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Winter Storm Athena slams northeast states days after Sandy

By RT.com | Last updated: Nov 14, 2012 - 11:30:26 AM

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Much of the U.S. was still in recovery barely a week after Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc up and down the East Coast, but things might not be going back to normal anytime soon: a powerful nor'easter struck the region.

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Four inches of snow covers piles of debris from Superstorm Sandy in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. on Thursday Nov. 8, 2012, a day after a nor’easter hit the stormweary state. Emergency dunes seemed to have held during the recent storm, and flooding that had been feared did not materialize. Photo: AP Wide World Photos/Wayne Parry

Only nine days after power lines, roads, businesses and houses were hit hard from North Carolina through New England thanks to Sandy, a nor’easter storm moved through New York and New Jersey once again bringing high winds, dropping heavy sleet and snow.

Meteorologists said Winter Storm Athena hit parts of the Atlantic Coast starting Nov. 7 and continued through the next morning, targeting specifically the greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, with both Boston and New York impacted to a degree as well. According to weather expert Tom Niziol, meteorologist Tom Moore and the Weather Channel’s Global Forecast Center scientists, up to six inches of snowfall combined with winds gusting over 35 mph hit parts of the country that saw substantial damage during the earlier super storm.

By the morning of Nov. 7, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, 715,205 were still without power because of combined effects of Sandy’s job on the electrical grid and infrastructure days earlier and the nor’easter. Even if Athena wasn’t as strong as her predecessor, the colossal damage caused only days earlier made much of the area an easy target, even if the second storm was comparably weaker.

Across the entire region battered by Sandy, there were 715,205 as of Thursday morning due to the hurricane and nor’easter, situation report.

In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the N.Y. Police Department to advise residents in some trouble areas to be prepared to relocate if the storm picked up.

“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,” the mayor said Nov.6.

New York was still being described as disastrous a week after Sandy struck the Big Apple and cut power for a good chunk of the country. The storm also resulted in more than 100 deaths and, by some estimates, upwards of $50 billion in damages. In the Rockaways section of the Queens borough, Mayor Bloomberg asked 600 people residing in four health centers to be evacuated because the region simply cannot experience anything like what happened a week earlier.

“These four facilities are in the most heavily-impacted area of the Rockaways and have been successfully operating on generator power. A Nor’easter storm surge could compromise their generators, putting elderly residents at risk,” he said. According to CBS News, none of those facilities were evacuated for Sandy.

In preparation for Athena, Mayor Bloomberg announced that all New York parks would be closed for 24 hours beginning on noon Nov. 7.

“We could have some snow on the ground and certainly some snow on the trees. That makes trees who already have their base flooded more likely to fall over, and that’s something that we’re really going to worry about,” he said, according to the network.

Linda Gilmore, a spokesperson for Atlantic County in southern New Jersey, told the Associated Press the last thing the region needed right now is a nor’easter.

“We have almost everyone who possibly can be reconnected back on. The idea we could now be facing power outages again does not come at a good time,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of The Weather Channel, expert storm watcher Tom Niziol told NBC News of Athena, “It’s not a massive nor’easter by winter standards, but at this time of year immediately after Sandy’s wrath and destruction, this isn’t what we want,”

“Mother Nature is not cutting us a break along the East Coast,” he said. (RT.com)

Related news:

Pummeled by Superstorm Sandy, millions face fear, uncertainty in region rocked by calamity (FCN, 11-13-2012)

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