The nor'easter that stymied recovery efforts from superstorm Sandy pulled away from New York and New Jersey Thursday, leaving hundreds of thousands of new people in darkness after thick, wet snow snapped storm-weakened trees and downed power lines.
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.
"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 rest of the world."
But most were just grateful the new storm didn't bring a fresh round of devastation.
"For a home without power, it's great. It came through the storm just great," said Iliay Bardash, 61, a computer programmer on Staten Island without electricity since last week. "But things are not worse, and for that I am thankful."
Throughout Staten Island's beach area, the storm had blanketed growing piles of debris with several inches of snow. By midmorning, it was starting to melt, filling the streets with sludge.
Roads in New Jersey and New York City were clear for the morning commute, and rail lines into New York were running smoothly.
The nor'easter brought gusting winds, rain and snow, but not the flooding that was anticipated.
But additional outages could stall recovery efforts, even though utility companies had prepared, adding extra crews ahead of the nor'easter.
In New Jersey, there were about 400,000 power outages early Thursday; 150,000 of those were new. In New York City and Westchester, more than 70,000 customers were without power after the storm knocked out an additional 55,000 customers.
For Consolidated Edison, ED +1.19% the extra outages were dealt with swiftly, so there were only about 3,000 additional customers without power from the total Wednesday of 67,000.
"I think we're going to be able to power through. Our objective was to get power restored to everyone by the weekend, and we're still working with that goal," said Alfonso Quiroz, a spokesman for the utility.
On Long Island, an area badly battered, there were 125,000 new outages. About 80,000 were restored, making a total of approximately 300,000 customers without power. Long Island Power Authority spokesman Mark Gross said the utility was assessing new damage while working to restore outages.
Under ordinary circumstances, a storm of this sort wouldn't be a big deal. But the electrical system is still fragile, and many of Sandy's victims are still cleaning out their homes and cars and dealing with the deepening cold.
Residents from Connecticut to Rhode Island saw 3 to 6 inches of snow on Wednesday. Worcester, Mass., had 8 inches of snow, and Freehold, N.J., had just over a foot overnight. Some parts of Connecticut got a foot or more.
There was good weather news: Temperatures over the next few days will be in the 50s in southern New England, said meteorologist Frank Nocera, and on Sunday could edge into the 60s.
Ahead of the storm, public-works crews in New Jersey built up dunes to protect the coast, and new evacuations were ordered in a number of communities already emptied by Sandy. New shelters opened.
All construction in New York City was halted. Parks were closed because of the danger of falling trees.
Airlines canceled at least 1,300 U.S. flights in and out of the New York metropolitan area.
Sandy killed more than 100 people in 10 states, with most of the victims in New York and New Jersey.