According to meteorologists, the storm that threatened northeast coastal residents is now predicted to veer farther offshore than earlier projections had indicated. Even so, weather experts say winds could still gust to 50 mph in New York and New Jersey Wednesday afternoon and evening.
In several storm-ravaged areas, voter turnout was heavy on Tuesday. Many saw exercising their civic duty as a sign of normalcy amid lingering devastation.
Lines were long in Point Pleasant, N.J., where residents from the Jersey Shore communities of Point Pleasant Beach and Mantoloking had to cast their ballots due to damage in their hometowns. Many there still have no power.
In New York, efforts were under way to make voting easier for residents. With so many voters displaced by Sandy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo allowed voters in disaster areas to cast their ballots at any polling place in the state.
"It's important that we vote, it's important that the system works," Cuomo, a Democrat, said. "This is a critical election ... and who's in charge matters."
Sarah Brewster of Long Beach, N.Y., was shaken when she entered a school to vote and noticed the clocks were all stopped at 7:27 -- the time on Oct. 29 when everyone in her community lost power. Tears streamed down her face as she emerged from the school cafeteria, saying voting is "part of our civic responsibility in the midst of all this crisis."
In hard hit areas, voters took shuttle buses to portable election sites set up in tents. New York City Elections Commissioner J.C. Polanco said lines were long in places like the Rockaways area of Queens, where nine polling locations had been merged into one. Other voters in the Rockaways and one precinct in the Bronx were voting in tents powered by emergency generators.
"We are asking New Yorkers to be patient," Polanco said. "People are going to be standing in line for very long time."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.