9 Nov 2012

Thousands more without power in US

6:10 am on 9 November 2012

Snow and gale-force winds have left tens of thousands more people without power in the New York region, slowing efforts to overcome the devastation caused by last week's super-storm Sandy.

The Department of Energy said more than 40, 000 homes and businesses were without electricity as a result of the latest gale, which has been accompanied by record snowfalls .

On Long Island, where more than a million people lost power during Sandy, some 200,000 homes and businesses were in the dark Thursday.

That brings the number of people still without power since Sandy to more than 715,000 in six states.

Although dire for people as winter rapidly approaches New England, this was far below the total peak customer outages of 8.6 million reported by the energy department as a result of Sandy and the gale, AFP reports.

New York City authorities reported that the local death toll from Sandy had risen to 41 when an elderly man was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning.

With tens of thousands of people lacking heat in the city of 8.2 million, many are resorting to the dangerous practice of leaving on gas cooking stoves to provide some warmth.

Sandy, which began as a deadly hurricane in the Caribbean, pummelled 15 US states and prompted a huge tidal surge that killed at least 110 people in the United States and Canada and caused tens of billions of dollars worth of damage.

The nor'easter, with driving rain and snow, was much less strong but spread misery in a region where the National Guard and local emergency services are still handing out hundreds of thousands of meals, blankets, water and other vital supplies.

There was a record snowfall of 11.9cm in New York's Central Park, The Weather Channel reported.

However, with the snow melting and better weather forecast for the coming days, recovery efforts were expected to pick up again quickly.

Airlines that shut down flights around New York on Wednesday were running normally again. John F Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports all had minimal delays, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Motorists, however, remained plagued by difficulty in getting fuel supplies. Although the situation has eased from the initial period following Sandy, 38% of service stations in the New York area still had no fuel, the Department of Energy said.