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Natural Disasters

Winter storm sets back recovery efforts in NYC

Tens of thousands have been without power on Thursday following a major winter storm that hit the New York region. But the worst is finally over, officials say.

Over 40,000 more homes and businesses reported power outages on Thursday after heavy winds and snow swept across the New York region. The storm also caused delays at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

About half a foot of snow (15 cm) covered much of the metropolitan area on Thursday. Communities in neighboring states reported up to one foot of snowfall.

Trying to recover

The driving rains and snow delayed a return to normalcy this week for local residents.

The levels of hardship following the storm varied, according to an electrician from New York's neighboring state, New Jersey, who spoke to the Reuters news agency.

"I thought I was lucky when power was restored last Thursday, but last night it went out again," Michael Platt said. "The kids have been home for nearly two weeks and I'm not working, and when I'm not working I'm not making any money. This hasn't been easy."

But with the storm finally over, local officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency were finally able to address the needs to residents still trying to recover from the damages of Hurricane Sandy.

"We're actually moving now manufactured housing to the area. We don't have specific locations yet," FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said.

Damage remains

Prior to the second storm's landfall on Wednesday, regional officials feared a housing crisis. Many in New York City, for example, were still without power and heat due to damages from the Hurricane Sandy. The city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, warned that up to 40,000 city dwellers needed to relocate as the temperatures dropped.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Thursday that the storm had caused $50 billion (64 billion euros) of damages for New York state, $33 billion of that in New York City alone.

Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey on October 29, bringing widespread flooding to the area and crippling the local transit systems. Power outages initially left over eight million without electricity or heat early last week. Over 110 died as a result of the storm.

kms/dr (Reuters, AFP)