New York City and much of the US Northeast on Thursday dug out from a snowstorm that walloped a region still struggling to recover from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.
The unseasonably early winter storm dumped more than a foot (30 cm) of snow on parts of Connecticut and slapped the region with 50 mph (80 kph) winds, plunging another 3,00,000 homes and businesses back into darkness and creating a new commuting nightmare for a region whose transportation system was still under repairs.
The bitter cold, rain and powerful winds added to the misery of disaster victims whose homes were destroyed or power knocked out by the massive storm Sandy that smashed ashore on Oct 29 with epic flooding.
"God hates us!" the New York Post said in a front-page headline. Some 3 to 6 inches (about 8 to 15 cm) of snow fell on the city.
Sandy's death toll in the United States and Canada reached 121 after New York authorities on Wednesday reported another death linked to the storm, in the hard-hit coastal neighbourhood of the Rockaways, a barrier island facing the Atlantic Ocean. Some 300,000 customers from the Carolinas to New York lost power, though roughly 250,000 were restored before morning.
In all, some 6,62,000 remained in the dark after the back-to-back hurricane and nor'easter New York distributed space heaters and blankets to residents without heat or power and opened shelters to those in need of a warm place to sleep.
Evacuations and disruptions
New York and New Jersey evacuated the most vulnerable coastal areas ahead of the nor'easter storm.
New York City officials urged people whose homes have been flooded by Sandy to relocate to the homes of friends or family members or to go to city shelters.
Some were unwilling or unable to leave their homes. That included Christine Jones, a 73-year-old resident of coastal Far Rockaway in the borough of Queens who said she and many of her neighbors planned to stay in their cold, dark apartments. "They're scared they're going to be robbed," said Jones, whose evacuation options were limited since her 1999 Buick was flooded by Sandy's storm surge. "The teen-age boys ... they try to break in."
Commuter bus and train services had been disrupted by the storm, with the Long Island Rail Road briefly shutting down all operations to the city's eastern suburbs on Wednesday night.
All of the region's major airports experienced canceled flights and delays on Wednesday due to the storm, and gasoline remained in short supply, though four companies told the United States they intended to take advantage of a rare waiver allowing them to use foreign-flagged ships to transport oil products to the storm-hit region.
Across the region, people waited for a return of power and warmth.
Diane Reinhardt, a 64-year-old retired teacher, said she had traveled from her home in Brooklyn to the south shore of Long Island to check on her 93-year-old mother, whose home had been without power since Sandy hit more than a week ago. "They're just at wit's end," Reinhardt said of her mother and brother. "They feel like they're never going to get power back and it's never going to get warm again."