By Michelle SartorPower outages are still affecting hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Transportation issues still abound and gasoline has become scarce with long lines forming at stations with available fuel.
Atlantic City Electric, Jersey Central Power & Light and PSE&G are all reporting power outages Thursday, though many customers have been restored since the storm passed. PSE&G reported early Thursday morning that 781,000 customers remained in the dark and crews are working tirelessly to restore them within seven to 10 days. Atlantic City Electric estimates that 90 percent of mainland customers will be restored by midnight Sunday. JCP&L reported more than 918,000 customers still without power Thursday morning and didn’t offer a timeline for restoration. But 20 percent of JCP&L customers have already been restored, according to the utility.
NJ Transit announced that the majority of bus and Access Link service would be restored Thursday. River Line light rail service resumed operations Wednesday afternoon. Rail service is still suspended until further notice.
With limited public transportation options, many residents have been driving and using up their gas. Many gas stations throughout New Jersey have run out of fuel and those that were open Thursday morning had long lines.
The Lincoln Tunnel, one of the few ways in and out of New York City from New Jersey, had a four-hour backup Thursday morning into the city. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has implemented a rule that all passenger vehicles entering the city must have at least three passengers.
Hurricane Sandy has claimed at least 14 lives in New Jersey, with the latest death attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator inside a home.
For the first time in 158 years, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) has canceled its annual convention in Atlantic City because of the storm damage.
Some New Jersey schools might also be unusable for a significant period of time according to officials at the New Jersey School Boards Association.
FEMA representatives are working in Atlantic City Thursday to assess the damage, although a mandatory evacuation hasn’t been lifted.
Many other areas are still under mandatory evacuations and have no access available, but others are allowing residents back in.
The southern portion of the state has seen extensive damage, including the barrier island communities of Toms River and Seaside Heights.
In Point Pleasant Beach, Jenkinson’s Aquarium is trying to get fuel for its generators and D batteries to make sure the animals survive the power loss.
North Jersey residents are also facing challenges in the wake of the storm.
For residents who want to offer assistance to those who suffered more greatly during Hurricane Sandy, there are several options.
Bruce Springstein and John Bon Jovi will headline a benefit concert for victims of the hurricane Friday which will air on NBC and its affiliate cable stations. Money raised will go to the American Red Cross.