Progress, continued pain as states pick up the pieces from Sandy

Updated 9:27 PM EDT, Thu November 1, 2012
01:32 - Source: HLN
Time-lapse video: Watch Sandy hit NY

Story highlights

NEW: Staten Island residents criticize the response to their storm-stricken community

Sandy has killed at least 88 people in the United States

About 4.8 million customers remain without power

"The show must go on," says executive director of the Broadway League

Have you been affected by Superstorm Sandy? If so, share your images and footage with CNN iReport, but please stay safe. For minute-by-minute updates, go to our live blog on This Just In.

CNN —  

As Sandy fades after days of inflicting misery, the extent of the superstorm’s tragedy is becoming clearer.

Dozens of families are making funeral arrangements, with Sandy’s death toll standing at 88 in the United States and at least 157 overall, including in the Caribbean and Canada.

Now that floodwaters have begun to recede, those in the hardest-hit areas are sifting through enormous physical wreckage and, in many cases, are facing a steep emotional toll as they try to cope with personal and community loss.

In countless cases, storm victims are relying on help from authorities, neighbors and strangers. Many are leaning on faith to deal with Sandy’s overwhelming impact.

A running CNN tally reflects a steady restoration of power, but a little more than 4.8 million customers remained without electricity on Thursday morning in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

Here’s a look at how Sandy has affected the United States:


– The state is taking steps to speed up repairs to the state’s seawalls by allowing people to begin them and later “follow-up with us for necessary paperwork,” Gov. Dannel Malloy announced.

“This process will help people move quickly to secure and protect their property, while ensuring that important environmental protections remain in place,” Malloy said in a statement.

– As in several other states, Connecticut homeowners will save thousands in insurance costs after Malloy declared that Sandy did not make landfall as a hurricane, exempting them from insurers’ hurricane deductibles.

– Some residents did not evacuate in Hartford/New Haven because they had never experienced flooding in their neighborhoods and had to call on rescuers to help them out of their homes, CNN affiliate WFSB-TV reported.

– Malloy visited shoreline communities hit hardest Wednesday, beginning his tour with a stop at a church.

– On his YouTube channel, he released aerial video of storm damage. He also announced free rail service for Thursday and Friday to Grand Central station.

– President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for the state, freeing up federal funds.

– The death toll stands at four, according to Scott DeVico, a Connecticut emergency management official. The victims – one of them an Easton firefighter – were killed by falling trees.

Storm’s human toll mounts


– Gov. Jack Markell has ended the state of emergency for Superstorm Sandy, and officials have reopened all previously evacuated areas.

– Attorney General Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, warned residents to keep an eye out for scammers “attempting to defraud homeowners” with phony home repair offers.

– Delmarva Power predicted power will be fully restored by 6 p.m. Friday.


– Despite the federal government being in disaster mode on a national level, on a local level things appear to be back to normal in the capital, with government offices, schools, street cleaning and public transportation up and running.

– Early voting has resumed.

Will you be able to vote on Election Day?


– One last emergency shelter remains open at the fire station in Alna until the last resident sees power restored, according to the emergency management agency.

– Some 2,296 customers still do not have power in the state.


– The National Guard went door-to-door in the coastal city of Crisfield in Humvees to aid victims of flood damage. Shallow water stood in many streets up to doorsteps, and residents described the ground as “soggy.”

– The coroner’s office says the state’s death toll is 10, according to Kasey Parr from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

In the western part of the state, crews were working to remove both snow and downed trees blocking roadways.

-- Gov. Martin O’Malley signed an executive order giving residents more time to apply for and send in absentee ballots. Registered voters who are out of the county due to Sandy now have until 5 p.m. Monday to apply for one, and ballots must be mailed by Election Day and received by November 16. The state Board of Elections can “electronically deliver absentee ballots to such voters,” the order states.

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– Sandy wrought the worst destruction on the seaboard of two states. New Jersey had miles of homes and businesses devastated in a series of towns. Some remained inundated with water or sand washed up by the storm. New York had the highest death toll in the storm.

– New Jersey got personal attention from the White House as Obama toured storm-damaged areas Wednesday.

New Jersey coastal town turned to “devastation”

– Sandy killed at least 12 people in the state, New Jersey state police said. Gov. Chris Christie, who warned people in low-lying areas to evacuate, said, “We’re lucky that more people didn’t die as a result of folks ignoring those warnings.”

– “When it comes to getting things done, I don’t care what party somebody’s in,” the Republican governor said after touring the disaster area with Obama. “I’m aware of all the atmospherics. I’m not in a coma. But the fact is, I don’t care.”

– Christie announced Thursday that mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted for 11 barrier island municipalities, meaning residents of those communities can return home for the first time since Sandy.

– With “a state of water emergency” in effect, the Department of Environmental Protection has been authorized by the governor “to implement water usage restrictions across the state.”

– Some 500,000 gallons of diesel fuel will be delivered to the state by Thursday night to run trucks and generators at nursing homes, hospitals and other high-priority locations, he said.

– State offices will be open Thursday.

– “We’ll be ready for Election Day, one way or another,” Christie said.

– New Jersey homeowners won’t have to pay hurricane deductibles on insurance claims related to Superstorm Sandy, as is the case with several other states.

– Residents not cleaning up damage to their property spent much of their time Wednesday standing in line – at gas stations, stores and restaurants.

– Transportation is coming back on line, the governor’s office said. The majority of major closed roads have been cleared, Christie said.

– By Thursday, all airports should reopen, but service is limited. AirTrain service to Newark Liberty International Airport is running again.

– All but one tunnel into New York City are open. Only the Holland Tunnel is still closed.

– Ferry service to New York has also resumed.

– Buses hit the streets again on 86 routes Thursday, according to NJ Transit. But light rail resumes on only one route, and major rail service is down until further notice. The transit authority has posted dramatic photos of storm damage on its rail lines to its website.

– Amtrak said it would provide Northeast Regional service on Thursday between Boston and New Haven, Connecticut, and between Newark and points south.

– PATH train service, which typically ferries 245,000 people under the Hudson River to New York City each weekday, is suspended until further notice.


– With at least 44 killed, the state had the most fatalities, with most of them in New York City.

– Tempers rose Thursday on Staten Island, as residents vented their anger at what they felt has been an insufficient response from government officials to destruction on the borough.

Ten buses stocked with needed goods were transported to the island Thursday, and FEMA has promised to have a team on the ground Friday, Borough President James Molinaro said.

– Lower and Midtown Manhattan should have power back by Saturday, and “the vast majority” of those who lost power should have it back by November 11, Con Edison said Thursday. It could take a week or more after then for everyone’s power to return, the utility said.

-- Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent a letter Thursday to six power companies that operate in the state warning “he would take appropriate action against those utilities and their management if they do not meet their obligations in this time of crisis.”

John Miksad – a senior vice president at Con Edison, one of those utilities contacted – said his company has been “in constant touch with state, city and county officials” and is doing its “damndest to get our power back as quickly as possible.”

– Bellevue Hospital was evacuating its remaining 700 patients, some of them critically ill, in a process that could take two days, a source familiar with the evacuation plan told CNN.

– Coney Island and Manhattan Veterans Affairs hospitals were also evacuated.

– Amtrak announced that service from New York City’s Penn Station to points south, including Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey, should resume Thursday evening. These are among a number of runs that Amtrak said it will resume in the near future.

– The moment the lights went out can be seen on YouTube in a fast forward, stop-motion video showing Sandy sweep through the city.

– New Yorkers, like residents of neighboring states, won’t have to pay hurricane deductibles on insurance claims tied to Sandy.

– John F. Kennedy International Airport reopened Wednesday with limited service. LaGuardia, the city’s other major airport, reopened on Thursday with limited service.

– Buses were to run on regular routes Wednesday, the Metropolitan Transit Authority announced, cautioning that there may be detours and “substantial waits.”

– Limited subway service resumed Thursday morning, along with bus service between downtown Brooklyn and Midtown.

Several East River subway tunnels have been cleared of water and tested, but they cannot reopen for trains until power is restored, officials said. Electricity is needed to “light the third rail,” MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said.

– Near-normal train service will resume from Mount Kisco, New York, and Stamford, Connecticut, to Grand Central Terminal for rush-hour Thursday morning.

– Cars crossing New York’s East River bridges between 6 a.m. and midnight must carry at least three people, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. Taxis are exempt.

– One tube of the Holland Tunnel, running between northern New Jersey and Lower Manhattan, will reopen for bus traffic only on Friday morning, Cuoma said.

– Limited commuter rail service on Metro North and the Long Island Rail Road was to began Wednesday afternoon, and limited New York City subway service will began Thursday, Cuomo said. Service below 34th Street remained out.

– Public schools will remain closed for the week.

– Days after “water was cascading into the site from every imaginable level,” work will resume Thursday night – days ahead of the schedule – at the World Trade Center work site in Lower Manhattan, Cuomo said.

– Curtains rose again Thursday night in theaters on the Great White Way after staying dark since Sandy’s assault. “The show must go on, and Broadway shows are doing just that,” said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League.

– The ING New York City Marathon will be held Sunday as planned, Bloomberg told reporters.

– Thursday’s planned game between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center was postponed.

– A fire in the Breezy Point of Queens incinerated 110 homes, a fire official said.

– Engineers have concluded that ties from a collapsed crane atop a luxury apartment building on West 57th Street are secure, but the street below will not be reopened until this weekend at the earliest, Bloomberg said.


– One storm-related death was reported.

– Additionally, a crew member on the HMS Bounty died when the ship went down off the North Carolina coast in stormy seas.

– On Thursday, the Coast Guard announced it is suspending its days-long search for Robin Walbridge, the ship’s 63-year-old captain.


– The death toll in the state stands at nine, including an 8-year-old boy who was struck by a tree limb.

– Gov. Tom Corbett announced that Pennsylvania homeowners won’t have to


– Virginia’s death toll remains at two, both traffic fatalities.

– The state has seen heavy snowfall, but temperatures have risen well above freezing.


– Officials report at least five storm-related deaths.

– Parts of West Virginia have seen at least 2 feet of snowfall from Sandy, but temperatures are rising well above freezing.

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CNN’s Eden Pontz, Josh Levs, Greg Botelho and Marina Carver contributed to this report.