New Jersey orders mandatory water limitsUnited Press International
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ordered mandatory water restrictions statewide because power outages from Superstorm Sandy had sapped water-treatment systems.
Any water use that's not essential will not be allowed, he said Wednesday night. "Maybe take a little bit of a shorter shower," Christie suggested.
"The most important thing we can do right now for everyone is conserving water,'' he said.
Christie said 12 water-treatment systems across the state issued boil-water advisories.
About a quarter of the state's population -- more than 2 million people -- remained without power early Thursday, and more than 6,000 were still in shelters, state emergency officials said.
At least eight people died, and officials said they feared the toll would rise as additional home searches were carried out.
The total number of deaths attributed to Sandy rose to at least 72, with nearly half in New York City, as authorities identified new victims in flooded homes and vehicles.
All told, some 6 million households and businesses remained without power across the Northeast, and authorities warned it could take a week or more to restore service for many.
The storm led to power failures in at least 17 states.
In New Jersey, Christie praised President Barack Obama, who traveled to the states Wednesday to survey storm damage with him.
Christie, normally a sharp critic of the president, said he had talked to Obama six times since Sunday.
"The president couldn't have been better today," Christie said Wednesday night.
Christie said he and Obama were "big boys" and their political differences had not stopped them from working together to deal with the storm.
He also said he was aware of the political interest in his sudden alliance with Obama.
"I'm aware of all the atmospherics. I'm not in a coma. But the fact is, I don't care," The New York Times quoted Christie as saying.
"There will be some folks who will criticize me for complimenting him. Well, you know what? I speak the truth. That's what I always do," Christie said.
Obama viewed the destruction with Christie, then met with residents in a community-center shelter set up in Brigantine, 5 miles from Atlantic City.
"The entire country has been watching what's been happening," Obama said. "Everybody knows how hard Jersey has been hit."
Boardwalks along beaches had been blown away. Amusement parks, arcades and restaurants became rubble. Barrier island bridges buckled, keeping residents from even inspecting their property damage, the Times said.
In Hoboken, N.J., a city of about 50,000 across the Hudson River from Manhattan, thousands of residents remained stranded in apartment buildings Thursday, cut off from help by streets still waist-high in contaminated water.
"This is historic," Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. "We are trying to reach everyone as quickly as we can."
In New York City, fires burned in parts of the outlying borough of Queens Wednesday not far from where more than 100 homes were destroyed Tuesday by fire whose inferno-like flames were whipped by Sandy's 70 mph winds.
Looters hit some storm-ravaged businesses in Brooklyn and Long Island, several TV stations reported.
Gasoline was increasingly hard to come by -- some cars ran out of gas while waiting for hours in mile-long lines.
Closed subways were to begin limited service Thursday. City bus service was already back in operation. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a transportation emergency late Wednesday, authorizing the state to waive transit fares through Friday as an inducement to get people to take mass transit.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered Manhattan-bound cars on all bridges except the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey to have at least three passengers from 6 a.m. to midnight Thursday and Friday.
"The streets just cannot handle the number of cars that have tried to come in," Bloomberg said at a news conference Wednesday.
LaGuardia Airport was to reopen with limited service Thursday, a day after Kennedy, Newark Liberty and Stewart international airports resumed limited service.
Most other East Coast airports were also operating Thursday.
The number of canceled flights declined Thursday, with fewer than 500 reported canceled, mostly to the East Coast, flight monitoring website Flightaware.com said. This compares with 2,801 flights reported canceled Wednesday, 7,074 Tuesday and 7,884 Monday.