America's Northeast Braces for New Storm in Wake of Sandy
With more than a million households still without power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut brace for another storm: a nor'easter.
Some 1.4 million households still have no electricity in the Northeast, and the weather is getting colder. In New York City, some 30,000 people are homeless and now a winter storm is on the way.
The National Weather Service issued a High Wind Warning for Wednesday afternoon through early Thursday, predicting cold weather, up to an inch of rain and possibly two inches of snow, and gusts of wind up to 60 miles per hour along the Jersey Shore and parts of Long Island. Those areas were some of the hardest-hit last week by Hurricane Sandy, which wiped out entire neighborhoods such as Breezy Point in New York City's borough of Queens.
In addition, a Coastal Flood Warning was in effect for New York City during the high tide cycles, starting Wednesday afternoon, through Thursday morning.
More than 620 residents in three nursing homes and an adult care center, and staff are being evacuated ahead of the storm in the city's Rockaways section of the borough of Queens. All four facilities, battered by Sandy, have already been running on emergency generators since last week.
City authorities immediately issued an alert that all parks, playgrounds and beaches in all five boroughs would be closed both Wednesday and Thursday. "If you live in a low-lying or a flood-prone area, an area already impacted by the recent hurricane, or have concerns about flooding, consider staying with friends or family outside affected areas or in a NYC evacuation shelter,” warned officials in an alert posted on the city's public website.
"We could have some snow on the ground and certainly some snow on the trees,” said NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “That makes trees who already have their base flooded more likely to fall over, and that's something that we're really going to worry about,” he explained.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced this week that 95,000 people are eligible for emergency housing assistance in New York and New Jersey. Specific data broken down by state was unavailable, however. The assistance covers the cost for those whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged, to live in participating hotels or motels until appropriate housing becomes available.
To sign up for the program, residents can contact FEMA by logging in to www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the agency at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
Shelters in New York City are open and each has at least one wheelchair accessible entrance. Residents can access a list to locate the nearest facility by visiting the website.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also warned that some residents who had finally had their electricity restored might lose it again, according to CBS News. In a blunt statement, Christie noted grimly that there is “nothing we can do to stop the storms.”