The New York metro area still recovering from Superstorm Sandy struggled Thursday with new power outages, transport snarls and school cancelations from a nor'easter that socked the storm-ravaged region, bringing high winds and heavy snow, including 4.7 inches in Central Park.
Packing gusts as high as 54 miles per hour, the storm also dumped as much as 12 inches of snow on some parts of Connecticut and the Jersey Shore, which had scrambled to put up new sand barriers to a storm surge.
Residents from Connecticut to Rhode Island generally got slammed with 3 to 6 inches of snow. Worcester, Mass., had a whopping 8 inches of snow, although a number of other communities threatened to exceed that accumulation.
Just eight days into the month, Central Park's total already ranked as the third-snowiest November on record there, topped only by six inches in 1898 and 4.9 inches in 1938 for the entire month.
"That much snow (so early in the cold season) does happen every once in a while, but not too often, said National Weather
Service meteorologist Dan Hofmann Thursday.
Downed tree limbs and overhead electrical lines, triggering new power disruptions just when the area utilities had been in restoring thousands of continuing Sandy-caused outages in the tri-state region.
Consolidated Edison reported 11,000 new outages late Wednesday, raising the total for New York City and the Westchester County northern suburb to 75,000.
"God hates us!" the New York Post's front page complained Thursday over the weather one-two punch.
But for the weary, relief is on the way. Joey Picca, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the unwelcome snow and high winds were slowly moving out of the New York City area.
Meteorologist Frank Nocera said temperatures over the next couple of days will be in the 50s in southern New England, and on Sunday it could edge into the 60s.
Airports in New York City and New Jersey, meanwhile, reported delays of 15 minutes or less Thursday morning while winter weather and flood warnings were dropped as the nor'easter lumbered away.
But not before the snow and wind at times shut down the Long Island Rail Road and its Penn Station terminus in Manhattan during Wednesday night's rush hour and again into the night.
The shutdown stranded riders at closed stations far from home. Although the New York City subway system was running near normal on Sandy-modified routes, the LIRR warned of weather-related delays and cancellations Thursday morning.
"Can New York please get a break. Have no idea how I'm getting to school," one LIRR rider tweeted late Wednesday night.
But the storm also canceled or forced delayed openings for scores of schools, forcing parents to change work schedules already scrambled by last week's storm.
Under ordinary circumstances, a storm of this sort wouldn't be a big deal. But large swaths of the landscape were still an open wound, with the electrical system highly fragile and many of Sandy's victims still mucking out their homes and cars and shivering in the deepening cold. As the storm picked up in intensity Wednesday evening, lights started flickering off again.
Mark L. Fendrick, of Staten Island, shared his frustration with others on Twitter Wednesday night, saying, "My son had just got his power back 2 days ago now along comes this nor'easter and it's out again."
Ahead of the storm, public works crews in New Jersey built up dunes to protect the stripped and battered coast, and new evacuations were ordered in a number of communities already emptied by Sandy. New shelters opened.
Not everybody hunkered down.
Katie Wilford left her Brick Township home near Barnegat Bay as the nor'easter approached. She bundled her sons Nick, 14, and Matthew, 10, into the minivan in search of an open motel.
"It's a little overwhelming," she said. "I can't believe we're doing this again. We're going on Day 10 with no power. That's a long time. I just want the sun to come out and things to be normal again."
In New York City, police went to low-lying neighborhoods with loudspeakers, urging residents to leave. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn't issue mandatory evacuations, and many people stayed behind, some because they feared looting, others because they figured whatever happens couldn't be any worse than what they have gone through already.
"I'm staying," said 61-year-old Staten Islander Iliay Bardash. "Nothing can compare to what happened Still, authorities urged caution. The city manager in Long Beach, N.Y., urged the roughly 21,000 people who ignored previous mandatory evacuation orders in the badly damaged barrier-island city to get out.
All construction in New York City was halted - a precaution that needed no explanation after a crane collapsed last week in Sandy's high winds and dangled menacingly over the streets of Manhattan. Parks were closed because of the danger of falling trees. Drivers were advised to stay off the road after 5 p.m. and part of the busy Long Island Expressway was shut down in both directions because of icing.
Sandy, which struck less than two days ago, killed more than 100 people in 10 states, with most of the victims in New York and New Jersey. Long lines persisted at gas stations but were shorter than they were days ago. By early Thursday, more than 292,700 homes and business in New York state were without power, and another 403,000 in New Jersey lacked electricity. In some areas, the numbers began climbing again Wednesday evening.
By Kevin McCoy and Doug Stanglin