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Nor'easter may bring 50 mph winds, rain to Sandy-hit areas

 

TODAY's Al Roker takes a look at a slow-moving storm set to hit the Northeast this week, bringing coastal wind gusts up to 55 mph, 2-4 inches of rain and dumping heavy snow in the mountains.

 

Updated at 6:26 p.m. ET: NEW YORK -- A week after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the New Jersey and New York coast lines, another challenge loomed Monday for the region: a slow-moving nor’easter, capable of delivering punishing amounts of wind, rain and snow.

"Though this storm will not have near the magnitude of the impact Sandy had, the combination of rain, wind and snow will add insult to injury for the recovery process along the East Coast," The Weather Channel’s Chris Dolce reported.

Starting in Florida Tuesday morning, the storm will move up the East Coast and into the Carolinas late in the day, TODAY Show Chief Meteorologist Al Roker said. By Wednesday morning, the storm will move into New Jersey with strong onshore wind gusts of more than 50 miles per hour and waves measuring 10 to 20 feet high. The storm could bring 2 to 4 inches of rainfall in the area as it makes its way into New England Thursday.

Full coverage of Sandy's aftermath

“Normally we wouldn’t worry about it, but this is a potentially dangerous storm only because when we’re talking about tides of 4 to 5 feet when you have almost no beaches and no dunes, that could be big problems all along the areas already affected by Sandy, and it may bring some more power lines down,” Roker said.

Behind the rain will be more cold air, Roker said, which means there is the potential for heavy amounts of snow in the White and Green Mountains in New England all the way back down to areas in West Virginia.

Allison Joyce / Getty Images

Residents of Rockaway, N.Y., stay warm by a fire during near-freezing temperatures on Sunday.

While more than a million people remained without power Monday, life was expected to return slowly to normal for many in the region ahead of the nor’easter. Still, a shortage of gas and overwhelmed transit systems remain problems.

The good news in New York City was that, unlike last week, service on key subway lines connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn under the East River was restored Monday, but sizeable legs of the region's public transportation network were still hobbled by storm. People stood for an hour or more on train platforms or street corners in New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut waiting for trains and buses, only to find many of them already too crowded to board, Reuters reported. 

Service on many rail and bus lines was reduced and the subway was running at about 80 percent of its normal service. 

The commute from New Jersey was particularly trying. 

As a Northeast Corridor Line train on the NJ Transit network pulled into Newark, passengers wondered aloud how the hundreds of passengers who crowded the platform would squeeze into the already-packed train. 

A conductor banged on the window, signaling passengers to squeeze together more than they already were. "Move in! It's gonna be a tight fit," another conductor yelled. Still, there was no room for about half of the passengers in Newark. 

"I'm taking Amtrak back this afternoon, so I don't have to deal with this," said Gabrielle Nader, a 27-year-old human resources professional who boarded in Trenton. "It's worse than a subway."

Nader, from northeast Philadelphia, said she had already made Amtrak reservations through Wednesday. 

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Problems getting fuel
Sandy — which killed more than 100 people in 10 states, caused massive power outages and left tens of thousands in need of emergency housing —disrupted supply to many gas stations, leading New Jersey to enforce odd-even rationing for motorists.

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Local residents salvage food from bags thrown out of a flooded store on Coney Island on Sunday.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tried to reassure people that refineries and pipelines were back online and gas was being delivered. "We do not have a fuel shortage," he said at a news conference on Sunday.

Fuel shortage expected to last for days, Cuomo says

There was no rationing in New York City, where the search for gas became a maddening scavenger hunt over the weekend.

Manhattan doorman Iver Sanchez, who lives in Queens, waited at an Upper West Side gas station for three hours and still had a long line of cars ahead of him.

"If I don't get gas today, I won't be able to get any for the rest of the week," he said.

In the Bronx, a Citgo station had received gas early Saturday evening, but within seven hours had run through a supply which usually lasts two to three days, said gas attendant Nagi Singh.

"A lot of people were angry with me," he said.

Cops: 2 arrested over alleged gas hoarding

New York City has spent $85.4 million so far on emergency contracts in response to Sandy, city Comptroller John Liu said on Monday.  The repair of damaged beaches, from Manhattan to Coney Island and the Rockaways, was the single highest item, totaling nearly $30.4 million so far.

"Together, we have made a lot of progress, but we know the road ahead will be long and recovery will take time," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said during a visit to New York on Monday.

In New Jersey, Monday promised to begin the return to some everyday activities. About half the school districts reported they will reopen and New Jersey Transit said it would have more train and bus service restored in time for the workweek. Philadelphia's transit authority loaned 31 buses that New Jersey Transit planned to use to support shuttle service for commuters traveling to New York City.

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Superstorm Sandy made landfall Monday evening on a destructive and deadly path across the Northeast.

The challenges were more severe for tens of thousands of people unable to return to their homes and many more than that living without power or heat. Some 1.35 million homes and businesses remained in the dark on Monday due to damages from the storm, down by about 500,000 from Sunday, the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability said.

Bloomberg said Sunday that 30,000 to 40,000 people in New York City were in need of shelter, including 20,000 in public housing. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has already dispensed close to $200 million in emergency housing assistance.

Temperatures will remain chilly in the days ahead, according to The Weather Channel. Highs in the 40s or low 50s will be commonplace through Wednesday. Some interior and New England locations may not get out of the 30s, it said.

Concerns are also growing that voters displaced by Sandy will not get to polling stations on Election Day on Tuesday. Scores of voting centers were rendered useless by the record surge of seawater in New York and New Jersey.

New Jersey has said it will allow people displaced by the storm to vote by email.  In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order allowing displaced voters to cast ballots by affidavit at any polling site they can reach Tuesday. Both states are normally easy wins for the Democrats.

 

In Highlands, a blue collar fishing town, 1,200 homes were flooded, including the mayor's. The federal government has pledged to pay for housing in the region. Meanwhile in New York, transit returns on line. NBC's Michelle Franzen reports.

NBC News staff, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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