New York City and much of the US Northeast yesterday dug out from a snowstorm that walloped a region still struggling to recover from superstorm Sandy.
The unseasonably early winter storm dumped more than 30 cm of snow on parts of Connecticut and slapped the region with 80km/h winds, plunging another 300,000 homes and businesses back into darkness and creating a new commuting nightmare for a region whose transportation system was still under repairs.
Mark Fendrick, of Staten Island, tweeted: "My son had just got his power back 2 days ago now along comes this northeaster and it's out again."
Exactly as authorities feared, the storm brought down tree limbs and electrical wires, and utilities in New York and New Jersey reported that 60,000 customers who lost power because of Sandy lost it all over again as a result of the new storm.
"God hates us!" the New York Post said in a front-page headline. Some 8 cm to 15 cm of snow fell on the city.
"I am waiting for the locusts and pestilence next," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered police to use loudspeakers to warn vulnerable residents, many of them in low-income public housing, about evacuating.
"Even though it's not anywhere near as strong as Sandy - nor strong enough, in normal times, for us to evacuate anybody - out of precaution and because of the changing physical circumstances, we are going to go to some small areas and ask those people to go to higher ground," Bloomberg said on Tuesday.
But many were deciding to stay, worried about their empty homes being looted. Others decided the situation could not get much worse.
Some were unwilling or unable to leave their homes. That included Christine Jones, a 73-year-old resident of coastal Far Rockaway in the borough of Queens who said she and many of her neighbours planned to stay in their cold, dark apartments.
"They're scared they're going to be robbed. The teen-age boys, they try to break in."
Commuter bus and train services had been disrupted by the storm, with the Long Island Rail Road briefly shutting down all operations to the city's eastern suburbs on Wednesday night.
Airlines cancelled at least 1,300 US flights in and out of the New York metropolitan area, causing a new round of disruptions that rippled across the country.
Diane Reinhardt, a 64-year-old retired teacher, said she had travelled from her home in Brooklyn to the south shore of Long Island to check on her 93-year-old mother, whose home had been without power since Sandy hit more than a week ago.
"They're just at wit's end," Reinhardt said of her mother and brother.
"They feel like they're never going to get power back and it's never going to get warm again."
Reuters, Associated Press