Latest On Sandy: Death Toll Rises, Wait For 'Normal' Life Continues

Published On : 10/31/2012 8:32 AM
By : Mark Memmott
From : NPR
Categories : Nation
Rescue in Hoboken: Much of the New Jersey city remains flooded and the National Guard has been called in to help rescue stranded residents. Tuesday, this was the scene on one of the city's flooded streets.

Across New York City, much of New Jersey and other places hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, power remains out today and the long, hard process of digging through debris and starting to rebuild continues.

As NPR's Robert Smith said on Morning Edition, in lower Manhattan (and many other places, unfortunately) all people can do is wait — for power, for mass transit, for life to get back to something near normal.

Rescue in Hoboken: Much of the New Jersey city remains flooded and the National Guard has been called in to help rescue stranded residents. Tuesday, this was the scene on one of the city's flooded streets.
Eduardo Munoz /Reuters /Landov

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET. From The Streets Of Manhattan; 2 1/2 Miles In Two Hours:

NPR's Zoe Chace has been been on the streets of Manhattan. She spoke to one driver who's moved 2 1/2 miles in two hours. "Honestly, it is really, really hard to get into the city" and around Manhattan, she tells our Newscast Desk. Some people trying to get to work, she says, probably won't there their until the work day's over.

ThUpdate at 10:45 a.m. ET. Walk, Don't Try To Ride In Manhattan:

"Do not try to take cabs within Manhattan today," tweets John Podhoretz of Commentary magazine. "Faster to walk. Everywhere. Midtown devastated by blocks closed off due to crane."

Update at 9:50 a.m. ET. Stocks Are Higher At The Open:

The New York Stock Exchange restarted trading from its floor at 9:30 a.m. ET (Mayor Michael Bloomberg rang the opening bell). And after about 20 minutes of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average is up about 0.5 percentage points. The Wall Street Journal says "gains in overseas markets helped lift sentiment."

Update at 9:45 a.m. ET. With Subway Out Of Service, Expecting A "Slow, Hot And Really Packed" Bus Ride:

Christopher Peifer, who runs a recording studio in Brooklyn, decided not to brave the commute from his home in Manhattan's Washington Heights. He tells NPR's Scott Neuman that he can see traffic has "sprung back to life."

His girlfriend, Rachel Zuckerman, however is making her way to her job in Yonkers. Usually, she takes the subway, but she is trying the bus today.

"Normally, I would take the subway up to the last station in the Bronx and then there's a van that picks us up," Zuckerman, 35, said in a call to Scott from the bus.

But since the subways aren't running today, neither is the shuttle, so "a few of us agreed to take the bus and try to flag down a taxi once we got there."

It usually takes Zuckerman about 10 minutes to get to the shuttle stop. But this morning she's planning to be on the "incredibly slow, hot and really packed" bus for at least an hour.

Update at 9:10 a.m. ET. Thousands Cut Off In Hoboken; National Guard Arrives:

"The New Jersey National Guard arrived Tuesday evening in Hoboken to help residents of the heavily flooded city on the Hudson River across from New York City," The Associated Press writes.

An estimated 20,00 of the city's 50,000 residents were cut off by high waters, Mayor Dawn Zimmer told NBC News Tuesday evening. This morning, reporter Katie Colaneri from WBGO told our Newscast desk that some people may have gotten out of the affected areas since then, but many still remain trapped. In some places, the water is "still about four feet high" and folks can't get out their front doors, she added.

According to the AP, "Guard members will use high-wheeled vehicles to help evacuate residents and deliver supplies to flooded areas in the mile-square city."

Update at 8:50 a.m. ET. Heartbreak And Heroics On Staten Island:

"N.Y. Drama: Officer Dies After Saving Family; Videos Show Rooftop Rescues."

Update at 8 a.m. ET. Rounding Up The Problems In New York City And New Jersey:

Among the online resources for tracking how things are going in New York City and New Jersey are:

— WNYC's "live dispatches from the field" and its "transit tracker," which is being updated with information about the transportation outages in the region.

— This story from NBCNewYork, which begins with: "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 New York Times' transit service updates and its "tracking the storm" live blog.

7:15 a.m. ET. Where Things Stand.

Here's a recap as the day begins:

— Deaths: The toll has gone up since our last update. According to The Associated Press, at least 55 deaths can be attributed to the storm since it hit the East Coast over the weekend — blasting much of the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and southern New England before moving on to the Great Lakes and western New York State. Last evening, the death toll stood at 48.

Before Sandy hit the U.S, the storm was been blamed for at least 69 deaths when it rumbled through the Caribbean.

— Power Outages: As of last evening, about 8.2 million customers remained without power, the Edison Electric Institute estimates. This morning, NPR's Elizabeth Shogren estimates, the number may be down to about 6 million.

— New York Slammed: Not only was the city drenched and shut down by rising waters — authorities also had to deal with a massive fire in Queens, "widespread flooding, power and transportation outages." The city's subway system has experienced some of the worst damage in its 108-year history and may not reopen for several days.

We've added a separate post about the devastation in Breezy Point, Queens.

— Transportation: Things are slowly getting better, but are no where near normal. New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark's Liberty International Airport will have "limited service" today. New York's LaGuardia Airport remains closed. (More information here.)

Amtrak says it will have some service from Newark, N.J., to points south and from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Pa. But it will not have service into New York City, no Acela Express service in the Northeast corridor and is canceling service along several other routes in the Northeast and New England.

Some mass transit service has been restored in Philadelphia. And Metro is up and running in Washington, D.C.

But mass transit into, out of and around New York City remains paralyzed. It will be several more days, at least, before the city's subway system is running again.

— Schools And Stocks: Schools are reopening across much of the region from Virginia north (but not in New York City). The financial markets in New York will also be open today.

— The Blizzard: Sandy also brought a massive amount of snow to higher elevations in West Virginia and surrounding states. About two feet of snow fell in some places and at one point about 200,000 customers were without power in West Virgina, where the temperatures are well below freezing. Many still don't have electricity. Shelters are open across the state.

— Presidential Visit: President Obama will visit New Jersey this afternoon to tour the damage alongside Gov. Chris Christie.

— And The Forecast? The National Weather Service says that:

"REMNANTS OF SANDY CONTINUE TO WEAKEN OVER PENNSYLVANIA ... FLOOD AND COASTAL FLOOD WATCHES ... WARNINGS...AND ADVISORIES ARE IN EFFECT OVER PORTIONS OF THE MID-ATLANTIC AND NORTHEAST STATES. WINTER STORM WARNINGS AND WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES REMAIN IN EFFECT FOR THE MOUNTAINS OF SOUTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA...WESTERN MARYLAND. .. WEST VIRGINIA ... EASTERN TENNESSEE ... EASTERN KENTUCKY ... AND EXTREME WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA."

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