Washington/New York, Oct 31: Millions in the worst hit New York and New Jersey and up and down the US East Coast Wednesday began picking pieces of their lives shattered by Hurricane Sandy that left 48 dead.
Much of New York, America’s biggest city and its financial hub, remained paralysed even as crews began the daunting task of cleaning up flooded subways, waterlogged buildings and burned homes. A total of 6.2 million people remained without power.
Some of New York City ground transit and airports were coming back to life Wednesday. The New York Stock Exchange was set to reopen after a two-day closure, the first for weather-related reasons since 1888.
Meanwhile, New Jersey neighbourhoods were still deluged under water ahead of President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit to the state.
And states farther west are grappling with super storm Sandy’s dramatic encore — a blizzard that dumped three feet of snow in West Virginia and left hundreds of thousands in the shivering cold, CNN reported.
Two New York area airports — John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty — are scheduled to reopen with limited service. The third, LaGuardia airport, is expected to remain closed because of significant damage.
The city’s massive subway network will remain offline for several days as workers try to recover the inundated underground lifeline.
New York’s bus service is set to resume but it probably won’t accommodate the five million commuters who rely on the subway every day.
The transportation headaches in New Jersey are far from over with the rail operations centre of NJ Transit crippled by eight feet of water, and at least 65 locomotive engines and 257 rail cars damaged.
“There is major damage on each and every one of New Jersey’s rail lines,” Governor Chris Christie said. “Large sections of track were washed out.”
There was no immediate estimate of the losses from the storm, but the scope of the damage – covering more than a half-dozen states – pointed to tens of billions of dollars. Christie called it “incalculable”.
Meanwhile, Washington, largely spared of Sandy’s wrath, started resuming normal life with the Metro and bus services beginning regular schedules, federal workers returning to work and schools and colleges reopening.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)