The damage resulting from Superstorm Sandy in New York could total $33 billion, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday. Cleaning operations commenced from a second storm that dumped snow, cut off power lines and plunged hundreds of thousands in darkness.
Previous estimates by forecasting firms stated that Sandy may have caused $30 billion-$50 billion in economic losses from Carolinas to Maine including property damage, lost business and living expenses. Cuomo's estimates are likely to push the bill higher, the Associated Press (AP) has reported.
Even a damage estimate of $50 billion is claimed to make Sandy the second most expensive storm after Hurricane Katrina. Sandy flooded parts of New York, New Jersey with a storm surge as high as 14 feet, killing over 100 people and leaving more than 8.5 million without power.
The Department of Energy noted that Sandy left many people in the dark than any previous storm. Besides, drivers were desperate for gas with complicated fuel deliveries.
"We are going to have to look at a ground-up redesign. With power outages, you paralyze the nation, and chaos ensues," Cuomo told AP of the power and fuel supply systems.
In particular, New York City's problems stemmed from surge of seawater that inundated utilities lying 15-20 stories below ground.
Officials announced Thursday that gasoline rationing will be implemented from Friday, following tight supplies that led to long lines and frustration at filling stations. And drivers will fill up gasoline on alternate days, based on whether their license plates end in an odd or even number.
Further, recovery efforts were blocked Thursday, after a nor'easter plunged hundreds of thousands of more people in darkness but failed to swamp shorelines anew.
From Brooklyn to storm-ravaged sections of the Jersey shore and Connecticut, about 750,000 customers were suffering without power in temperatures near freezing, some after living for days in the dark.
"We lost power last week; just got it back for a day or two, and now we lost it again. Every day, it's the same now: Turn on the gas burner for heat, instant coffee. Use the iPad to find out what's going on in the rest of the world," John Monticello, of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. told AP.