First Sandy, Now Athena. What's Next for East Coast?
Snow fell on damaged homes and piles of debris in parts of the New York City area as a nor'easter moved in Wednesday, causing new power outages, calls for evacuations and obstructing recovery efforts in the wake of the tumultuous Superstorm Sandy.
By Wednesday night, heavy winds had caused more than 100,000 new power outages in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the U.S. Energy Department stated-- bringing the total number of homes without power to 715,000, most of which are still attributed to Sandy, which made landfall in New Jersey on Oct. 29.
"It's like a sequel to a horror movie," James Alexander, said a resident of the hard-hit Rockaway Peninsula,according to NBC News. "Here we are, nine days later — freezing, no electricity, no nothing, waiting for another storm."
While forecasters said the latest storm appeared to be weaker than the first and under regular conditions would not pose a severe threat, it now presents heightened concerns, as it comes just one week after Hurricane Sandy ripped through the East Coast, leaving havoc in its wake.
The nor'easter, dubbed "Athena" by The Weather Channel, could produce strong gusts that could also turn up piled debris from Sandy into projectiles.
"With winds picking up to 30-, 40-, 50-mile-per-hour gusts our fear is that if people are out and about they could be hit by flying debris,” Kevin O'Hara, police chief in Point Pleasant, N.J., told The Weather Channel.” We would urge people to stay in their houses, stay home, and let the storm pass."
"Mother Nature is not cutting us a break along the East Coast," he said.
At least three inches of snow are expected in Philadelphia with wind gusts over 30 mph, while a combination of wet snow and wind in New Jersey, and snowfall totals of six to 12 inches in southeastern New York and New England.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg directed police to use their patrol car loudspeakers to warn the 20,000 to 30,000 residents in vulnerable areas to evacuate their homes, NBC News reported.
Major airlines cancelled flights in and out of the New York City area ahead of the storm, just after Sandy last week led to more than 20,000 flight cancellations.
New York City closed all parks, playgrounds and beaches and ordered all construction sites to be secured. Tuesday evening, Bloomberg also ordered three nursing homes and an adult care facility to be evacuated from Queens' vulnerable Rockaway Peninsula.
"I am waiting for the locusts and pestilence next," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said, in what unfortunately seemed to be only a half-joking manner.