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Nor’easter slams N.Y. and N.J. areas hit by Sandy

Snow fell in the New Dorp section of Staten Island, a neighborhood still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.Seth Wenig/Associated Press

NEW YORK — A nor'easter threatened to unravel progress made since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the New York area, delivering a second angry serving of howling wind and high water on Wednesday in places where misery and frustration had yet to recede.

The storm, a chilly brew of rain and wet snow blown in by gusts almost as powerful as those recorded during the hurricane, arrived with the dismaying potential to disrupt efforts to bring life back to normal from the Jersey Shore to eastern Long Island.

In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie warned that the storm could leave many people in the dark again, only a few days after their power had been restored.


''I can see us actually moving backwards,'' Christie said in a news conference on Long Beach Island, which suffered some of the heaviest damage in the storm last week. The barrier island had reopened to residents, but as the new storm closed in, the governor said he was cutting off access again.

The storm, which covered cars and trees in the region in a coat of white, brought down power lines faster than repair crews could keep up, as fierce winds and blowing snow threatened to drive the crews off the job.

By about 5 p.m., the storm had knocked out electricity to roughly 16,000 Consolidated Edison customers. All told, about 80,000 Con Edison customers had no power on Wednesday evening, according to the company's website.

The numbers also went up on Long Island. The Long Island Power Authority began the day saying that 184,000 customers still lacked power. By the end of the day, the total had climbed to 193,000.

About 185,000 Public Service Electric & Gas customers in New Jersey had no power before the new storm arrived. The company said the storm caused an additional 60,000 power failures statewide. By late Wednesday, Jersey Central Power and Light was reporting more than 189,000 customers without electricity.


About 6:40 p.m., the Long Island Rail Road temporarily suspended departures from Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan and Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn after a series of problems on several of its lines. Later, limited service was restored. The storm also snarled traffic in some areas, particularly along the Taconic State Parkway in Putnam and Westchester counties,

As snow from the nor'easter made roads slippery and sloppy, police said, the death toll in New York City from the hurricane had risen to 41 with the death of William McKeon, 78.

Paul J. Browne, the Police Department's chief spokesman, said McKeon was found Tuesday ''at the bottom of a pitch-black stairwell that was still wet and covered with sand'' in Queens. His head was bleeding, and he was unconscious and unresponsive, Browne said.

The nor'easter was another storm with an impossible-to-miss footprint on the weather maps. Its white swirl, smaller than the hurricane's, looked ferocious. Road crews feared it would bring annoying slush and, later on, treacherous ice to hard-luck places where debris from the hurricane was still being cleared away.

''This is the last thing we needed when we just started making progress,'' said Nicole DeGorter, 19, a college student and lifelong resident of Brooklyn. She said that the hurricane had driven her from her family's house, where eight feet of water was churning atop three feet of sand in the basement, and that she had moved into an uncle's apartment nearby with five other people and four dogs.


"It feels like it can't get any worse,'' DeGorter said at midday Wednesday, as the cold rain started to fall.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that low-lying areas had survived high tide on Wednesday afternoon without being inundated all over again, and a National Weather Service forecaster, David Stark, said the high tide had ''come in under what we had initially expected, which is a good thing.''

But the mayor remained concerned about areas the hurricane had walloped. The difference between last week and this week, Bloomberg said, was that the barriers of sand or rock that were there before are not there.

The Weather Service's coastal flood warning for New York Harbor remained in effect as the nor'easter gained force, as did a wind warning for the city, Long Island and coastal Connecticut. But Stark said the surprise was the snow. He said 2 inches had been reported in Bayside, Queens, and 3 inches in Armonk, N.Y., in Westchester County. He said reports from inland sections of Fairfield County and New Haven County in Connecticut had mentioned 3 to 5 inches. Later, parts of Westchester reported as much as 7 inches of snow.

''There's been a pretty good, steady feed of colder air that changed the rain to snow,'' Bloomberg said. ''We were thinking there would be warmer air to keep a rain-snow mix, but the colder air and the snow won out.''


It was an ominous mix in places like Breezy Point, Queens, where there was fear in the streets, not just because of the nor'easter, but also because of unattended homes and stores that could tempt thieves. Beach Channel Drive in Rockaway was dotted every half-mile or so with police checkpoints to ward off potential looters, an officer said.

Ian Allyn, who was repairing a hurricane-battered drugstore while the first floor of his house sat in ruins, could say only one thing: ''I don't think I can take another storm right now.''