* Death toll rises to 110, cold temperatures arrive
* Fuel flowing again after New York Harbor reopened
* Manhattan skyline relit, subways mostly restored
* Disaster victims, first responders under strain
By Joseph Ax and Jeanine Prezioso
NEW YORK, Nov 3 Fuel supplies headed toward
disaster zones in the U.S. Northeast on Saturday and a million
customers regained electricity as near freezing temperatures
threatened to add to the misery of coastal communities
devastated by superstorm Sandy.
The power restorations relit the skyline in Lower Manhattan
for the first time in nearly a week and allowed 80 percent of
the New York City subway service to resume, but more than a
million homes and businesses still lacked power, down from 3.5
million on Friday.
The power outages combined with a heating oil shortage meant
some homes could go cold as unseasonably frigid weather sets in.
Forecasters saw temperatures dipping into the
upper 30s Fahrenheit (around 3 degrees Celsius) on Saturday
night with freezing temperatures expected next week.
In Staten Island, the New York City borough whose half a
million residents bore the brunt of Sandy, people tried to stay
Tom Clark, 43, and family members were burning wood in a
steel drum on their front yard. Clark said the family and their
dogs planned to go stay at his mother-in-law's heated house.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano visited
Staten Island on Friday amid assertions by some angry residents
that they had been ignored by emergency relief workers.
The weather forecast remains bleak. An aggressive
early-season "Nor'easter" storm was expected to hit the battered
New England coast next week with strong winds and heavy rain.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Saturday urged
those without power and heat - especially the elderly and other
vulnerable groups - to head to shelters where they could keep
warm and receive food.
"Right now it's starting to really get cold," he said.
In New York and New Jersey, more than 18,000 people remained
in shelters, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator
Craig Fugate said.
BLOOMBERG CRITICIZES UTILITY
"There's no heating oil around," said Vincent Savino, the
president of Statewide Oil and Heating, which usually supplies
2,000 buildings across New York City. "I don't know how much
fuel we have left: maybe a day or two."
The post-storm chaos also threatened to jumble Tuesday's
election, with President Barack Obama and Republican challenger
Mitt Romney locked in a tight race.
The storm's death toll rose to at least 110 with nine more
deaths reported in New Jersey on Saturday, raising the total in
that state to 22. Bloomberg put the New York City death toll at
Sandy killed 69 people in the Caribbean before turning north
and hammering the U.S. Eastern Seaboard on Monday with 80
mile-per-hour (130-kph) winds and a record surge of seawater
that swallowed oceanside communities in New Jersey and New York,
and flooded streets and subway tunnels in New York City.
Bloomberg praised utility Consolidated Edison for
making "significant progress" in restoring power to customers,
but warned New Yorkers that it would be days before everyone had
electricity again and fuel shortages ended.
But he had sharp words for the Long Island Power Authority,
LIPA, which he said "has not acted aggressively enough" in its
power restoration efforts, above all in the Rockaways, a
beachfront community in the borough of Queens.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered rationing that
allows only half of all cars to buy gasoline each day.
"I was there (at the Jersey Shore) yesterday and I will tell
you, it looked like we had been bombed," Christie said "There
are homes in Bay Head on the beach that had been driven by the
storm surge into the houses across the street."
Obama won praise for the federal storm response but the
devastation was so widespread that angry storm victims continued
to appear on television days after landfall. The storm damaged
or destroyed thousands of homes and displaced voters, forcing
election officials to improvise at early polling stations.
Christie ordered county clerks in New Jersey to open on
Saturday and Sunday to accommodate early voters and ensure a
"full, fair and transparent open voting process."
Tight gasoline supplies have tested the patience of drivers
- fistfights have broken out in mile-long lines of cars - but a
reopened New York Harbor meant fuel was reaching terminals.
To alleviate one of the country's worst fuel chain
disruptions since the energy shortage in the 1970s, some 8
million gallons of gasoline and other petroleum products have
been delivered since Friday, with much more expected this
weekend, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
RUNNING ON EMPTY
Cuomo also announced the Defense Department would set up
five mobile gas stations in the metropolitan area, providing
people with up to 10 gallons of free gas. The New York State
Division of Military and Naval Affairs later said emergency
personnel and first responder vehicles would have priority.
At least 1,000 drivers queued up at the Freeport Armory in
Long Island, only to be told the gasoline would not arrive for
at least eight hours more, one driver said.
"There's just so many people getting very frustrated. People
don't know what to do," said Lauren Popkoff, 49, a history
teacher who had been in line for four hours.
Bloomberg said the fuel shortages would be easing soon.
According to the U.S. Energy Informational Administration
the number of dry stations in the New York metropolitan area
plunged to 38 percent on Saturday from 67 percent on Friday. The
U.S. Department of Energy confirmed on Saturday that most
filling stations in the metro area had fuel.
New York City gave its overstretched police by canceling
Sunday's marathon, a popular annual race that had become a
lightning rod for critics concerned it was a diversion of
People are also worried about crime. In one hard-hit Queens
neighborhood, a garage full of debris stood open with a sign
next to it reading: "LOOTERS WILL BE CRUCIFIED - GOD HELP YOU."
Obama visited FEMA headquarters in Washington for a briefing
before heading to the Midwest on Saturday for a final weekend of
campaigning. He told officials to cut through government "red
tape" to help storm-hit areas.
The Obama administration directed the purchase of up to 12
million gallons (45 million liters) of unleaded fuel and 10
million gallons of diesel, to be trucked to New York and New
The government also waived rules that barred foreign-flagged
ships from taking gasoline, diesel and other products from the
Gulf of Mexico to Northeast ports.
Consolidated Edison, battling what it called the worst
natural disaster in the company's 180-year history, restored
electricity to many Manhattan neighborhoods, though some 11,000
customers on the island were without service.
The company said 270,000 customers in New York City and
Westchester County still had no power, down from nearly a
million who were cut off by the storm.