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NEW YORK: New York City and much of the US Northeast yesterday dug out from a snowstorm that hammered 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 80kmph winds, plunging hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses back into darkness and creating a new commuting nightmare for a region whose transportation system was already under repair.
Bitter cold, rain, snow and powerful winds added to the misery of disaster victims whose homes were destroyed or power was knocked out by Sandy, which smashed ashore on October 29 and caused widespread flooding.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo fired the state’s emergency management chief, Steven Kuhr, for sending government workers to Kuhr’s Long Island home to clear a tree toppled by Sandy, according to media reports.
Some 715,000 homes and businesses in the region were without power, an increase of nearly 43,000 from Wednesday night after the nor’easter knocked power out to more customers following those who had lost power due to Sandy, the US Department of Energy said.
“I thought I was lucky when power was restored last Thursday, but last night it went out again,” said Michael Platt, 49, an electrician from Toms River, New Jersey, who estimated a foot of snow fell in his area. “The kids have been home for nearly two weeks and I’m not working, and when I’m not working I’m not making any money. This hasn’t been easy.”
The storms battered New Jersey’s shore, a summer tourist haven where hundreds of beachfront homes were destroyed by Sandy’s record storm surge.
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. “Can you believe this? Enough is enough,” said Cindy Casey, whose Belle Harbor home one block from the beach in the Rockaways was swamped by Sandy, as she looked out at the snow blanketing the neighborhood devastated by flooding and fire.
Sandy surrounded Casey’s home with six feet (two metres) of water and sparked a fire that destroyed at least 20 houses in the neighborhood before stopping short of her own.