Steve Villanueva's forecast for Sunday, November 4, 2012.
As temperatures drop throughout the tri-state, tens of thousands of people whose homes were damaged by Sandy will need other places to live, officials said Sunday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said homes without heat will become uninhabitable as temperatures drop. He said that means residents who have been reluctant to leave their homes will have to, and that they'll need housing.
Mayor Bloomberg said the city expects it will have to find housing for 30,000 to 40,000 people. Officials have not said what their plans are for that kind of housing.
The forecast calls for temperatures to fall into the 20s by Monday night, ahead of another storm expected in our area. The National Weather Service says a possible coastal storm Wednesday and Thursday could bring gusty wind, rain and snow. There's also the possibility for beach erosion.
Some who live or volunteer to help clean up in the communities hardest hit by Sandy say the official response has been lacking.
Michael Gidaly is one of a growing number of volunteers who have been working to gather and distribute food, clothing, supplies and children's toys to victim's of Sandy. Gidaly said he was surprised not to see FEMA and the Red Cross offering help in the Rockaways, where he spent Saturday going door to door to deliver aid.
"I was just amazed that there was no presence from larger organizations there," Gidaly said. "It's drastic, people are literally without the essentials. There's no power, the infrastructure is totally wiped out, people are freezing there."
Carter Langston, a FEMA spokesman, said that disaster recovery centers for people to register for assistance were set up in Rockaway at 115-15 Beach Channel Drive and 1-199 Rockaway Point Blvd. FEMA, he said, had also established distribution points for food, water, clothes and blankets at Red Fern, Conch and Hammel playgrounds and had begun sending community relations teams door to door in Rockaway.
"If people haven't seen a FEMA shirt, my only answer is wait because they will. We're ramping up very quickly," Langston said.
A spokesman for the Red Cross said that approximately 10 food distribution trucks had been deployed throughout Rockaway and blankets and cleanup supplies were also being distributed on the peninsula.
And on Sunday evening, Cuomo announced the suspension of the toll on the Cross Bay-Veterans Memorial and Marine Parkway Bridges, which connect the Rockaway peninsula to Queens and Brooklyn.
“The people of the Rockaways suffered tremendously from Hurricane Sandy, and with the loss of A train service, there is no easy way for many of them to get back and forth to the rest of New York,” Cuomo said. “We are taking action to suspend these tolls to make the recovery easier for both Rockaways residents and the people helping them.”
Meanwhile, ahead of election day, the Board of Elections announced temporary polling sites would be put in place in neighborhoods affected by Sandy.
While officials look ahead to try and figure out temporary housing for storm refugees, they are also working on short-term solutions to help people get through this cold snap.
On Saturday, the city mobilized volunteers to distribute 25,000 blankets as Bloomberg urged residents without heat to move to shelters.
"We are trying to respond to an unprecedented emergency," Bloomberg said. "We are committed to making sure that everybody can have a roof over their head and food in their stomachs and deal with the cold safely."
The city opened warming centers around the five boroughs that are open from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. to keep residents warm.
“If you are elderly or have an infant under a year old or have heart disease or medical conditions you really have to get to a warm place," Bloomberg said.
Power was restored for most Manhattan residents by Saturday morning, and subway trains began chugging back and forth across the East River.
However, over a million residents were still without power across the tri-state, and officials were urging drivers and powerless residents desperate for gas not to panic, because relief is on the way.
Throughout the tri-state, lines of cars, and in many places queues of pedestrians carrying bright red cans, waited for hours for the precious fuel.
Sandy, which killed at least 74 people in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, damaged ports that accept fuel tankers and flooded underground equipment that sends fuel through pipelines. Without power, fuel terminals can't pump gasoline onto tanker trucks, and gas stations can't pump fuel into customers' cars.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie ordered an odd-even gas rationing system in 12 counties at noon on Saturday. Residents with license plates ending in an even number, or where the last number on the license plate is even will be able to buy gas on even-numbered days and residents with plates ending in an odd number, vanity plates, or where the last number on the license plate is odd can make gas purchases on odd-numbered days.
NEW YORK CITY