Winter Storm Athena has followed on the heels of Hurricane Sandy, two weather phenomenons striking out of season back to back in a series of events that have been dubbed a meteorological “sucker punch.”
Winter Storm Athena follows the late-season disaster that was Sandy, pummeling an already battered region coping with thousands upon thousands of residents displaced by damage and flooding and an impaired system of mass transit.
While Winter Storm Athena is nowhere near Sandy in scope, those in the region subject to its effects are in a vulnerable place when it comes to fielding the inches of wet snow, ice, hail, and sleet now blanketing the area.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has been on the ground assisting residents since Sandy hit early last week, joked to reporters about the ill-timed Winter Storm Athena. Christie quipped:
“I am waiting for the locusts and pestilence next … We may take a setback in the next 24 hours.”
Winter Storm Athena’s blanket of heavy, wet snow is not an uncommon weather sight for the area (albeit later in the season more commonly), but the “sucker punch” was a rough road for those with already damaged power lines, train systems, and other weakened bits of infrastructure that have only just started to recover.
And, as a kick in the pants for many who had lost power in Sandy, 60,000 people lost electricity again as Winter Storm Athena hit, many just as their service had been restored.
Many are coping with the one-two hit with a sense of humor, like Danny Arnedos of Oyster Bay on Long Island. He told MSNBC:
“Kind of laughing about it at this point … To go from a hurricane to a nor’easter and driving in the snow in 10 days is pretty unbelievable.”
But in the Rockaways, some of which still look like a scene out of Mad Max, residents are not as readily coping. James Alexander, a Rockaways resident, told the network Athena was piling on the misery after Sandy:
“It’s like a sequel to a horror movie … Here we are, nine days later — freezing, no electricity, no nothing, waiting for another storm.”
Winter Storm Athena is expected to start making her way out of the region later this afternoon.