piers at Seaside Park washed into the Atlantic Ocean, railroad bridges were damaged, train tracks on the North Jersey Coast line were swept away, rail cars were carried by floodwaters onto the New Jersey Turnpike and homes were swept off their foundations in Ocean County.

    Search teams continued to rescue people stranded by floodwaters. Some residents hadn't evacuated the state's barrier islands; others were in places where the storm surge came fast and by surprise.

    National Guard members in Black Hawk helicopters searched Long Beach Island and the barrier island to its north for any people left behind, Ocean County spokesman Rich Peterson said.

    The National Guard also swooped in to rescue residents in Hoboken, where officials estimated that at least 20,000 people remained stranded Tuesday, trapped in their homes as the swelling waters of the Hudson River surrounded them. 

    NYPD's aviation unit rescued several people from their rooftops in Staten Island, where homes were also still surrounded by water.

    In Queens, at least 80 homes were destroyed in the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula, where firefighters battled an overnight fire that escalated to a six-alarm blaze. It wasn't clear if anyone was injured. Bloomberg said 23 serious fires erupted throughout the city overnight.  Police arrested nine people for looting in the Rockaways on Tuesday, officials said.

    NEW YORK CITY
    • Con Ed said it had about 230,000 customers out in Manhattan, 110,000 in Queens, 115,000 in Staten Island, 96,000 in Brooklyn and 40,000 in the Bronx.
    • At least 22 storm-related deaths were reported, including a teenage girl who was found near the shore on Staten Island. A 29-year old man in Flushing, Queens was killed in bed when a tree crashed into his home and a woman in South Richmond Hill, Queens died after coming into contact with wires in a flooded area. A man in his 50s was also found dead in a flooded lower Manhattan basement, authorities said.
    • Limited bus service resumed Tuesday, with fares waived. Yellow cabs will be able to pick up multiple passengers and livery cabs will be up to pick up curbside fares, Bloomberg said.  Riders in both instances should negotiate fares with the driver ahead of time, the mayor said.
    • The Staten Island Ferry remained closed.
    • New York City schools were closed for a third day Wednesday.
    • The New York Stock Exchange said it would resume trading on Wednesday after two days of halted business.
    • Bellevue Hospital was running on backup power and Coney Island Hospital had to evacuate.
    • The East River bridges reopened just before 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, along with the George Washington, Goethals, and Bayonne bridges and the Outerbridge Crossing.
    • The Verrazano, RFK, Throgs Neck, Whitestone and Marine Parkway bridges have also opened.
    • The Lincoln Tunnel is open but the Holland Tunnel, Queens Midtown Tunnel and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel are closed until further notice.
    • For the first time in its 39 years, New York City's Halloween parade was canceled.
    • City parks are closed.
    • PATH Train service remains suspended indefinitely, the Port Authority said.

    LONG ISLAND

    • Long Island Power Authority reported more than 860,000 customers without power.
    • At least two storm-related deaths have been reported. In Suffolk County, a 39-year-old man was struck by falling tree and in Nassau County, a 84-year-old man died after being struck by a falling tree.
    • Residents in Long Beach and Mill Neck in Nassau County were told not to drink tap water due to potential contamination.
    NEW JERSEY
    • Some 2.1 million customers were without power and 5,500 residents were in shelters.
    • The storm killed at least six people, including a man whose body was pulled from the Hackensack River Tuesday and a 61-year-old Princeton man killed Monday night by a tree that fell on him as he cleared debris from his driveway.
    • Authorities in Morris County said two people died after a tree fell on their car Monday evening in Mendham Township.
    • The Garden State Parkway was reopened to traffic Tuesday, but more than 200 other state roads remained closed, many of them inaccessible due to fallen trees and downed power wires.
    • Many towns across the state rescheduled Halloween for the weekend.
    • Tolls resumed on the northbound Garden State Parkway -- from Cape May to the Driscoll Bridge -- and on the full length of the westbound Atlantic City Expressway.
    • All New Jersey Transit lines remain suspended. PATH Train service is suspended indefinitely, the Port Authority said.

    CONNECTICUT

    • About 482,000 customers were without power Wednesday.
    • A firefighter in Easton died of cardiac arrest while responding to an emergency call after a tree landed on his vehicle.
    • The body of a missing 34-year-old man was recovered in Milford. Authorities say he was last seen swimming in the heavy surf after jumping from a pier at about 8 p.m. Monday.
    • A 90-year old Mansfield woman was killed and two family members were seriously injured when a tree fell on them Monday.
    • CL&P said it is still assessing the extent of the damage and what needs to be done to make repairs, and United Illuminating says it will know better on Thursday when it can restore power.
    • The state's storm site can be found here.