Snow, High Winds Slam Storm-Ravaged East Coast

8:36 PM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
Snow falls in New York City on November 7, 2012.
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By Gary Strauss, Doyle Rice, Kevin McCoy and Doug Stanglin

Still navigating the harrowing destruction of Superstorm Sandy, much of the Northeast was hunkering down for nor'easter barreling up the East coast, ushering in snow, sleet, rain, strong winds and cold temperatures through Thursday.

National Weather Service forecasters say the nor'easter doesn't have the destructive power of Sandy - which killed more than 110 U.S. citizens, cut power to 8.5 million and flooded major parts of the New York metropolitan area and New Jersey coast. But it's still dangerous, threatening potential storm surges to coastal areas recovering from Sandy's flooding onslaught.

Officials say the new storm could bring more power outages to the city - about 350,000 remain without power, including the New Castle home of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo .

New York and New Jersey airport had already canceled more than 1,700 flights in and out of through Thursday, causing a ripple of travel disruptions around the country.

Long Beach, N.Y., urged about 21,000 people who ignored previous mandatory evacuation orders in the badly damaged barrier-island city to get out. Strong wind gusts prompted the halt of construction work in New York City - which also closed parks and playgrounds because of the threat to falling trees.

"We're petrified," said James Alexander, a resident of the hard-hit Rockaways section of New York City borough Queens.
"It's like a sequel to a horror movie."

New York City drivers were aadvised to stay off the roads by early Wednesday evening, when strong bands of heavy wet snow buffeted the area. The National Weather Service predicted the nor'easter would dump up to four inches in the city before ending early Thursday.

Up to 5.5 inches of snow blanketed parts of New York, New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and Connecticut by Wednesday night. National Weather Channel meteorologist Jon Erdman said several more inches could fall in the Poconos, Catskills and western Connecticut.

 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged residents of flood-prone neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island to evacuate Wednesday night. Senior citizens from four chronic care facilities in the Rockaways, one of the areas hardest hit by Sandy, were also evacuated.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which had set up assistance centers in New York and New Jersey last week, closed some facilities, including one still-reeling Staten Island. Coney Island and the Rockaways to protect FEMA and Red Cross workers.

In New Jersey, where recovery workers were building up badly eroded beach dunes, a fresh round of evacuations was ordered for some coastal communities.

"I am waiting for the locusts and pestilence next," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said. "We may take a setback in the next 24 hours."

State streams, rivers and reservoirs are at or below normal levels, so no fresh inland flooding is projected. But Christie warned heavy, wet snow inland could bring down or damage electrical lines and reverse some of the power restored to the 2.76 million who lost electricity last week. About 370,000 state residents remain without power.

"We're doing what we need to do to prepare for this, just like we did for Hurricane Sandy," said Christie. "We're prepared."

Road crews and utility workers in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island were preparing for snow, power damage
and potential flooding. Delaware Transportation officials are focusing on potential flooding near vacation community Bethany Beach.

The Salvation Army said warm clothing and shelter were a growing need for displaced homeowners -- in addition to food and water -- but warned it may be forced to suspend its mobile feeding kitchens until the storm clears.

In Bay Head, N.J., bulldozers hastily pushed piles of sand back into where well-rooted dune systems once stood, the Associated Press reported.

"We no longer have a dune system; there are just piles of sand back on the beach," said Councilwoman D'Arcy Rohan Green. "Hopefully, they will hold."

Nor'easters typically bring strong northeasterly winds over the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast as they move north along the Atlantic Coast.As with Sandy, "it's not the rain but the wind and coastal flooding that could be a problem," said Adrienne Leptich, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "We really don't need this right now."

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