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Powerful Storm Blankets New York Region in Snow (needs more coverage!)

New York Times' Storm Aftermath Continuing Coverage, 9:29pm November 7

A powerful northeaster pushing through the New York area has blanketed the region with a thick layer of snow that is more than seven inches deep in some places.

As of Wednesday evening, parts of Westchester County had received five to seven inches of snow, the National Weather Service said in a statement. The service said that close to three inches had fallen in Central Park in New York City.

Strong winds have also lashed the region, knocking down power lines and cutting electricity to areas where it had only recently been restored in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The weather service clocked gusts of 40 to 50 miles an hour in coastal regions of New York City and Long Island.

Read the full article at http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/05/storm-aftermath-live-updates-5/#storm-blankets-new-york-region-in-snow

More:

6:05 P.M. New Storm Knocks Out Power to 11,000 Con Ed Customers

Just when Consolidated Edison’s customers thought it was safe to put away the flashlights, Athena blew into town.

The northeaster called Athena (by the Weather Channel) started tearing down power lines on Wednesday faster than an army of repair crews could put them back up. By about 5 p.m., the storm had knocked out electricity to about 11,000 Con Edison customers in New York City and Westchester County, at least a few of whom had just gotten it back after Hurricane Sandy tore through the region last week.

Between the storms, the number of Con Ed customers who have lost power in the last 10 days passed the one million mark, or nearly one-third of the company’s 3.3 million customers, said John Miksad, senior vice president for electric operations at Con Edison.

By nightfall, the new storm’s winds and blowing snow were threatening to drive the crews off the jobs. “At some point,” Mr. Miksad said, “when the winds get too severe, we’ll be pulling back, either just working on the ground or pulling back entirely and hunkering down until we can get back out there.”

All told, about 75,000 Con Edison customers had no power on Wednesday evening, up from about 64,000 earlier in the day, he said.

He added that the company planned to have Russian translators accompany some workers in neighborhoods like Brighton Beach that were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy’s floodwaters to explain to customers that they must repair their electrical equipment before their power can be restored.

 

Picture says it all:

from:

3:53 P.M. Federal Disaster Centers Close for Storm

Excerpt:

The closings of the FEMA centers left some residents fuming. “They didn’t want to get their precious van wet,” a church volunteer in Coney Island told the news site DNAInfo, which reported the closings on Wednesday morning.

Cuomo Fires Emergency Office Chief for Misusing Workers in Hurricane
By Danny Hakim, New York Times, November 7/8, 2012

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has dismissed his chief of emergency management after learning that he deployed government workers to clear a tree at his Long Island home during Hurricane Sandy, an administration official said Wednesday.

The aide, Steven Kuhr, was the director of the State Office of Emergency Management. The office coordinates the state response to disasters and is New York’s counterpart to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Mr. Kuhr was appointed little more than a year ago; he had run an emergency management consulting firm called the Strategic Emergency Group. Before that, he spent two decades working for New York City in a variety of jobs [....]

During the storm, Mr. Kuhr, who lives in Suffolk County, was working in Albany. At a time when work crews were in high demand, he is believed to have told the Suffolk County Office of Emergency Management to clear a tree from his driveway, an administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the dismissal had not yet been made public.

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, recently found out what had happened and dismissed Mr. Kuhr, [....]

Mr. Cuomo has expressed increasing frustration that so many New Yorkers are still without power — about 240,000, according to the latest report from the federal Energy Department — and has repeatedly threatened the public utilities that have been scrambling to restore service, even warning that they could lose their operating certificates.

The numbers are down from the more than two million New Yorkers who were without power immediately after the storm, but that has been little comfort to people, many of them on Long Island and in Westchester County, who are still in the dark as temperatures drop, the governor has acknowledged.

“Power continues to be a struggle,” Mr. Cuomo said Tuesday. “Until every family has their power back, we’re going to continue to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to make that happen.” [....]

The firing is particularly unusual because it comes in the middle of the crisis, when parts of the state are still reeling from hurricane damage and some communities are experiencing further damage from a northeaster that arrived in the region on Wednesday.

Mr. Kuhr, however, was not the senior aide leading the recovery efforts. That role is being filled by Howard Glaser, the state’s operations director and one of Mr. Cuomo’s most trusted aides, who has frequently appeared by his side in news conferences.[....]

Note in the above: 240,000 New York customers still without power BEFORE tonight's storm; that's without the New Jersey numbers.

By Wednesday afternoon, the winds had caused more than 100,000 new power outages in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the U.S. Energy Department stated. That brought the total number to 715,000, most of those remaining from Superstorm Sandy, which made landfall in New Jersey on Oct. 29.

From

Nor'easter snow layers Sandy destruction; more evacuations, more power outages
By Miguel Llanos, NBC News, Updated at 11:21 p.m. ET

I am sure from seeing what this storm did here in the Bronx after it got dark that there are a ton more outages than what happened by the afternoon!

The snow is about as wet and heavy as I have ever seen snow get, the kind that sticks to wires and branches and piles up high on them and doesn't let go, and I'm originally from Wisconsin. And many inches came down in a remarkably short time. And the winds got worse, gusting more, after the heavy snow had piled up on everything.

My bold = where government needs step in NOW, mho; it's crippling both business and personal lives:

Attention Turns to the Distribution Network for Gasoline as Shortages Persist

By Winnir Hu, New York Times, November 7/8, 2012

Peter Lanci spent two days trying to find gasoline in Nassau County, on Long Island, driving by nine closed gas stations and finding only one that was open — with about 150 cars waiting in line.

But on Wednesday, Mr. Lanci, an accountant, decided to try his luck 25 miles away in neighboring Suffolk County. He was able to fill up his tank, and two gas containers, all in just 25 minutes.

Even as the gas shortage gripping the New York region has eased, relief has not come equally to everyone. Drivers like Mr. Lanci have found to their frustration that shuttered pumps and long lines persist in New York City and Nassau County, while they have dwindled in much of New Jersey, Suffolk and New York north of the city.

“This is hitting us really hard because we have to drive the kids back and forth to school, so we need gas,” Mr. Lanci said.

Industry experts offered one explanation for this story of gasoline’s haves and have-nots. A critical factor, they said, is where an area’s supply normally comes from. The gasoline distribution system is a sprawling, decentralized network made up of gas stations that have different contracts with distributors to transport gasoline from regional terminals. Those terminals, in turn, receive and store gas deposited by barges and tankers.

Many New York City gas stations rely on distribution terminals in Brooklyn and Queens that were damaged by the storm, or lost power, and have not come back fully, the experts said. Similarly, a major fuel terminal for Nassau County located in Inwood, N.Y., has been operating at reduced capacity.

“It’s a lot of logistics behind the scenes that will determine why the shortage is better in some areas than in others,” said Patrick DeHaan, who works for Gasbuddy.com, which has been tracking which stations have fuel in the New York region. By Wednesday, 75 percent of New York City’s gas stations were still without gas, compared with a regional average of 24 percent, according to the site.

Mr. DeHaan added that such logistical problems had been made worse by panic buying among drivers who saw the lines and felt the need to stock up themselves. Drivers, he said, have shown “a sudden, insatiable demand for gasoline. That’s placing the system under enormous stress.”

Michael Green, a spokesman for AAA, pointed out that many gas stations initially could not sell gas because the power failure had cut off their pumps. But as power has been restored to more stations, he said, the continuing gas problems have focused attention on the gas distribution network [....]

And whoever in government has been handling it so far has passed on lies about the gas situation getting back to normal by now. Panic buying will get worse, not better, because they've been lying! But they've been lying that it is the main problem until now, it's not, I've seen it with my own eyes--most gas stations within a 20 mile radius of me have been closed, it's like 1 in 5 in any area randomly get a delivery, open for a few hours, and close again. Then maybe 8 hours later another will get a delivery. And the police know pretty immediately when and where the delivery will be, they are there right after the truck! People are following the trucks and tweeting and putting on GasBuddy where the gas is this time, it's the only way to get gas.

Read a day or two ago that FedEx flew in their own gas so they could function in this town! And have their trucks get gassed up at the Fed Ex airport terminal.

FEMA only starting set up in some areas now:

 
Seattle Post Intelligencer-3 hours ago
POMONA, N.Y. (AP) — A federal emergency response team has arrived in suburban Rockland County. County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef ...
 

FEMA teams set up operations across LI

Newsday-3 hours ago
Nine days after Sandy hit, FEMA is up and running in Islip -- almost. ... FEMA disaster-recovery teams are charged with providing homeowners ...

More damage reports:

[....] In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie warned that the northeaster could leave many people in the dark again, only a few days after their power had been restored. “I can see us actually moving backwards,” he said in a news conference on Long Beach Island, which suffered some of the heaviest damage in the storm last week. The barrier island had reopened to residents, but as the northeaster closed in, the governor said he was cutting off access again.

The storm, which covered cars and trees in the region in a coat of white, brought down power lines faster than repair crews could keep up, and fierce winds and blowing snow threatened to drive the crews off the job. By about 5 p.m., the northeaster had knocked out electricity to roughly 13,000 Consolidated Edison customers. All told, about 77,000 Con Edison customers had no power on Wednesday evening, up from about 64,000 earlier in the day, according to the company’s Web site.

The numbers also went up on Long Island. The Long Island Power Authority began the day saying that 184,000 customers still lacked power. By day’s end, the total was 199,000.

About 151,000 Public Service Electric and Gas customers in New Jersey had no power before the new storm arrived. The company said the storm caused an additional 90,000 power failures statewide. By late Wednesday, Jersey Central Power and Light was reporting more than 219,000 customers without electricity. [....]

from

Northeaster Adds to Misery, Dumping Rain and Snow
By James Barron, New York Times, November 7/8, 2012

God. Damn. It.

After Irene and now Sandy, it seems climate change may impact the congested northeast in very bad ways, with it's often outdated, aging infrastructure, long coastline, and numerous rivers.  One meteorologist mentioned that the increasing disappearance of sea ice around Greenland created an unusual weather pattern that steered the hurricane westward to NY/NJ, when normally it would have turned east. 

Yet, a city that has takers for $100 million dollar apartments should be able to better protect it's citizens.

Caption: Dix Hills, Long Island, was covered in snow after Wednesday’s northeaster.

Credit: Barton Silverman/The New York Times

Source: Storm Aftermath: Continuing Coverage By The New York Times

Bloomberg Imposes Odd-Even Gas Rationing
&
Gas Rationing Reportedly to Be Imposed on Long Island

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/05/storm-aftermath-live-update...

Saw the press conference, and saw him say the poor gas availability may last several weeks

Brooklyn doctor and family do heroic job in Coney hell  
They've embedded themselves with freezing seniors

By Simone Weichselbaum, New York Daily News, November 7, 2012:

24 stories with 6,000  residents with no elevator, no electricty, no heat, no water; excerpt:

[....] Dr. Victoria Katz, who runs the N.Y. Arthritis Clinic on E. 14th St. in Midwood, set up a satellite office inside the Warbasse Houses, a sprawling, mixed-income housing development on Neptune Ave. with a population of about 6,000 who are stuck in the cold.

“I feel so sorry. So many people don’t know what is happening,” said Victoria Katz said. “People don’t understand why they have to live like this.”

The Katz children — 30-year-old Jacob, who is a fourth-year medical student at the American University of Antigua, and 34-year-old Iya, who is a first-year medical student at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine — rotate shifts climbing up and down 24-story buildings checking on residents.

The trio has treated more than a hundred people since Sandy hit last Monday.

“Although there are a lot of people we’ve helped, a lot more people need help,” said Jacob Katz, who volunteered himself and his family last week after learning about Warbasse’s woes from a Facebook post detailing how the five-building complex with 2,580 apartments had no electricity, working elevators, heat or hot water.

Sandy's winds pushed the Atlantic Ocean’s waters a half-mile north, flooding Warbasse’s basement electrical systems, which need to be rebuilt.

“Once the transformers got hit with salt water, they were done,” said Warbasse’s manger, Thomas Auletti [....]

Many FEMA Centers Remain Closed as Frustrated Locals Search for Aid
By Andrea Swalec, Tuan Nguyen, Mathew Katz, DNAInfo, November 8, 2012

NEW YORK CITY — Residents in the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy came in droves Thursday morning seeking aid from federal authorities — only to find centers they were told would be open inexplicably shuttered, following a nor'easter that slammed the city with snow and arctic winds the night before.

More than a dozen cars arrived at the FEMA center in Roxbury in the Rockaways Thursday morning to discover that the white tent set up to provide aid to locals was empty, despite signs indicating that it would be open.

Residents said FEMA representatives told them by phone that the center would open at 8:30 a.m. [....]

FEMA spokesman Carter Langston said Thursday afternoon that the Roxbury location, which serves the Breezy Point community destroyed by Sandy, would not reopen until Friday.

"There was a matter of coordination," he said, adding he couldn't speak for the other centers. "Through a matter of coordination, it remains closed."

Roxbury resident Bob Jahrnes, 69, a retired NYPD sergeant, stopped by the closed center to try to get a loan to cover insurance deductibles for his damaged home and car. He was similarly angry that no one was there to help him.

"Nobody's got any answers," he said. "That's the most frustrating thing."

FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Centers closed around the city on Wednesday in advance of the coming nor’easter, leaving many of the storm’s worst-hit with nowhere to go when they needed housing or help with destroyed possessions.

By Thursday morning, many FEMA centers had yet to reopen.

Residents looking to speak with representatives at a FEMA tent located at Beach 112th Street and Beach Channel Drive in Rockaway Park also found no one who could help them [....]
 

It's never too late to ruin a good first impression. Hope they get their shit together.

Here's a competent government story. Kudos due to the MTA, which happens to be a strange sort of entity, a public benefit corporation:

New York Subway Repairs Border ‘on the Edge of Magic’
By Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times, November 8, 2012

[....] It has been less than two weeks since the most devastating storm in the New York City subway system’s 108-year history. Seven tunnels beneath the East River flooded. Entire platforms were submerged. Underground equipment, some of it decades old, was destroyed.

The damage was the worst that the system had ever seen. And yet, the subways have come back — quicker than almost anyone could have imagined.

Less than three days after the storm hit, partial subway service was restored. Most major lines were back within a week. Repairs came so quickly in some cases that the authority was ready before Consolidated Edison had restored power.

“Some of what they’re doing borders on the edge of magic,” said Gene Russianoff, the staff lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign, a rider advocacy group that is frequently critical of the authority.

Across the region’s transportation network, scars from Hurricane Sandy are still keenly visible. PATH service remains out between Hoboken and New York. New Jersey Transit’s Midtown Direct service is not running at all. At the Port Authority Bus Terminal, commuters endure chaos and winding lines that have lasted for hours.

But nearly everything under the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s auspices, from its commuter railroads to its bridges and tunnels, is running close to normal. Each restoration presented its own challenge, but none more daunting than the task of resurrecting the subways [....]

The sole reason for the existence of the Straphangers Campaign is to bitch about the MTA and ride on their ass, so for them to say what they did is miraculous, it truly must be. NYC Subways may be ugly, dirty, old and creaky compared to other cities, but I myself find it miraculous what they do each and every day; same thing for their bridges and tunnels (though those have gotten extremely expensive, toll-wise.)

No visiting The Lady and Ellis Island for the foreseeable future due to damage:

Storm Leaves Lady Liberty and Ellis Island Cut Off From Visitors
By Patrick McGeehan, New York Times, November 8, 2012

Hurricane Sandy did no real harm to the Statue of Liberty but caused “significant damage” to the infrastructure of Liberty Island and Ellis Island, which will leave them closed to tourists indefinitely, a spokesman for the National Park Service said on Thursday.

Most notably, the dock at Liberty Island that receives the large ferries filled with tourists arriving from Battery Park in Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey may need to be rebuilt. Statue Cruises, the company that operates the ferries, said it had stopped selling tickets to visit the islands and did not know when its service would resume.

The storm hit just a day after the interior of the statue was reopened after a yearlong renovation. On Oct. 28, Ken Salazar, the secretary of the interior, visited the statue as the storm was roaring up the East Coast. The Park Service had hoped to allow tourists into the statue again by Nov. 1, but the damage to the islands was much more severe than expected.

Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the “incident management team” that the Park Service has assembled in New York City, said the statue, its pedestal and its base received “little or no damage.” But, he added, none of the mechanical systems, including electricity, on Liberty Island were functioning after the basement of the building that houses a cafe and gift shop flooded.

The basement of the museum building on Ellis Island filled with several feet or water, which ruined mechanical equipment but did not harm any of the museum’s archives or artifacts, Mr. Litterst said.

The security screening apparatus housed in a large tent on the Battery Park waterfront was also “significantly damaged,” he said. A water line on the side of the tent indicated the tide had risen to about the level of the conveyor belts on the magnetometers inside the tent.

Tourists with tickets to visit the statue and Ellis Island have been showing up there only to be disappointed to find that the islands are closed off [....]

I'd really be surprised if the National Park Service drags their feet on repairs because of budget problems or anything else, I'm under the impression from past reading that these attractions more than pay for themselves, and that's talking monetary income, not intangibles.

2:26 P.M. Obama Coming to New York City on Thursday

New York Times/City Room/Storm Aftermath Continuing Coverage

President Obama is coming to New York City on Thursday to see the damage from Hurricane Sandy firsthand, a White House official said this afternoon.

The president will “view storm damage, talk with citizens who are recovering from the storm and thank first responders who put their lives at risk to protect their communities,” the official said.

Where Hurricane Sandy Still Hurts (Public housing without electricity, heat and water)
New York Times Editorial, November 8/9, 2012

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration estimated that Sandy had initially left more than 800,000 city customers without power, including many people in public housing. Many have since had their power and heat restored. Yet Steven Banks of the Legal Aid Society estimated on Thursday that more than 15,000 units of public housing closest to the city’s shoreline — mostly in the Rockaways, Coney Island and Red Hook — were still without heat and hot water or electricity.

“We’re into the second week of this,” he said, “and there is no real urgency to get it fixed. ...No can-do New York attitude here.”

More than 400 buildings run by the New York City Housing Authority were affected by the storm. Mr. Bloomberg said Thursday that 70 percent of these buildings now have heat and hot water and 82 percent have electricity. But that leaves 120 buildings and the people who live in them without heat or hot water and 72 buildings and their residents without electricity.

Whatever the precise numbers, by any accounting, life for these people is grim. On Wednesday afternoon, in the Far Rockaways, hundreds lined up for as much as three hours in the cold to get hot food promised by a makeshift delegation of volunteers. The multiple government agencies promising help were nowhere to be seen.

In a public housing building in Red Hook, residents received official notices warning that “Since Hurricane Sandy, the electricity and water will be out indefinitely.” Meanwhile, Mr. Bloomberg has been urging older residents and other vulnerable citizens to “go someplace warm,” like shelters.

On Thursday, Mr. Bloomberg expressed the hope that private contractors would be able to restore electricity by the weekend and heat “sometime early next week” to affected buildings. This is hardly comforting news to people huddled in blankets as temperatures drop. There seems to be no clear answer for why it has taken so long to send out temporary generators and boilers to help these residents.

City Hall leaders argue that restoring power is a process that is more complicated than simply bringing in generators, especially in buildings where electrical systems have been badly compromised. They promise to dispatch additional workers to public housing and a phased-in schedule to bring more power and heat each day to devastated areas like the Rockaways. To us, that sounds late and insufficient. Mr. Bloomberg needs to redouble his efforts to help those most in need.

I listened to part of Bloomberg's press conference today and it seems very much that he was responding to it, making excuses, saying what he was doing now, i.e., the Times yelling at him on behalf of those without much power really works.

Thanks for keeping this thread updated.  It is an important story and one that is getting less and less coverage locally.

 

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