Sandy dumps three feet of snow as it moves inland

Storm blamed on 124 deaths from Haiti to Canada

(CNN) - Faced with one of the most daunting recoveries imaginable, ravaged cities in the Northeast must now clean up waterlogged buildings, burned homes and crippled infrastructure -- while millions of people remain without power.

Although some New York City ground transit and airports are coming back to life Wednesday, much of the country's biggest city remains paralyzed.

RELATED | A state-by-state breakdown of Sandy's impact http://tinyurl.com/8uscvgg

Meanwhile, New Jersey neighborhoods are still deluged under feet of water ahead of President Barack Obama's scheduled visit to the state Wednesday.

And states farther west are grappling with Superstorm Sandy's dramatic encore -- a blizzard that dumped 3 feet of snow in West Virginia and left hundreds of thousands in the shivering cold.

The arduous road to recovery seems as formidable as Sandy itself.

After days of canceled flights and stranded travelers, two New York-area airports -- John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty -- are scheduled to reopen Wednesday with limited service.

But New York's LaGuardia airport is expected to remain closed Wednesday because of significant damage.

The city's massive subway network will remain offline for several more days as workers try to recover the inundated underground lifeline. New York's bus service will resume a nearly full schedule Wednesday, but it probably won't accommodate the 5 million commuters who rely on the subway every day.

Likewise, the transportation headaches in New Jersey are far from over.

The rail operations center of NJ Transit was crippled by 8 feet of water, and an emergency generator was submerged, officials said.

Floodwater damaged at least 65 locomotive engines and 257 rail cars. It will be weeks before service resumes on the New Jersey coastline.

"There is major damage on each and every one of New Jersey's rail lines," Gov. Chris Christie said. "Large sections of track were washed out."

Philadelphia commuters are more fortunate. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said regional rail service will resume Wednesday morning.

Still in the dark

Early Wednesday, at least 6.2 million electric customers across the eastern United States were still in the dark.

At one point, about 300,000 people in West Virginia shivered without power as remnants of Superstorm Sandy dumped a barrage of snow.

That number dropped to 236,000 Wednesday morning. But residents can't necessarily count on the power staying on long.

As snow continues falling, so do power lines and tree limbs -- meaning residents are still at risk of going cold.

"The storm absolutely outpaces anything we have ever seen since moving here," said Allison Vencel of Morgantown, West Virginia.

Vencel's electricity has sputtered out four times. But that's not foremost on her mind. The family is wondering how they'll be able drive to her daughter's wedding in Virginia this weekend.

Forecasters predict even more snow for West Virginia on Wednesday, coupled with winds so fierce that the snow will fall sideways.

Sandy's other hazards

The storm that dumped more than 10 feet of water has left many without clean drinking water.

Parts of New York City had no running water for a second day, and cities such as New Brunswick, New Jersey, urged residents to boil drinking water.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a task for those recovering from the storm:

"Clean and disinfect everything that got wet," he tweeted. "Mud left from floodwaters can contain sewage and chemicals."

Workers in Howard County, Maryland, scrambled to stop a sewage overflow caused by a power outage.

The raw sewage spilled at a rate of 2 million gallons per hour, county emergency official Karen Spicer said. It was unclear how much sewage had flowed into the Little Patuxent River.

Mounting devastation

As Sandy sputters away, it leaves behind at least 124 deaths from Haiti to Canada.

The storm killed 67 people in the Caribbean. Then it slammed into the U.S. East Coast, where it left at least 39 dead. And one woman in Canada died after begin struck by debris from the storm.

On Wednesday, the New York Police Department reported a total of 22 deaths in the city from Sandy.

In addition to the scores of deaths, the superstorm is also wreaking financial havoc.

The total cost of property damage and lost business is estimated at $10 billion to $20 billion, according to Eqecat, which provides loss estimates to the insurance industry.

Christie said seeing the damage left behind to New Jersey's treasured beaches was "overwhelming," and the Jersey Shore might never return to its original glory.

"We will rebuild it. No question in my mind, we'll rebuild it," he said. "But for those of us who are my age, it won't be the same. It will be different because many of the iconic things that made it what it was are now gone and washed into the ocean."

Even residents accustomed to major storms were struck by the power of Superstorm Sandy.

"You would not believe the amount of ocean water that

has pushed through onto the shore, down blocks. It has downed trees, power poles. People are just heartbroken here," said Jon Daniel, who lives two blocks from the ocean in Deal, New Jersey.

"Everything is different now. We doubt anything will ever be the same again here."

CNN's Marina Carver, Eden Pontz, Chris Isidore, Daphne Sashin, Dana Ford, Maggie Schneider and Martin Savidge contributed to this report.


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