Hundreds of Thousands Still Without Power

At least eight people died in storm-related accidents over the weekend

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Kevin Johnson looks out from his driveway at the fallen tree that took out five utility poles in the aftermath of a storm Monday, March 15, 2010 in Larchmont, N.Y.

    Hundreds of thousands of customers around the region are still waiting for their power to come back on after a powerful weekend storm toppled trees, damaged cars and homes, and left at least eight people dead.

    Mayor Bloomberg said today "It really was one of the worst storms in recent memory, and some parts of the city saw wind gusts of almost 80 miles an hour. And obviously a storm that size causes some real damage to homes and businesses and brought down thousands of city trees."

    “City agencies are working overtime – just as they did all weekend – to repair the damage and Joe Bruno from our Office of Emergency Management is coordinating all their effort," he said.

    At the peak of the storm,nearly half a million people were without electricity in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.  As of Monday, more than 100,000 customers in New Jersey are still without power.  That's down from a peak of 235,000.

    Con Edison said about 82,000 customers were without power by midafternoon, 63,000 of them in Westchester County and12,000 on Staten Island.  Con Ed rep Tim Cawley said they have reached out to crews as far as Georgia, Ohio and Western Pennsylvania to assist with restoring powers. They have 170 crews today but expect full complement of 300 by Tuesday. 

    On Long Island, just under 60,000 customers were out, nearly half of them in the Town of Hempstead, the Long Island Power Authority said

    Long Island Power Authority President Kevin Law said yesterday the storm was the "worst in 20 years" and he said some customers who lost power might not get their lights back until Wednesday morning.

    “Please be patient, we can’t push a button and turn the lights on. It’s going to take time," Law said.  First priorities will be schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

    In Connecticut, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she will declare a state of emergency. By mid-afternoon, 60,000 residents were still in the dark.

    Governor David Paterson and County Executive Rob Astorino said Westchester may be able to qualify for federal disaster relief.

    In the city, Mayor Bloomberg said "thankfully, there have been no storm related deaths."  But around the tri-state, there were at least eight storm related deaths.

    The storm claimed at least eight lives including:

    *A New Jersey woman was killed and three others were injured in Westport, Conn., after a tree fell on a car Saturday night during the storm, police said. Another woman died when a tree struck her as she was walking in Greenwich, Conn., they said.
     
    *In the suburb of Teaneck, N.J., two neighbors were killed by a falling tree as they headed home from a prayer service at a synagogue. In Hartsdale, N.Y., another suburb, a man was killed when a large tree crushed the roof of his car and entangled it in live wires.
     
    *A 73-year-old woman was killed by a falling tree while walking to her car in Bay Shore, N.Y. Three people tried to save the Brooklyn woman.

    The damage to homes and cars was severe.  Thousands of trees were uprooted, some falling on roofs, cars and roadways. Beth Sorrentino saw her New Jersey home flood.  "We just moved here a month and a half ago and we're underwater, its ridiculous," she told NBCNewYork.

    Driving and train travel became treacherous and hundreds of flights were delayed at area airports.

    Various utilities in the region have advised residents to boil drinking water until further notice.

    The storm, which carried wind gusts of up to 70 mph, came about two weeks after heavy snow and hurricane-force winds left more than 1 million customers in the Northeast in the dark.

    "I spent most of the past few months clearing snow and ice out my driveway, sidewalks, front walks, and now we're picking up all these branches," Jack Alexander said Sunday as he and his family worked to clear debris from the front yard of their Egg Harbor City home.

    "It seems like we've had every type of weather event you could have this winter — I'm almost afraid to see what else can happen."