Federal offices and transportation service slowly reopen for some

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Federal offices in Washington D.C. reopened on Oct. 31 after being closed for two days due to Hurricane Sandy.

OPM says employees are expected back but they have the option to take unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework on Oct. 31.

More than 6.2 million East Coast customers remain without electricity, however, according to a latest report (.pdf) from the Energy Department's Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability. 

The full effects of Sandy are uncertain as estimates of economic damage between $10 billion and $20 billion now come from multiple sources. The Associated Press reports the storm has casued at least 55 deaths. And West Virginia must deal with three feet of snow from the storm.

President Obama has approved disaster declarations for ConnecticutNew Jersey, and New York The declarations make federal support for state and local efforts available and direct federal assistance to citizens in those impacted areas. Funds available to individuals include grants for temporary housing and home repair as well as low-cost loans to pay for property damage not covered by insurance.

Con Edison in New York has not updated its customer power loss from 650,000, and also warns trick or treaters that there are as many as 5,000 live wires are down due to the storm.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority says D.C. metro, bus, and MetroAccess services have been restored to a regular weekday schedule as of Oct. 31. SEPTA, Philadelphia's subway system, also resumed service on Oct. 31 in the morning.

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority suspended all subway and rail services, but says buses began partially resuming operations in the evening of Oct. 30. All of the bridges operated by MTA Bridges and Tunnels are open except the Cross Bay Bridge; the transportation service says commuters should expect heavy delays. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and the Queens Midtown Tunnel remain closed.

Amtrak will operate a modified service in the northeast including stops at Newark, N.J.; and Lynchburg, Richmond, and Newport News, Va. Trains will also resume service between Harrisburg, Penn. and Philadelphia, as well as between Boston and Portland, Maine. It has yet to set a date for returned service to New York City's Penn Station from either north or south-bound trains.

The New York Stock Exchange has reopened and resumed trading, but many New York City offices remain closed, as does the Manhattan federal court. The Supreme Court is open for business.

Airports in New York are slowly reviving with J.F.K. and Newark opened with limited service, Stewart International open, but LaGuardia and Teterboro remain closed until further notice.

Travelers should check the Federal Aviation Administration's flight delay map.

Veterans Affairs clinics in the New York Harbor region remain closed but all except the Manahattan facility expect to reopen Nov. 1. Those in the Washington D.C. area and Maryland are open, while there is a mix of closed, open, and partially functional services in Philadelphia.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says its alert for the Oyster Creek plant in coastal New Jersey is still in effect due to water in its facilities. It is sending inspectors to three plants that experienced  shutdowns during the storm, but says all safety features operated properly at the plants: Indian Point 3, in Buchanan, N.Y.; Salem Unit 1, in Hancocks Bridge, N.J.; and Nine Mile Point 1, in Scriba, N.Y. NRC says it has not found any concerns for nuclear materials on sites it monitors.

The DoE and Coast Guard report that New York ports are reopened but traffic is restricted to commercial vessels with specific approval from the USGC. Most ports that Sandy hit are open, with the USCG noting a Rhode Island port as an exception.

In the Midwqest, Coast Guard has asked citizens to stay away from Lake Michigan as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy will cause high winds, dangerous surf, and rip currents.

For more:
visit the National Hurricane Center webpage for Hurricane Sandy
go to the National Weather Service webpage for water updates
check for news alerts from FEMA

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