November 1st, 2012
08:03 PM ET

Signs of progress, though damage and heartache remain after Sandy

Editor's note: The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy focused Thursday on a search for the missing and restoration of power. The storm's overall death toll stood at 161, including at least 92 people in the United States, two in Canada and 67 in the Caribbean.

[Updated at 4:30 a.m.] The New York Police Department said early Friday morning that the death toll from the storm had gone up four more to 41 in New York City.


[Updated at 12:09 a.m.] NJ Transit will provide limited rail service starting Friday, with the Northeast Corridor, Raritan Valley Line and NJ Coast Line trains running on special schedules.  Bus routes are for the most part back in service as well as the light rail River Line to Camden.

[Updated at 10:18 p.m.] CNN's Gary Tuchman tells the story of a mother who told police she crashed her car during Sandy, left the vehicle and clutched her 2- and 4-year-old sons for hours, and even knocked on the door of a nearby house hoping someone would let her in.

Eventually, floodwaters came through and swept her two sons away.

[Updated at 10:07 p.m.] There will be "close to regular" service Friday morning on the MTA commuter rail line between New York City and New Haven, Connecticut, the transit agency announced. "Thanks to the dedicated workforce who worked around the clock to return (the New Haven) rail line back to normal service," Gov. Dannel Malloy said.

[Updated at 10:02 p.m.] National Guard troops, Salvation Army volunteers and city government workers distributed 290,400 meals and 522,840 bottles of water around New York today, the mayor's office said.

[Updated at 9:22 p.m.] Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker told CNN on Thursday night that half his city remains without power, acknowledging, "There's a lot of anger out there."

But Booker, who said he was opening his own home to those needing a place to sleep, lauded the goodwill efforts of his fellow residents. "All over, I'm seeing extraordinary acts of kindness," the mayor said.

[Updated at 9:17 p.m.] New York announced that it will have 14 food and water distribution sites around the city starting at 1 p.m. Friday - six of them in Manhattan, four in Queens, and two each in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

[Updated at 8:23 p.m.] Sandy killed some Staten Island residents and destroyed numerous homes - leaving some residents with no food and few  clothes, some of them wandering into shelters without even socks and shoes on their feet - Borough President James Molinaro said Thursday night. And yet the government proved very slow to tell them how to get food, how to get shelter and generally how to put their lives back together, he told CNN.

"There was no one there to answer these questions," Molinaro said. "I need answers, and the people need answers."

The borough president said, after a rising uproar Thursday - including an emotional plea by a woman, Donna Soli, to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer that "we're going to die! we're going to freeze!" without government help - help has begun to arrive.  Ten buses stocked with needed goods were transported to the island Thursday, and FEMA has promised to have a team working with Molinaro on the ground Friday, the borough president said.

[Updated at 8:03 p.m.] Staten Island residents talk about their struggles, and their frustrations, after Sandy:

[Updated at 7:59 p.m.] New Jersey has extended the deadline for when county clerks can accept mail-in voter applications to the close of business on Friday. The state also mandated that county clerk and election office must be open, "at a minimum from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until November 5, and are to take all reasonable measures to inform voters of the extended hours."

[Updated at 7:51 p.m.] Equipment and crews from the West Coast began arriving Thursday night in the New York metropolitan area to help with post-Sandy recovery efforts, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told CNN.

Seventeen large Air Force cargo jets are carrying loads of material - including 69 vehicles from Southern California Edison, as well as power restoration crews - to help bring back power, according to the U.S. Air Force.

[Updated at 7:40 p.m.] A little more than 3.35 million customers remained without power in 15 states and the District of Columbia on Thursday evening, according to information from utilities. This is down from a peak of nearly 8 million in the hours after Sandy roared onto the U.S. mainland.

[Updated at 7:35 p.m.] A hydraulic excavator in Highlands, New Jersey, on Thursday moves the remnants of several homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.

[Updated at 7:23 p.m.] New York 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." "We're doing our damndest to get our power back as quickly as possible," he said.

[Updated at 7:11 p.m.] The Coast Guard is suspending its search for Robin Walbridge, the 63-year-old captain of the HMS Bounty, which sank Monday off the North Carolina coast. Rescuers saved 14 aboard the ship, while one crew member - Claudene Christian - was later found dead.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Walbridge and Christian families," Coast Guard Capt. Doug Cameron said in a statement.

The search lasted more than 90 hours, covering approximately 12,000 square nautical miles in the Atlantic Ocean.

[Updated at 6:42 p.m.] 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, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Initially expected to take two to three weeks, workers were able to clear water from the site in a few days, according to the governor. With electricity still out in that area, generators will be used to power lights in the area so construction can continue.

[Updated at 6:38 p.m.] 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.

"We just need to get the juice back in there, and we can run them," Lhota said.

[Updated at 6:33 p.m.] One million meals from the federal government have arrived in New York and are being distributed by National Guard troops to those in need, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

[Updated at 6:26 p.m.] One tube of the Holland Tunnel - which runs between northern New Jersey and southern Manhattan - will reopen to traffic Friday morning for buses only, New York's governor said.

Andrew Cuomo pointed to significant progress over the course of day on transportation issues, noting that several more parts of the New York subway and commuter rail lines have reopened or will be operating soon.

[Updated at 6:19 p.m.] Most of Con Edison's roughly 630,000 New York customers without power - including more than 465,000 in five New York City boroughs - likely won't have their lights back on until the weekend of Nov. 10 and 11, utility official John Miksad said. Some may not have electricity back until even later in November, he said.

Calling Sandy the worst storm ever to hit the area from the utility's perspective - three times as bad as last year's Hurricane Irene - Miksad said hundreds of field crews and thousands of workers are out trying to address the damage. It will take hundreds of millions of dollars to fix everything, the Con Edison senior vice president said.

"The Lower Manhattan area is expected to be back in service by Saturday," Miksad said, referring to the section from 42nd Street south to 14th Street.

[Updated at 5:48 p.m.] With many elements of the subway still down, swarms tried to board public transit buses in New York on Thursday - here at the newly opened Barclays Center in Brooklyn:

[Updated at 5:41 p.m.] Hoping to give more leeway to affected residents as well as National Guard troops called to duty, Maryland 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.

[Updated at 5:31 p.m.] Three projects in Connecticut - one in West Haven, another in Bethel and the last a seawall in Old Saybrook - will get part of $2 million of "initial federal emergency highway funding" to repair damage caused by Sandy, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced.

[Updated at 5:18 p.m.] New York Harbor has reopened. The hope is that moving seaborne traffic "will help" to address fuel shortages and, thus, long gas lines tied to Sandy, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

[Updated at 4:47 p.m.] Residents of 11 communities on New Jersey's barrier islands can return to their homes after Gov. Chris Christie lifted evacuation orders.

[Updated at 4:32 p.m.] The U.S. Coast Guard has reopened all ports from North Carolina north to Philadelphia that had been affected by Sandy.

[Updated at 4:30 p.m.] Snow and downed trees are obstacles for crews clearing roads in western Maryland, as Gov. Martin O'Malley tweeted.


[Updated at 4:27 p.m.] Amtrak plans to resume service Thursday night "between New York City and points south," including Trenton, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. Passengers were encouraged to make reservations before traveling to Penn Station.

[Updated at 4:17 p.m.] The Navy now says three ships will not dock in New York City unless their help is requested. As yet, there's been no such request from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The USS Wasp is expected to be available to offer aid today, with the USS San Antonio and USS Carter Hall expected to reach the area Friday.

[Updated at 3:56 p.m.] A photo, sent by Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee, shows a front-end loader moving sand in Westerly after Sandy caused damage to the town's shoreline.


[Updated at 3:49 p.m.] Citing Sandy and the need to address climate change, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday endorsed President Barack Obama in the upcoming presidential election.

He lauded Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s efforts “tackling climate change” while governor of Massachusetts, but said he regretted how Romney had since “reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported.”

While Bloomberg said the past four years, under Obama, have been “disappointing,” the mayor said he sided with the incumbent president on issues such as education, support for gay marriage and particularly the efforts to combat global warming. The headline of Bloomberg's endorsement was, “A Vote for a President Who Will Lead on Climate Change.”

[Updated at 3:27 p.m.] The USS Wasp is set to dock in New York City today, with the USS San Antonio and USS Carter Hall expected to arrive Friday, the U.S. Department of Defense said.

These are among a host of resources being provided by the U.S. military in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. For example, three ships - the TS Empire State, TS Kennedy and FV Wright - will dock around the area to provide lodging, at FEMA's request, for those displaced by the storm.

[Updated at 3:22 p.m.] Connecticut is taking steps to speed up repairs to the state's seawalls by allowing people to begin repairing 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.

[Update 3:02 p.m.] Pennsylvania homeowners will not have to pay hurricane deductibles on insurance claims related to damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, Gov. Tom Corbett announced.

[Update 2:57 p.m. ET] Amtrak has cleared water from one of the tunnels running beneath the Hudson River, Amtrak said. "Big 1st step in restoring rail service," Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) wrote on Twitter.

[Update 2:29 p.m. ET]


[Update 2:27 p.m. ET] A nor'easter storm is possible for the mid-Atlantic states into New England next week, the National Weather Service said Thursday.

The service's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center said in its extended forecast discussion that the storm could produce coastal flooding, rain and snow beginning as early as Tuesday, Election Day.

However, the forecast said the storm would not be near the strength of Sandy and its effects would be less severe and not concentrated in the regions hit hardest by Sandy.

[Update 2:12 p.m. ET] The U.S. death toll from Superstorm Sandy has risen to at least 88. The new number comes after New York state reported 44 deaths. Two deaths have been reported in Canada and 67 in the Caribbean, bringing the total to 157.


[Update 2:11 p.m. ET] Millions who lost power and had to stay homebound for days due to Superstorm Sandy are up and moving again – but not necessarily their cars. In some cases that’s due to driving restrictions. In others it’s the lack of gas. CNN’s Rob Marciano snapped this picture Thursday in Manhattan.

Found one... #gas on Twitpic

[Update 1:56 p.m. ET] 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 that for everyone to have power back, the utility said.

[Update 1:49 p.m. ET] More than 36,000 people have signed up for help from FEMA, and that's only the beginning, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in New York.

[Update 1:41 p.m. ET] Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro confirms the bodies of two young boys who had been swept away from their mother during Hurricane Sandy were recovered Thursday morning, “maybe a block or two from where (their mother) lost them.”

“They drained the swamp with pumps. They went in on foot and they found them,” Molinaro said, adding that the parents were there when searchers discovered the boys.

Additionally, two senior citizens who were missing were both found dead Thursday morning as well.

The number of dead on Staten Island now stands at 19, according to Molinaro.

Read more on the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Interactive: Remembering the victims.

[Update 1:29 p.m. ET] The U.S. Air Force is flying 69 Southern California Edison vehicles to New York today to help make repair to power lines damaged by Superstorm Sandy.  The airlift will be made using five giant C-5 Galaxy transports, the largest aircraft in the U.S. military fleet, as well as 12 C-17s in the move.

[Update 1:24 p.m. ET] The U.S. death toll from Superstorm Sandy has risen to at least 81. The new number comes after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced 37 deaths in the city are blamed on the storm, and Connecticut officials told CNN four deaths are blamed on the storm. Two deaths have been reported in Canada and 67 in the Caribbean, bringing the total to 150.

[Update 1:19 p.m. ET] Good news for Vermont residents.


[Update 1:03 p.m. ET] Homeowners in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will save thousands of dollars in insurance costs after several state governors declared that Sandy did not make landfall as a hurricane, exempting them from insurers' hurricane deductibles. Read the full CNNMoney report.

[Update 12:45 p.m. ET] The city of Hoboken, New Jersey, is asking residents to shut off appliances and lights to avoid a surge as electrical power is restored to the city.  Click here for other updates on the city's services and needs.

[Update 12:35 p.m. ET] A mobile home park in Chincoteague Island, Virginia, was flooded by Superstorm Sandy.

[Update 12:32 p.m. ET] The American Red Cross reports it has received an estimated $11.44 million in Superstorm Sandy relief donations as of Wednesday morning. Read the full CNNMoney report.

[Update 12:28 p.m. ET]

[Update 12:21 p.m. ET] The New York City Marathon on Sunday will not drain critical police resources from post-Sandy recovery efforts, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today.

“By Sunday we’ll have electricity back downtown; that will free up an enormous number of police,” he said.

Also, many of the transportation needs during the week won’t be there on the weekend, he noted.

And the “massive cleanup” operation involves the sanitation department and others – not primarily police, he said.

[Update 12:19 p.m. ET] President Obama discussed Superstorm Sandy at a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, today.

“When disaster strikes, we see America at its best. All the petty differences that consume us in normal times all seem to melt away. There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm - they’re just fellow Americans,” the president said.

Follow the presidential campaign on the Political Ticker.

[Update 12:16 p.m. ET] A sign life in New York City will soon become a little more normal.


[Update 12:12 p.m. ET] Some relief is in store for New York City commuters.


[Update 12:07 p.m. ET] Take a ride along a New Jersey gas line.

[Update 12:01 p.m. ET] New York City transit was working on a limited schedule Thursday morning, and the result was "massive gridlock," CNN affiliate WABC reports.

[Update 11:21 a.m. ET] The U.S. death toll from Superstorm Sandy has risen to at least 76.  That includes at least 34 in New York, 12 in New Jersey, and 10 in Maryland.  Two deaths have been reported in Canada and 67 in the Caribbean, bringing the total 145.

[Update 10:48 a.m. ET] The U.S. death toll from Superstorm Sandy has risen to at least 68.  That includes at least 34 in New York and 12 in New Jersey.  Two deaths have been reported in Canada and 67 in the Caribbean, bringing the total 137.

[Updated 10:38 a.m. ET] The Coast Guard is continuing its search for the missing captain of the HMS Bounty replica about 200 miles southeast of Hatteras, North Carolina.

"This is still an active search, not a recovery effort," Coast Guard Capt. Doug Cameron said in a statement this morning.  "Factors such as fitness of the member, weather conditions, survival equipment and the results from previous searches are taken into consideration to determine how long the Coast Guard will search."

[Updated 10:21 a.m. ET] More than 7,000 people in nine states spent Wednesday night in 115 Red Cross-operated shelters, the American Red Cross says.

[Updated 9:46 a.m. ET] The death toll from Superstorm Sandy in New York has risen to 34, police say. That brings the U.S. death toll to 62. A second death in Canada was also confirmed by police. With Canada and the Caribbean included, the overall death toll is 131.

[Updated 9:34 a.m. ET] Here's where the mayor of Danbury, Connecticut, Mark D. Boughton, is finding inspiration amid the destruction from Sandy.


[Updated 9:21 a.m. ET] The National Weather Service says Sandy is not completely done yet. The storm's remnants are still bringing rain and winds from the Great Lakes to the Northeast.


[Updated 9:18 a.m. ET] New York's LaGuardia Airport accepts its first arrival since shutting down for Sandy.


[Updated 9:10 a.m. ET] Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Con Edison's plan for restoring power in New York City is still on track.


[Updated 8:56 a.m. ET] Just over 4.8 million customers remained without power this morning in 15 states and the District of Columbia, according to a CNN tally.

The states with the most customers without power are New Jersey with 1,983,694 customers; New York with 1,514,147; Pennsylvania with 526,934;
and Connecticut with 352,286.

[Updated 8:50 a.m. ET] Florida wildlife officials are searching for two juvenile panthers that escaped when a tree blown down by Hurricane Sandy broke open their enclosure at the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, CNN affiliate WJXX reports.

[Updated 8:40 a.m. ET] Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Sting, Christina Aguilera and Jon Bon Jovi will headline a benefit concert for Superstorm Sandy victims to be broadcast Friday at 8 p.m. ET on the networks of NBC Universal, including NBC,, USA Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, E!, Style Network, G4 and others. Money raised will benefit the American Red Cross relief efforts.

For other ways to help, check Impact Your World.

[Updated 8:29 a.m. ET] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced this – part of an effort to get the city up and running again in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.


[Updated 8:21 a.m. ET]


[Updated 1:40 a.m. ET] About 4.9 million customers remain without power in 15 states and the District of Columbia today, a CNN tally shows.  That number dropped by about 600,000 in six hours.

soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Our prayers and thoughts go out to all the survivors. I for one, had to stay with the Red Cross, on occassion for the dangerous flooding that happens here from time to time. They are truely American Heroes. They are very compassionate and take very good care of you, in the face of disaster.

    November 2, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      They are a very good organization that has been one of the first on the scene after we experienced tornados and floods in the area.
      Kudos to them!

      November 2, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. Gas Wars

    Reports of citizens fighting over gasoline are being reported in the wake of hurricane Sandy. Gas lines stretching for blocks...citizens bringing guns and knives to gas stations. Officials say it will be at least a week before full service is restored.
    Suggestion: curfew. When citizens act like spoiled brats, the government should restrict them as parents restrict children. (or used to anyway)

    November 2, 2012 at 4:16 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Those lines are forming because gas pumps run on freaking electricity, which has not been restored to most of the gas stations yet.
      Therefore, lines will form at the ones who *do* have the capability of pumping gas.
      There is no "gas war".
      Nobody is stabbing everyone else to get ahead in line.
      Oh, and there already curfews in place, so I'm unsure of who it is you want to see punished.

      November 2, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Penelope Anderson

      I think the people who signed up for the New York Marathon should go to New York and Go to the start of the Race in Staten Island & stay there for the day volunteering their time to the people who need help in that borough.

      As mother Teresa'a poem says 'The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway."

      November 2, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gas Wars

    The Red Cross is top-heavy as are all US charities. US law allows non-profits to pay each board member 100K per year, as long as there is at least one full-time volunteer for every paid board member. Your average charity keeps about 95% of what you donate for "operating costs".
    Not even Jeff Frank knows the Red Cross's payroll.
    Some blow a horn as they donate, others go about it quietly with a hands-on approach rather than a token gesture.

    November 2, 2012 at 4:28 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      No, they don't.
      They do not keep 95% for operating costs.
      I would like to see where the Red Cross keeps 95% of monet donated for operating costs.
      I think you may be thinking of the United Way, *that* I would believe.
      If one doesn't believe in donating to charity, one shouldn't; but to denigrate all charities whilst pretending to do things for people is disingenuous.
      As with any large organization, there are those who take advantage of people's generosity, as with the scope of the mayhem that resulted from the absolute tragedy that was 9/11...
      BUT, the Red Cross has encompassed the entire world with their help, and has done so for many years, and will continue to do so.
      Keep you lousy ten dollars.
      That Karma that's always mentioned?
      It'll come back to you for telling people your own personal views on charities as if they are all fact, and unworthy of people's time and donations.
      Not even YOU know the Red Cross's payroll, so stop the lies and mudslinging for a very worthy charity.

      November 2, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Red Cross Vampire

    Google 'Red Cross 9/11 funds missing' for more.

    November 2, 2012 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. Don

    It's too bad someone can't put the lights out for good on that dirt bag city, but if the island sank, we wouldn't be able to eat Atlantic fish for the next 100 years.

    November 2, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. the prophet

    Note Your calendar disbelievers, procrastinators, distrustful, insane, in denial cowards, this December there will be a mega storm and disaster coming again in the north east, also California will have an earth quake 9.7 as a result a the sun flairs activities and bursts of energy reaching and stretching our magnetic filed.

    November 2, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cindy

    I am sure New York as well as other cities will bounce back from this. Remember KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!!!!

    November 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
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