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Costs from Sandy possibly $33b, N.Y. governor warns

State also faces huge cleanup job from nor’easter

A couple saw a power truck pass their still darkened home in Farmingdale, N.Y. They have had no lights for 11 days.

Frank Eltman/Associated Press

A couple saw a power truck pass their still darkened home in Farmingdale, N.Y. They have had no lights for 11 days.

NEW YORK — Damage in New York state from Hurricane Sandy could total $33 billion when all is said and done, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday as the state began cleaning up from a nor’easter that dumped snow, brought down power lines, and left hundreds of thousands of new customers in darkness.

A damage forecasting firm had previously estimated that Sandy might have caused $30 billion to $50 billion in economic losses from the Carolinas to Maine, including property damage, lost business and extra living expenses. Cuomo’s estimate will likely push the bill even higher.

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A damage estimate of even $50 billion total would make Sandy the second most expensive storm in US history, behind Hurricane Katrina. Sandy inundated parts of New York City and New Jersey with a storm surge as high as 14 feet, killed more than 100 people, and left more than 8.5 million people without power at its peak.

It left more people in the dark than any previous storm, the Department of Energy has said, and it left drivers desperate for gas when it complicated fuel deliveries.

‘‘We are going to have to look at a ground-up redesign,’’ Cuomo said of the power and fuel supply systems.

In particular, Cuomo noted New York City’s problems, largely because of the surge of seawater that inundated utilities lying 15 to 20 stories below ground.

‘‘That’s a brilliant engineering masterpiece, yes, but if Manhattan floods, you flood all that infrastructure,’’ he said. ‘‘We don’t even have a way to pump it out.’’

After tight gasoline supplies led to long lines and frustration at filling stations, officials in the city and on Long Island said Thursday that rationing will be implemented starting Friday. Drivers will alternate days they can fill up, based on whether their license plates end in an odd or even number.

On Thursday, a nor’easter that stymied recovery efforts from Sandy left New York and New Jersey, leaving hundreds of thousands of new people in darkness but failing to swamp shorelines anew, as feared.

Residents from Connecticut to Rhode Island saw 3 to 6 inches of snow Wednesday. Worcester, Mass., had 8 inches of snow, and Freehold, N.J., had more than a foot. Some parts of Connecticut got a foot or more.

From Brooklyn to storm-battered sections of the Jersey shore and Connecticut, about 750,000 customers — more than 200,000 from the new storm — in the region were without power in temperatures near freezing, some after living for days in the dark.

‘‘We lost power last week, just got it back for a day or two, and now we lost it again,’’ said John Monticello, of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. ‘‘Every day it’s the same now: turn on the gas burner for heat. Instant coffee. Use the iPad to find out what’s going on in the. . . world.’’

Vladimir Repnin, of New York City’s Staten Island, emerged from his powerless home with a snow shovel in his hand, and a question from someone cut off from the outside world.

‘‘Who won? Obama?’’ he asked.

Unlike other holdouts who got by with generators or gas stoves, the 63-year-old from Ukraine has had no power since Sandy brought 8 feet of water to his door. He tried to beat the cold Wednesday night by sleeping with his Yorkie, Kuzya, and cat, Channel.

Across Staten Island’s beach area, the storm had blanketed growing piles of debris with several inches of snow. By mid-morning, it melting.

The Queens-Midtown Tunnel, a vital vehicular route linking Manhattan to the city borough of Queens and the rest of Long Island, reopens Friday.

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