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After The Storm

Sandy Claims At Least 22 Lives; Subway Service And Full Power Are Days Away From Being Restored

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TWC News: After The Storm

Sandy Claims At Least 22 Lives; Subway Service And Full Power Are Days Away From Being Restored
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City police say at least 22 deaths are now being blamed on Sandy, a torrential storm that has left hundreds of thousands without power and crippled the city's transportation system.

In a Tuesday evening press briefing, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city has started providing limited bus service as it struggles to bring its crippled subway system back online.

On routes that are operational, buses are currently running on a Saturday schedule with free fares.

An MTA spokesperson says that local and express bus service will mostly run tomorrow, but adds that buses will be detoured based on road conditions.

The MTA spokesperson says buses will be free Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bloomberg also said he had signed an order allowing yellow cabs to pick up multiple passengers, and one allowing black cars and livery cabs to make street pick-ups.

"Fares for additional passengers are to be negotiated; the driver must quote those fares up-front. We’re suggesting that a charge of $10 for any additional passenger is fair," the mayor said.

Earlier Tuesday, Bloomberg said the storm caused 23 serious fires, including one in Breezy Point that destroyed 80 houses. First responders are still carrying out search and rescue missions in some of the areas of the city hardest hit by the storm surge.

Of the 22 confirmed dead as of Tuesday, details were released about three deaths in Queens, five deaths in Staten Island and a death in Manhattan.

Bloomberg says one man in Queens was struck and killed by a tree as he slept inside his home just before 7:30 p.m. Monday night.

In Rockaway Beach, large sections of boardwalk were ripped away and landed nearly a block away.

So far, five people were reported dead on Staten Island, including an off-duty officer who died shortly after rescuing his family from rising waters in his South Beach home. The bodies of a father and son were also found in the ruins of a house at Oakwood Beach.

"I don’t think it's any secret, but Sandy hit us very hard; it was a storm of historic intensity," Bloomberg said. "But New Yorkers are resilient and we have seen an enormous outpouring of support from people eager to volunteer, donate and help out."

The most severe damage from the storm is being reported in and around the city's low-lying areas, especially the Rockaways and on Staten Island.

Bloomberg says the city's 76 shelters remain open.

The Department of Environmental Protection says the city's water supply is safe to drink, and that extra chlorine has been added to the water.

City public schools and Catholic schools in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx will be closed on Wednesday.

Bloomberg said Wednesday's Village Halloween Parade, which was originally reported to be cancelled, would be postponed until next week if the city can make the necessary arrangements.

City parks are also closed until further notice. Check out other Wednesday closures and cancelations.

Con Ed Power

Meanwhile, Consolidated Edison says that more than 650,000 customers are without power throughout the five boroughs, including portions of Manhattan from the southern tip up to 39th Street.

As of 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, the utility was reporting 46,556 customer outages in the Bronx; 89,600 in Brooklyn; 116,652 in Queens; 291,461 in Manhattan; and 113,930 on Staten Island.

Con Ed said in a statement Tuesday night that they were forced to cut power to 160,000 customers in southern Brooklyn and central Staten Island due to transmission problems.

Customers affected by that latest outage include residents of Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park, Midwood, East Flatbush and Flatbush in Brooklyn, and Tottenville, Annadale, Eltingville, Great Kills, Dongan Hills and Westerleigh on Staten Island.

Voltage was also reduced by 8 percent for customers in the Ocean Parkway, Flatbush, Bay Ridge, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Borough Park, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst areas, according to Con Ed.

There are 59 New York City Housing Authority developments without power, and most of them are in the city's low-lying Zone A.

However Bloomberg said that Con Ed has already brought three Staten Island sub-stations back online to help restore power to that borough. He added that Con Ed was bringing in utility employees from other states to help with the repair efforts.

John Miksad, Con Ed's senior vice president of electric operations, called the outage "the largest storm-related outage in our history."

"This will be one for the record books," he said.

Miksad said that an explosion Monday night at a Con Ed sub-station at East 14th Street and the FDR Drive knocked out power for approximately 310,000 customers.

There were no injuries in the explosion and no workers were trapped, according to Miksad, and the cause of the incident is still under investigation.

Miksad said it was too early to give a firm timetable for restoring power to customers affected by the damaged substation, saying "We are in a bit of uncharted territory."

Miksad also said those affected by an outage of this magnitude should not expect backup generators from Con Ed.

Before the explosion at the Con Ed substation, Miksad said Con Ed preemptively shut off three networks, two in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, in anticipation of high tides, which Miksad said reached peak levels of as high as 14 feet.

Miksad estimated that it would take three to four days to restore power to the three networks preemptively shut off once Con Ed could get access to them.

According to Miksad, the pre-planned outages affected approximately 34,000 customers.

Miksad said there was also a separate, significant outage in Staten Island.

As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, Con Ed says it may take a week to 10 days for restoration of above-ground lines.

According to Miksad, customer counts could continue to rise. Estimates for restoration could also change as Con Ed workers assess the damage, according to Miksad.

Con Ed officials continue to request that residents avoid downed power lines in their area.

To report a power outage, call 1-800-75-ConEd or log on to coned.com.

Transit

MTA Bus Routes Restored Tuesday

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has partially restored service, on a fare-free basis and on a Sunday schedule, along the following bus routes:

Manhattan: M2, M5, M8, M11, M14, M15, SBS15, M34, M34A, M22, M57, M60, M86, M96, M101
Bronx: Bx1, Bx6, Bx7, Bx8, Bx10, Bx12, SBS12, Bx16, Bx23, Bx27, Bx36, Bx38, Bx40, Bx41, Bx55, Q50
Brooklyn: B1, B3, B15, B35, B41, B44, B46, B61, B82, Q58, Q59
Queens: Q4, Q6, Q7, Q10, Q12, Q22, Q23, Q25, Q33, Q46, Q50, Q60, Q65, Q66, Q69, Q101, Q113
Staten Island: S40, S46, S48, S53, S59, S61, S62, S74, S78, SBS79

For detailed maps on bus routes, click here.

Subways remain closed until further notice.

Seven East River subway tubes, two Long Island Rail Road tubes linking Manhattan with Queens, and two vehicular tunnels were inundated by a wall of water. Six bus garages were also disabled by high water.

Once the water levels subside, water must be pumped out and the tunnels inspected by engineers.

There are also 6,200 subway trains, 5,600 buses, 600 miles of tracks and 468 subway stations that need inspection.

MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said in a statement Tuesday night that a timetable for service restorations will be able to be discussed by midday Wednesday.

Lhota said Metro-North lost power from 59th Street to Croton-Harmon on the Hudson line and to New Haven on the New Haven line.

Lhota said the agency's decision to move its bus and train car fleets before the storm's arrival prevented them from being damaged.

"In 108 years, our employees have never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now," Lhota said in his statement. "All of us at the MTA are committed to restoring the system as quickly as we can to help bring New York back to normal."

The Staten Island Ferry, Amtrak Northeast Corridor, Port Authority Bus Terminal service and New York Waterway ferry/bus service are all suspended today.

PATH service and NJ Transit service are suspended.

NY Waterway will resuming some ferry and bus service Wednesday. Service will run between Port Imperial and Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken and between 14th Street in Hoboken and West 39th Street in Manhattan from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Other NY Waterway routes that will run Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. include routes from Paulus Hook in Jersey City to the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan and from Paulus Hook and Newport to West 39th Street.

Amtrak says it will provide modified Northeast Regional service from Newark to points south Wednesday, but does not have an estimate for when service can be restored to Penn Station. As a result, Northeast Regional service from Newark to Boston will be canceled Wednesday, as will Acela Express service for the entire Northeast corridor.

Yellow taxi cabs can pick up multiple passengers, and livery cars can pick up street hails.

Alternate-side parking and meter regulations are suspended citywide Tuesday and Wednesday, and garbage pick-up is currently suspended.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced Wednesday that $13 million will be made available to New York and Rhode Island to repair the damage caused by Sandy.

Bridges/Tunnels

The Robert F. Kennedy (Triborough), Verrazano-Narrows, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck and Henry Hudson Bridges reopened at noon Tuesday.

The Outerbridge Crossing, George Washington, Goethals and Bayonne bridges and all East River Bridges are open. All East River Bridges are also open to traffic.

The Lincoln Tunnel is open.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced at around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday that the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Bridge is open. The Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge remains closed.

The Hugh Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel, Holland Tunnel and Queens Midtown Tunnel remain closed.

Lhota said in a statement Tuesday night that the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is filled with 43 million gallons of water.

Airports

Rising flood waters forced the Port Authority to close LaGuardia, Newark and John F. Kennedy Airports at 8 p.m. Monday.

The Port Authority says that Newark and JFK will open Wednesday at 7 a.m. but added that carriers will provide limited service.

Rail service on AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark has been suspended until further notice.

During the storm, storm surge levels peaked at 13.88 feet at the Battery, which was a new record. North shore flooding levels were at 13.4 feet at 11:20 p.m. Monday.

"The storm has met our expectations," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters at a Monday night press conference.

Hospitals

Among the storm's effects, Bloomberg said that the backup power at NYU Langone Medical center had failed and that 215 patients were successfully moved to nearby facilities late Monday.

New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation officials said that Coney Island Hospital had no power as of 1:30 a.m. Tuesday but was not evacuating because critical patients were moved out before the storm.

On Tuesday, President Obama declared a major disaster exists in New York and ordered federal aid to help supplement state and local recovery efforts.

The president's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Richmond, Suffolk, and Queens.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security will help oversee recovery operations in affected areas.

FEMA says residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired.

The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.

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