"We don't know what to expect for the flooding situation as the shorelines have been changed," Christie said. "For many of them, the dunes are gone. So moderate flooding under normal conditions become major in these conditions."
During the past six days, power has been restored to some 2.1 million customers, he said. But, "2.1 million people with power back doesn't mean a damn to you if you don't have your power back," Christie told reporters. "I want to see that 566,000 number come down to close to a quarter of a million by end of the day today, if we could. That's the goal."
New Jersey's largest power provider, PSE&G, said it made a dent in that number Tuesday, restoring power to nearly 90,000 of its customers between 6:30 a.m. and 9:45 p.m. The utility company said it has restored power to about 87% of storm-hit customers so far. "We hope to have 90% of customers restored by tomorrow morning," the company said on its website earlier Tuesday.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number without power across the state Tuesday was 350,000. As many as 20,000 households across New York City and Westchester are not expected to back online by the weekend because of internal electrical damage to their homes, officials said, though Con Edison tweeted Tuesday afternoon that its crews had restored power to 80% of its Westchester customers.
And many of those hunkering down in the dark were stocking up on blankets and fueling their generators on Tuesday as the wintry weather moved closer.
"With this storm coming in, everyone's a little bit nervous," said Kevin King, a 41-year-old Maplewood, New Jersey, resident who was still without power.
"I've got twin preemies (premature infants) being released from a neonatal care unit and no power," he said. "I can't leave the area right now, I have to stay local."
Downed power lines and toppled utility poles still littered Maplewood streets, and King said PSE&G has frustrated residents by constantly shifting timetables of when restoration could be expected.
"If I knew it was going to be two weeks -- I know that's bad -- but at least you can plan for it," he said.
The PATH train between New Jersey and New York restarted limited service under the Hudson River Tuesday, after having been shutdown ahead of the approaching storm last week, while long, slow-moving lines stretched around polling stations across New York City.
Elections Commissioner J.C. Polanco called it "an interesting day" after the Board of Elections temporarily relocated or combined some polling locations because of storm damage.
But bigger concerns loomed over the incoming nor'easter predicted for later Tuesday, albeit a far less severe storm than Sandy.
"When it rains, it pours. When it storms, you get more storms," Cuomo said.
A nor'easter is a strong low pressure system with powerful northeasterly winds coming from the ocean ahead of a storm.
"What has compounded the problem has been the quote-unquote 'panic buying,' " Cuomo added, referring to long lines that continue to wrap around gas stations as residents frantically stockpile reserves.
In Staten Island, resident Katie Fairley, 25, said people were still sleeping in their cars.
She said it felt like Staten Islanders had been forgotten, leaving them largely to fend for themselves.
"Thank God, we have each other here."