Hurricane Sandy: 2.5M People Still without Power as Cold Snap Looms

Though a million customers have regained electricity after the devastating storm, a freezing weather is coming while 2.5 million homes and businesses remain in the dark.

Power supply was regained in Lower Manhattan, allowing 80 percent of the New York City subway service to resume, but more than a million homes and businesses still lacked electricity, down from 3.5 million on Friday. Photo: jp/Flickr

The combination of the power outages and a heating oil shortage supposes that plenty of building would go cold as unseasonably frigid weather sets in.

Forecasters claim that temperatures dipping into the upper 30s Fahrenheit (around 3 degrees Celsius) on Saturday night with freezing temperatures expected next week, reports Reuters.

Aida Padilla, 75, was happy to see that the power at her large housing authority complex in New York City’s Chelsea section had returned late Friday.

“Thank God,” said Padilla, 75. “I screamed and I put the lights on. Everybody was screaming. It was better than New Year’s.”

When assked about whether she had heat, she replied, “hot and cold water and heat! Thank God, Jesus!”

Meanwhile, in Staten Island, which was devastated by the powerful hurricane earlier this week, the New York City borough whose half a million residents bore the brunt of Sandy, people tried to stay warm.

About 6,000 people have power in Manhattan and crowds are flowing back into the city’s parks. But people in the outer boroughs and suburbs say they are getting desperate with power outages and gas shortages.

“I just keep waiting for someone with a megaphone and a car to just tell us what to do,” said a Long Island resident.

Tom Clark and his family were burning wood on their front yard. Clark, 43, revealed that he households planned to go stay at his mother-in-law’s heated house.

With temperatures which reached below 30s tonight, New Yorker residents may run short on fuel despite emergency government deliveries.

“There’s no heating oil around,” said Vincent Savino, president of New York’s Statewide Oil and Heating. “I don’t know how much fuel we have left: maybe a day or two.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised that the Defense Department would distribute free fuel with a limit of 10 gallons per person. Vehicles will be able to fill up directly from the 5,000-gallon trucks.

“Fuel is on the way,” Cuomo said. “Do not panic. I know there is anxiety about fuel.”

However, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered rationing that allows only half of all cars to buy gasoline each day.

“I was there (at the Jersey Shore) yesterday and I will tell you, it looked like we had been bombed,” Christie said “There are homes in Bay Head on the beach that had been driven by the storm surge into the houses across the street.”

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano visited Staten Island on Friday to calm down angry residents insisting that they had been ignored by emergency relief workers.

President Obama visited the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for an update on superstorm recovery efforts and said “there’s nothing more important than us getting this right.”

“Obviously we’ve now seen that after the initial search and rescue, the recovery process is difficult and it’s painful,” Obama said. “But I’m confident that we will continue to make progress as long as state and local and federal officials stay focused.”

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