Winter weather: Patience runs thin after nor'easter knocks out power

Thousands without power

Last Updated Mar 8, 2018 6:58 PM EST

NEW JERSEY -- A one-two punch of nor'easters left more than 800,000 homes and businesses in the dark Thursday evening. Trees and wires are down from the mid-Atlantic to Maine. Some have been struggling to stay warm for almost a week

Thousands are without power in Morris County, New Jersey, because of things like downed trees and downed power lines. One family was hit especially hard.

Mickey Stanek and her daughter, Emily, have been huddled in their living room near the fireplace, living in the dark at their Morristown home since the first nor'easter last week.

"It has been a lot of miscommunication," Emily said. "We probably would have packed up and gone somewhere if they didn't keep sending us updates that things would be back in place."

nor'easter northeast storm new jersey
Zachary Durren shovels the sidewalk in front of the an apartment complex where he works as the super in Butler, N.J., on Thu., March 8, 2018. AP

As soon as the winds died down Thursday morning, utility crews were out working at high velocity. In Chester, CBS News met Jersey Central Power and Light operations manager Joe Hildebrand, who says hundreds of crewmembers -- including teams from Michigan to Florida -- are in the field.

"Very time consuming," Hildebrand said. "And so multiply this by hundreds, or maybe a thousand projects, and that's what we're up against."

Every corner of the Northeast is digging out of the white stuff. Some areas were hit with upwards of 3 feet.

Crews work on downed power lines following a nor'easter. CBS News

Heavy, wet snow that began falling Wednesday forced commuters to go every which way but forward. Some unlucky drivers were left stranded on highways.

At its peak, more than 1 million people were left without power from North Carolina to Maine, including more than 100,000 since the first storm six days ago. Patience is running low.

"Job No. 1 is to restore power but also, our deep frustration -- it turned from frustration and anger on part -- on the uneven preparedness and response," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said. "Not just from the last storm last Friday but even leading up to that."

Debbie McBride's entire neighborhood is out.

"We had power trucks sitting at the end of the street for days," she told CBS News. "We still don't have power."

McBride's street has downed trees and power lines and she's among the 200,000 still in the dark. Crews have shown up though and pledged to have power restored by the end of Thursday night.

Nor'easter causes widespread power outages
  • Michelle Miller

    Michelle Miller is the co-host of "CBS This Morning: Saturday." As an award-winning correspondent based in New York, she has reported for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms. She joined CBS News in 2004.