More than 2.5million families still without power in New York and New Jersey will become effectively homeless as a powerful nor’easter winter storm brings frigid weather to the region, New York’s governor warned.
Temperatures dipped into the 30s on Sunday and lows are expected to drop into the 20s on Monday and Tuesday — compounding the misery of those affected by Superstorm Sandy.
‘I spoke with many people who were worried and frustrated and cold,’ New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Saturday. ‘There is no power there and temperatures are dropping. Even those who have generators are having a hard time getting fuel.’
‘People are in homes that are uninhabitable,’ New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said alongside Bloomberg at a news conference. ‘People don’t like to leave their home, but the reality is going to be in the temperature.’
The nor’eastern, which is baring down on the East Coast and expected to hit on Tuesday, will bring cold winds, snow and rain to the region on Tuesday — a double-whammy for people still trying to piece their lives back together after Sandy.
The forecast for the area around New Jersey and New York calls for temperatures to fall into the 20s by Monday night.
The cold that the nor’easter is bringing with it is already claiming lives.
Overnight, at least two more bodies were found in New Jersey, where the storm came ashore, as the overall U.S. death toll from Sandy climbed to at least 111.
One of the victims, a 71-year-old man found in his darkened house, died of hypothermia.
Over the weekend, the city opened warming shelters in areas without power and Bloomberg urged elderly people without heat to move to them. The city also began handing out 25,000 blankets to those who insisted on staying in their homes.
‘Please, I know sometimes people are reticent to take advantage of services. The cold really is something that is dangerous,’ he said.
Power restorations over the weekend relit the skyline in Lower Manhattan for the first time in nearly a week and allowed 80 percent of the New York City subway service to resume. Some 1.9 million homes and business still lacked power across the Northeast on Sunday, down from 2.5 million on Saturday.
Residents of the Rockaways in Queens, New York, struggled to find warmth in their neighborhood, which still doesn’t have power after flood waters inundated the small peninsula.
One woman said she had one blanket to give her two daughters for warmth.
Though New York and New Jersey bore the brunt of the destruction, at its peak, the storm reached 1,000 miles across, killed more than 100 people in 10 states, knocked out power to 8.5 million homes and businesses and canceled nearly 20,000 flights. Damage has been estimated $50 billion, making Sandy the second most expensive storm in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Katrina.