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Superstorm Sandy: U.S. death toll continues to climb; 2 dead in Ont.

The death toll continues to rise in the U.S. Northeast and millions remain without power in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

At least 80 people have died in the U.S. as of Thursday evening. Sandy earlier left at least 69 people dead in the Caribbean.

At the height of the disaster, more than 8.2 million customers lost electricity — nearly a quarter of those without power were in NYC.

All 10 of the city’s tunnels that carry passengers under the East River were flooded by the storm.

The New York Stock Exchange reopened Wednesday after being shut down Monday and Tuesday. Most airports are also open with limited service.

U.S. President Barack Obama visited New Jersey Wednesday, where he met with first responders and toured flood and fire-damaged areas with Governor Chris Christie.

Christie said train stations in both Jersey City and Hoboken were heavily flooded during the superstorm, while many residents remained without power. Fires continued to burn throughout the state.

Commuters to Manhattan will have to rely on ferries until the train service is restored.

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C. both the Smithsonian Museum and the U.S. National Zoo have re-opened after keeping their doors shut for two days. Officials said all the museums and their collections in both Maryland and Virginia suffered no damage and are in good condition. Some buildings did experience leaks, but maintenance staff got sandbags in place to keep buildings mostly dry inside.

Donation information

Anyone who wants to help victims of the storm in the U.S., the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, World Vision and AmeriCares are among the agencies accepting donations.

Power outages in Ontario

In Toronto, there is only about a handful of customers without electricity as of Thursday evening, Toronto Hydro said.

Toronto Hydro power outage map

The company also warned of fraudulent contractors claiming to work for Toronto Hydro and requesting money for repairs. Toronto Hydro contractors do not collect money from customers for emergency response, the company said. Customers are advised to request identification and report such activity to Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000.

In terms of the rest of the province, nearly all those affected by the outage have had their power restored, according to a statement from Energy Minister Chris Bentley. Hydro One power outage map.

Toronto school closures update

The Toronto District School Board said power has been restored at both Keele Street Public School and Rippleton Public School. Classes resumed Wednesday at those two schools, as well as at all other schools affected by outages Tuesday.

In the Toronto Catholic District School Board, James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic High School reopened on Thursday.

Travellers’ update

Anyone flying out of either out of Pearson International Airport or the Island Airport is advised to check their flight status as cancellations are still an issue. Pearson said airlines have cancelled around 15 per cent of flights to and from Toronto Wednesday.

  • You can check the status of your flight at Pearson airport here.
  • You can check the status of Porter Airlines here.

Sandy’s impact in Ontario

Monday’s powerful winds were blamed for the death of a woman Monday who was struck and killed by a falling sign in the GTA.

Sandy, which transitioned from a hurricane to an intense post-tropical storm, made landfall in New Jersey early Monday evening.

Southern Ontario received the worst damage, with winds in excess of 100 kilometres an hour causing downed trees and power lines, according to a statement from Bentley.

The hardest hit in the province were Toronto, Waterloo, Peterborough, Owen Sound and Sarnia.

The strongest wind gust in Toronto was 91 kilometres an hour at the city’s downtown Island Airport, according to preliminary data from the Canadian Hurricane Centre.

In the province, Western Island in Georgian Bay was blasted with 106 kilometre-an-hour wind gusts, according to the centre.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour is investigating, Wednesday, after a Sarnia hydro worker died from electrocution while repairing a downed power line on a residential street around 11 a.m. His name has not been released.

Provincial Energy Minister Chris Bentley has extended his condolences to the worker’s family over Twitter, stating “this terrible tragedy shows the dangers that hydro workers across Ontario face every day as they dedicate themselves to delivering and maintaining the electricity that keeps our homes and businesses functioning.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the members of the worker’s family, friends, and loved ones,” Bentley added.

Environment Canada says the remnants of the post-tropical storm are continuing to weaken, but are still bringing strong winds and rain to eastern Quebec.

Toronto: What you need to know

Toronto residents should call 911 for emergencies only. For hydro issues, residents can call 416-542-8000, and call 311 with any questions or to report fallen tree branches.