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Flights grounded after storm hits New York

Date: November 08 2012


Airlines have suspended hundreds of flights around New York after gale force winds and snow lashed the city where tens of thousands of people are still without power since superstorm Sandy.

The severe weather, with snow, sleet, rain and winds gusting to 96km/h arrived on Wednesday, just over a week after hurricane-strength Sandy wrought serious damage on the region.

The new gale, a seasonal Nor'easter expected to last 24 hours, was much less powerful than Sandy but was being taken seriously.

United Airlines and American temporarily shut down their New York area operations, while New York City and New Jersey called for limited evacuations of low-lying areas.

"We won't order the kind of large-scale evacuation that we did during Hurricane Sandy but if you experienced significant flooding during Sandy you should consider taking shelter with friends," New York mayor Mike Bloomberg said.

"So far we've not had any reports of flooding today," he added.

Sandy, which began as a deadly hurricane in the Caribbean, slammed 15 eastern US states and prompted a huge tidal surge that killed at least 109 people in the US and Canada and caused tens of billions of dollars worth of damage.

The coastal regions of New York and New Jersey were hardest-hit when Sandy crashed ashore on October 29.

A total of 672,572 homes and businesses were without electricity on Wednesday, the US Department of Energy said, with most in New Jersey and New York. Of those, 22,000 lost power on Wednesday in the Nor'easter.

Mr Bloomberg said 66,000 customers in New York City still remained in the dark.

The main reason for the delay, the mayor said, was that flooding seawater during Sandy had damaged electrical circuits in buildings and that meant a time-consuming clean-up before it was safe to restore power.

The latest bad weather would briefly slow down efforts to bring back electricity, pump out flooded basements, clear storm-related debris and rebuild disrupted city services, Mr Bloomberg said.

"It will be relatively minor but it's just more work for the utility companies. Our expectation is that tomorrow we'll be back working."

He said in the last six days, city and government relief workers had handed out 1.6 million meals and 400,000 bottles of water, as well as 86,000 blankets.

Sanitation crews have hauled away 130,000 tonnes of storm debris.

Mr Bloomberg said he thought New Yorkers in public housing would all be back home with heat, power and gas by the end of the week.

American Airlines and American Eagle announced a suspension of all flights in Philadelphia and in New York-area airports, affecting about 290 flights.

AFP

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