A new storm brought heavy rains, snow and powerful winds to New York and New Jersey, leaving over 1700 flights cancelled and thousands of residents without power in the US East Coast, which is still reeling under the devastating impact of hurricane Sandy.
The National Weather Service said the latest storm, named Athena, was moving northward off the East Coast and would bring a wintry mix of precipitation to areas across the northern mid-Atlantic and northeast.
It forecast wind gusts as high as 60 miles per hour along the coast and snowfall across the New England region of up to 6-10 inches over the next two days.
The agency said apart from rain, minor to moderate coastal flooding is also possible in New Jersey and New York.
The mix of rain and snow, which covered buildings, roads and cars in parts of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, also led airlines to cancel flights for a day.
According to airline tracking service FlightAware.com, 1710 flights were cancelled, with major cancellations occurring at New Jersey's Newark Airport, New York's LaGuardia and J F K Airport.
The storm threatened to hamper the slow and difficult recovery process underway in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which a week after being ravaged by superstorm Sandy are still struggling to return to normalcy.
With millions already living without power in the wake of Sandy, the new storm left thousands more residents in the region without electricity.
New Jersey's utility company Public Service Electric and Gas said 181,000 customers were still without power due to hurricane Sandy and the number of additional outages due to Athena is about 60,000 statewide.
The company warned that the number of households without power would "undoubtedly" climb.
The northeaster storm also knocked out electricity to roughly 16,000 customers of New York's largest utility company Consolidated Edison.
In all, 80,000 Con Edison customers had no power last evening, up from about 64,000 earlier in the day, according to the company.
The new storm further exacerbated the damage caused by Sandy with high winds, snow and rain brining down trees, branches and power lines already weakened by Sandy. †††† Con Edison said the northeaster's packing rain and heavy winds are expected to knock down trees into power lines, causing more outages.
The company warned that the new storm could delay customer restorations as crew repairing overhead equipment cannot work safely in high winds.
Over 22,000 homes and businesses around New York lost power last evening, in addition to the more than 640,000 customers who still lacked electricity.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie warned that many people could be left without power due to the storm just as they were trying to rebuild their lives after Sandy.
"I can see us actually moving backwards," Christie said at a news conference on Long Beach Island. "You have to prepare for the storm that's coming in a few hours. I'm waiting for the locusts and pestilence next," he said with a laugh.
While New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has not ordered any general evacuations, the city advised people, who experienced significant flooding during hurricane Sandy, to take shelter with family and friends who do not live in low-lying areas.
The storm also disrupted public transport system in New York, which were slowly beginning to restore services after being rendered inoperable after Sandy.
Snow and rain from the new storm affected MTA Long Island Rail Road and Metro- North Railroad operations in New York.
The busy New York Penn Station was also shut down temporarily due to weather-related disruptions.
While subway service was operating on most lines, bus services were delayed due to road conditions and weather-related traffic volume.
Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police and Director of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, said the public should drive safely in the severe weather conditions.
The new storm comes just as New York and New Jersey, the two states worst-hit by Sandy, were limping back to recovery.
Sandy, one of the worst storms to hit the US East Coast, had wrecked havoc across the region killing over 100 people in the US alone.
It brought the mass transit system to a grinding halt, left millions without power for days in cold weather and caused billions of dollars of economic damage.