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Travel Slowly Returning to Normal Post Hurricane Sandy

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Two days after the hurricane hit the East Coast, our air and rail systems are showing signs of getting back to normal. Yesterday afternoon, Reagan National Airport in Washington opened to limited service. In New York on Wednesday, John F. Kennedy and Newark airports also resumed limited service. La Guardia Airport remains closed, but will open tomorrow despite significant flooding.

FlightStats report that there are now 2,664 cancellation for Wednesday with more to come. Just 22 flights have been canceled for Thursday, which is a significant improvement from previous days. Overall, there were 18,445 flight cancellations due to Hurricane Sandy for North America since Saturday.

For those turning to Amtrak, there is also some progress. This morning, the company posted a statement that it is now providing Northeast Regional service between Newark, N.J., and points north and south, though there is no service between Newark and Boston and no Acela Express service along the Northeast corridor. Also, an “unprecedented” amount flooding in tunnels and tracks in New York is resulting in extensive work and canceling all service out of New York Penn Station.

Most commuter rail based out of New York’s Penn Station and Grand Central Station had been down, but MetroNorth and LIRR are now set to resume limited service this afternoon.

New York's East Village Flooding During Hurricane Sandy. Image credit: Wikimedia, user: David Shankbone

Even though public transit is improving, millions remain without power. Power outages in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have shattered records with over 3 million without power yesterday. In New York City, 750,000 residents are without power with most of the power outages in Manhattan below 39th street. According to ConEd, Manhattan customers will have power restored in three to four days, though other areas could be out for up to a week.

Public transit is also improving in New York. Today, buses are running on regular routes, though the MTA cautions that passengers will experience delays, detours and crowding. Tomorrow, the subway will start limited service, with no subways operating below 34th street due to power outages. Buses will be used to take passengers between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Progress is being made; three of the seven subways tunnels have been pumped.

Lastly, today is Halloween but the Northeast will experience delayed celebrations. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has issued an executive order postponing Halloween celebrations until Monday. In Massachusetts, towns hard hit by Hurricane Sandy– Holyoke, Norwell, Methuen, Leominster, Lunenburg, Ashby and Fitchburg—are choosing to postpone trick-or-treating until Saturday. In New York City, the famous Greenwich Village Halloween Parade has also been postponed for a later date. With Halloween delayed and postponed, take heart in knowing there are year-round haunted attractions you can visit.

For more Hurricane Sandy coverage, check out:

By Lily J. Kosner for