New Jersey Gas Rationing System
Gov. Chris Christie issued a new odd-even gas rationing system that seeks to quell fuel shortage woes plaguing 12 northern New Jersey Counties. Reuters

[06:00 a.m. ET] Motorists in 12 northern New Jersey counties with license plates ending in an even number will be able to buy gas on even-numbered days, and those with plates ending in an odd number can make gas purchases on odd-numbered days, says a gas rationing order issued by Gov. Chris Christie.

[05:30 a.m. ET] Falling temperatures Sunday has added pressure to expedite recovery measures in areas battling gasoline shortage and continuing power crisis. New York City has opened warming shelters in areas without power supply and older residents lacking heating facility have been requested to move into them. The city administration also handed out 25,000 blankets to residents, who insisted on staying in powerless homes.

[04:30 a.m. ET] A study released just before Hurricane Sandy struck the U.S. East Coast by Geo Risks Research center of Munich Re, the global company that insures other insurers, noted how North America has been most affected by weather-related extreme events in recent decades.

“The North American continent is exposed to every type of hazardous weather peril – tropical cyclone, thunderstorm, winter storm, tornado, wildfire, drought and flood,” the report stated, adding: “One reason for this is that there is no mountain range running east to west that separates hot from cold air.”

The study showed a nearly five-fold increase in the number of weather-related disasters in North America in the last three decades, compared to an increase factor of 4 in Asia, 2.5 in Africa, 2 in Europe and 1.5 in South America.

[03:00 a.m. ET] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to cancel Sunday’s New York City marathon may have ruined the spirits of hundreds of runners who were gearing up for the event for several months now. However, some of them intend to take part in informal marathons for the benefit of the Superstorm’s victims, Reuters reported.

A charity run has been planned for Sunday in hard-hit Staten Island that is expected to attract over 500 runners. The participants will start from Staten Island Ferry terminal in Manhattan and take different routes across Staten Island and distribute supplies along the way.

Other informal runs that will be held Sunday loop around Central Park, following the original 1970 route of the New York City marathon, Reuters reported.

[02:00 a.m. ET] The National Football League (NFL) confirmed that Sunday’s match between the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers will occur as scheduled. The game is set to kickoff at 4:25 p.m. EST at MetLife Stadium, the Associated Press reported. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did not address the game during a briefing Saturday, and the questions regarding the schedule were deferred to the NFL.

[11:43 p.m. ET] The U.S. death toll attributed to Superstorm Sandy rose to 113 Saturday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The L.A. Times state-by-state count of fatalities is as follows:
New York: 48
New Jersey: 24
Pennsylvania: 14
Maryland: 11
West Virginia: 7
Connecticut: 4
North Carolina: 2
Virginia: 2
New Hampshire: 1
Total: 113

[10:20 p.m. ET] New York state Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Saturday that all nine counties initially approved for federal disaster assistance funding have been OK'd for additional funding under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance Program.

The counties now eligible for federal reimbursement for water-control facilities, road systems, public utilities, public buildings and equipment, and parks and recreation are Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and Richmond in New York City; Nassau and Suffolk on Long Island; and Rockland and Westchester to the north of the city.

“I thank President [Barack] Obama for expediting this much-needed assistance,” Cuomo said. “These funds are critical to resolving the variety of issues that continue to challenge those in affected areas.”

On Oct. 30, FEMA approved the seven counties in the city and on Long Island for Public Assistance Program funding for debris removal and emergency measures. On Nov. 2, it OK'd the other two counties for such funding.

[8:55 p.m. ET] Both of the important oil refineries in New Jersey swamped by Superstorm Sandy's floodwater this week are still shuttered, but they at least now have had either all or some of their electrical power restored.

Together, the Bayway Refinery in Linden, owned by Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX), and the Port Reading Refinery in Woodbridge, owned by the Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES), are capable of processing more than 300,000 barrels of oil per day, or bpd. This represents about one-quarter of the 1.2 million-bpd refining capacity on the U.S. East Coast.

The 238,000-bpd Bayway Refinery had power restored previously, and the 70,000-bpd Port Reading Refinery followed suit Saturday, Reuters reported.

In a worst-case scenario, however, heavy damage caused by corrosive saltwater could cause either or both plants to be shut for weeks.

One day at a time, one day at a time, one day at a time . . .

[7:13 p.m. ET] Five days after Superstorm Sandy struck New York, the regional Metropolitan Transit Authority is still working hard to restore service across the four boroughs served by the New York City Transit subway system.

Although some subway trains have been running since Wednesday, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at a press conference Saturday that expects the system to be “90 percent” operational Sunday.

"Almost all MTA subway service, around 80 percent of the system, is now restored,” Bloomberg said. “It should be up to 90 percent by tomorrow."

Click here for the details.

[6:04 p.m. ET] It’s nothing personal, but New Yorkers have had it with all this palaver about the weather. Nonetheless, the National Weather Service went and issued a so-called Special Weather Statement for New York a little while ago.

The statement states: “Chilly temperatures expected [Saturday] night. A chilly airmass will begin to overspread the region tonight. Low temperatures will drop into the mid to upper 30s tonight. Those without power should prepare for a cold night. Contact your local officials if shelter is needed.”

Good advice.

[4:57 p.m. ET] Superstorm Sandy's effects will be felt for days, weeks, months, years, and even decades because of its multifaceted impacts on the BosWash megalopolis, the most densely populated corridor in the U.S. that stretches from Boston to Washington. One way to keep up with all the relevant news about the aftermath of the storm is via state-by-state roundups, such as this one published by the Associated Press minutes ago.

[2:27 p.m. ET] New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie briefed the public in Little Ferry, urging schools to accept students displaced by the storm who are living with friends or relatives outside their districts. The governor confirmed 23 deaths in his state, and he said search operations continue on the barrier islands, which had been under a mandatory evacuation order. “I begged people to leave, and they just didn’t leave,” he said.

[1:55 p.m. ET] Gasoline was flowing back into the Big Apple as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo assured the public on Saturday that the fuel crisis caused by a run on service stations and the power blackouts would soon abate. Gas stations across the five boroughs of New York were out of gas or were unable to pump gas. To expedite the inflow, the governor earlier waived a rule requiring tankers to pay taxes before unloading their cargo.

Eight million gallons had arrived as of Saturday, with 28 million more expected to arrive in the coming days.

The New York Harbor has been open since Thursday, when the U.S. Coast Guard ensured that shipping lanes remained free from hull-puncturing debris that could pose spill risks.

According to the New York Daily News, the U.S. Defense Department will set up five mobile gas stations in the city and on Long Island. Motorists will be able to obtain as many as 10 gallons of free gas.

[12:55 p.m. ET] Con Edison, the utility serving New York City and Westchester County, reported that 279,506 homes and businesses remained without power Saturday afternoon due to 13,333 outages. That’s down from over 800,000 area customers who lost heat and electricity Tuesday evening. The U.S. Dept. of Energy says that as of 9 a.m., more than 2.5 million customers were still without power, down from a peak of 8.5 million in 21 affected states. Now, customers in seven states are still without power, including 11,713 in Maryland and 1.2 million in New Jersey.

[10:38 a.m. ET] The MTA has restored service on the 7 train connecting Queens and Manhattan and on the 4, 5 and 6 trains providing service between Manhattan and the Bronx, easing transportation between New York City boroughs as the city works to restore power outages and underground transportation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Con Edison announced on Saturday that 70 percent of New York City customers have had power restored. Most recently, the utility company restored power to 115,000 customers in Staten Island.

[10:24 a.m. ET] Hurricane Sandy took a serious toll on the elderly population in storm-ravaged areas, with nearly a dozen of New York City's 41 deaths among those aged over 65.

According to an Associated Press report, many seniors died after being unable or unwilling to evacuate homes and apartments that become flooded, while others -- including an elderly couple in Staten Island -- were overcome by floodwaters while trying to escape the storm.

[8:25 a.m. ET] Voters in New Jersey, New York City, and Long Island and beyond may be voting in the dark on election day. The New York Times reports that about half of the voting sites in Nassau County on Long Island were without power on Friday, along with polling sites in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

In New Jersey, there are plans to set up military trucks as makeshift voting centers at storm-damaged polling sites. New York City officials are also expected to set up temporary voting sites in affected areas.

While the Times report projects that the disruption will not impact the outcome of the presidential election, as President Obama is expected to carry the electoral vote in the affected states, the popular vote could be affected by lower turnout, delayed absentee ballots, and stymied early voting opportunities.

[05.15 a.m. ET] The death toll from Superstorm Sandy rose to 109 Friday night. New York City has reported 41 deaths so far, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg says there could be more fatalities, NBC News reported. Staten Island accounted for half of the deaths in the city.

[04.30 a.m. ET] All but 65 public schools in New York City will reopen Monday. The students of the 65 badly damaged schools would be relocated to other city schools Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

[03.45 a.m. ET] The Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, has extended filing and payment deadlines for taxpayers living in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. Superstorm Sandy-affected individuals and businesses will get time till Feb. 1 to file returns and pay taxes due, the Associated Press has reported.

[02.35 a.m. ET] The Energy Department has announced that it will release fuel from the northeast heating oil reserve to help rescue and restoration efforts, according to CNBC. Two million gallons of fuel will be released initially to run generators, emergency equipment and vehicles aiding the recovery work.

[01.30 a.m. ET] Federal authorities Friday sought the military’s help to deliver 24 million gallons of fuel to restore gas supply in Superstorm Sandy-affected areas. The fuel shortage is severe in most of the areas ravaged by Sandy as about 50 percent of the gas stations are not functioning due to power outage.

According to the New York Times, the authorities have authorized the Pentagon to hire the trucks and deliver the gasoline and diesel to the affected areas in New Jersey. The fuel will be sourced mostly from the commercial suppliers.