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Falling Temperatures Put Tri-State Area Residents At Risk; Some Decide To Leave

No Power, Cold Temperatures

Some hurricane-ravaged residents decided to leave as the temperature dropped. (Credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — On top of gasoline shortages, power outages and lawlessness in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, falling temperatures on Sunday put people at risk even more.

And as CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, while many have tried to stick it out in their cold, dark homes, some people have decided to give up and get out with the plummeting temperatures.

On Summit Avenue in Waldwick, N.J., the storm looked like it happened only yesterday. But for almost a full week, neighbors live with this giant downed tree, this smashed transformer and no power.

“We’re furious. We’re frustrated. The tree came down Monday night,” said Danielle Rosato of Waldwick. “My husband has called PSE&G, and they say that it could be next Friday — next Friday, the 9th.”

For six long nights, Rosato and many neighbors huddled in dark homes, firing up candles and lying on extra blankets. Now one by one, they have left.

“I grab a couple of things here and off we go,” Rosato said.

More than anything else, the cold is simply too much for homeowner Steven Martin.

“When you feel like it’s time to go, don’t be dangerous,” Martin said. “Just go.”

It’s a tough combination, with power restoration too slow and temperatures too low, forcing people who thought they could stick it out at home to come to a disaster shelter or warming center.

In Mahwah, a police training facility was where people were getting meals, showers and warmth.

At a shelter in Jersey City, donated blankets were among the most sought after items.

Gov. Chris Christie, who toured hard-hit Hoboken, assured the public he is leaning on big utility companies, but pressure from him only goes so far.

“I still don’t have power at my house,” Christie said. “I’m not happy about it, but it’s the way it is.”

Christie said New Jersey’s power push is 11,000 utility workers strong, with 8,000 of them here from out of state.

As the crisis continued, Christie warned everyone to make keeping warm a priority, and check in on the elderly and homebound as it gets even colder.

1010 WINS Reporter Steve Sandberg was in Hoboken New Jersey…

Meanwhile, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was reluctant to plunge back into the controversy over the last-minute cancellation. He put off questions about the marathon at a Saturday briefing and focused on what he said were more pressing matters.

“I spoke with many people who were worried and frustrated and cold,” Bloomberg said. “There is no power there and temperatures are dropping. Even those who have generators are having a hard time getting fuel.”

The city opened warming shelters in areas without power and Bloomberg was urging older residents without heat to move to them. The city also was handing out 25,000 blankets to residents who insist on staying in powerless homes.

“So please, I know sometimes people are reticent to take advantage of services. The cold really is something that is dangerous,” he said after a visit to the Rockaways section of Queens. Federal officials including Federal Emergency Management Agency director Craig Fugate and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were to tour parts of the region Sunday.

Though New York and New Jersey bore the brunt of the destruction, at its peak, the storm reached 1,000 miles across, killed more than 100 people in 10 states, knocked out power to 8.5 million and canceled nearly 20,000 flights. More than 12 inches of rain fell in Easton, Md., and 34 inches of snow fell in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Economic damage was estimated at $50 billion, putting the storm among the most expensive disasters in the U.S.

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)