4 Nov 2012

Power returns to lower Manhattan, but many waiting

5:13 pm on 4 November 2012

The lower Manhattan skyline lit up for the first time since super-storm Sandy slammed into the northeast of the United States last week, but thousands of households in New Jersey and elsewhere remained without power.

The death toll from the storm rose to at least 110 with nine more deaths reported in New Jersey on Saturday, raising the total in that state to 22. New York revised its total down by one to 40, Reuters reports.

The storm killed 69 in the Caribbean before turning north and hammering the US northeast coast on Monday, bringing a record surge of sea water that swamped homes in New Jersey and New York, and flooded streets and subway tunnels in New York City.

Restoration of electricity allowed 80% of the New York City subway service to resume on Saturday.

Power supplies were restored to Manhattan neighbourhoods such as Wall Street, Chinatown and Greenwich Village in the pre-dawn hours, leaving 11,000 customers in Manhattan without service.

In New Jersey, 607,000 customers were still without lights after power to 1 million had been restored.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said 8 million gallons of fuel had been delivered since the US Coast Guard had reopened New York Harbour on Friday.

Even so, a heating oil shortage and widespread power outages meant some homes could go cold as wintry weather sets in.

A cold snap in the New York City area was forecast early next week with daily low temperatures expected to drop to 2-4 degrees Celsius.

The Obama administration directed the purchase of millions of gallons of fuel to be trucked to New York and New Jersey for distribution.

The government announced it would tap strategic reserves for diesel for emergency responders and waived rules that barred foreign-flagged ships from taking gasoline, diesel and other products from the Gulf of Mexico to Northeast ports.