People embrace after looking through the wreckage of homes devastated by fire and the affects of Hurricane Sandy in the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough of New York October 31 (Photo : Reuters)
Roughly 48 hours since the devastating Hurricane Sandy touched down on the East Coast, cities in New York and New Jersey are picking up the pieces, with the total US death toll rising to 46, and 30 now dead in New York City.
Officials told the New York Daily News Wednesday that the death total in New York City is now at 30.
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Chilling stories have been emerging since the storm receded Tuesday. Maria Stoin, 61, of Staten Island told the Daily News that she heard two people crying for help, but neighbors could not offer any rescue assistance because of flood waters that reached the second floor of their homes.
"It was like a scary movie," said Stoin.
CNN had reported earlier Wednesday that at least 2.6 million people in the U.S. are currently without power. According to the Long Island Power Authority's Storm Center map, at least 831,880 customers from Breezy Point, Queens to Montauk, Long Island were without power.
LIPA representatives told Long Island-based newspaper The Sag Harbor Express that it could take up to two weeks for some residents on Long Island to get their power back, the newspaper reported Wednesday.
"To put this in perspective, once the storm left, it left us with almost a million LIPA customers without power," said LIPA spokesman Mark Gross. "Last year, with Hurricane Irene, we had about 500,000 customers without power and unlike Irene, Sandy impacted us for two-and-a-half days and really pounded our system."
With parts of the affected areas on Long Island being targeted by looters, residents were reporting that some robbers were taking to pretending to be LIPA crew workers in order to enter people's houses. On LIPA's Twitter page, company officials posted the following, "SAFETY: LIPA crews should NEVER have a reason to enter your house. Please tell your friends and family!"
While storm flooding has caused havoc in the New York City transit and railroad systems, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that beginning beginning Thursday morning, there will be limited subway service on several routes, supplemented by a bus shuttle between Downtown Brooklyn and Midtown.
In addition, the Metropolitan Transit Authority confirmed, Long Island Rail Road trains began operating hourly train service between Jamaica and Atlantic Terminal/Brooklyn this afternoon. For a special timetable of operating trains, click on this link here.
All of the bridges operated by the MTA are now open to traffic, with the exception of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and the Queens Midtown Tunnel, still closed due to extensive flooding.
However, New Jersey Transit Rail and Access Link services are still suspended due to the hurricane's impact, NJ Transit reports on their web site. NJ Transit bus service will be running in Camden County only. River Line light rail service resumed operations Wednesday afternoon, making trips every 30 minutes between the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden and Trenton Transit Center.
New Jersey was perhaps the hardest hit area, with Atlantic City sustaining significant flooding damage. More than 2 million customers are still without power, utility officials told NJ.com. Jersey Central Power & Light reports 950,000 outages and Atlantic City Electric was down to 114,000.
In Hoboken, with roughly 50,500 people in the two-square-mile city, many residents told ABC News Wednesday that they were told not to expect power for up to 10 days.
"Our basement got completely flooded," said resident Susie Zuckerman. "The water started gushing through the garage door in our building. We're doing the best we can do. We're not going to leave -- there's nowhere to go."
President Obama flew to New Jersey Wednesday to survey the damage, telling residents that restoring power was the top priority and assuring them that state and federal officials were working together to help the state.
"We are here for you," Mr. Obama told residents during a news conference also attended by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as reported by CBS News Wednesday. "We will follow up to make sure you get the help you need until you rebuild."