The Perfect Storm That Changed Lives Forever
Photos from Pennsylvania and surrounding areas
My Heart and Prayers Go Out to those in New Jersey and New York
The Perfect Storm Sandy, caused catastrophic damage that will never be forgotten. On Friday, two days before the hurricane, I watched the news and weather with tremendous anxiety. A severe tropical storm had formed in the southern Atlantic Ocean and it was destined to hit our area which included Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Manhattan and other northeastern cities. One local weatherman indicated that we would be near the eye of the storm which ended up in Margate, New Jersey about forty minutes from us. Another newsman said, "the storm had the potential to hit us like ground zero," was in #New York after 911. Whether this was true or not, I continued to gather such things as canned goods, matches, water, clothing, personal papers and a little money for our emergency kit. I wanted to make sure we had necessities in case we had to flee to a shelter. We brought in all our outdoor furnishings and trash cans to eliminate any debris from flying around due to high winds during the storm.
We received light rain and wind on Saturday but nothing that would cause major concern. By Sunday, light wind and rain still swirled around our home. After our spiritual meeting at the local Kingdom Hall, we were lovingly warned by our elders; to take this hurricane seriously and be prepared because It is rare that we are faced with such a delimma as hurricanes. Usually they die in strength before these type of storms reach the northeastern states. Sandy, was different she threatened to head directly for us. By Monday afternoon, the wind and rain had increased in its intensity. My attention was captivated by the weather and news. I wanted to not only keep prayers going up to my Heavenly Father Jehovah but also remain informed.
Lights flickered as the wind and rain mingled forcefully. Windows and walls shook. My prayers became more intense. Other family members were obviously praying as well because silence surrounded me. I vehemently decided to prepare a full meal of baked chicken, stuffing and mustard greens. This would help alleviate the stress I felt. My daughters decided to watch the movie, Beaches. I was not in the mood for such entertainment. After dinner, I decided to take a nap so that I would be prepared to leave, if it became necessary due to structural damage. Right before midnight, the storm was in its full effect.
Prayer consumed my thoughts as I laid downstairs on my sofa. I was indecisive about where to sleep for the night, due to fear of trees that might fall from my neighbor's yard, in the midst of this terrible storm. After my insecurities of calamity subsided, I finally decided to go upstairs and sleep in my bed. I said a prayer and felt reassurred. I realized that I had to give my anxieties over to God, so that I could fall asleep peacefully. Tuesday morning arrived as I opened my eyes with no semblance of tragedy. I immediately thanked my Heavenly Father, in the name of his precisous son Jesus Christ.
I realized it was futile to be so overwhelmed with fear if my faith is truly strong. I immediately got up, showered and got dressed. I wanted to see if the notorious river down the street from me had flooded our area. It had not, although the water was still unusually high. I decided to drive in the area where my sister resided because flooding always occurred there. Fortunately, not one house seem to be effected. I thanked God once again for answering my prayers. Yes, trees were down and thousands were without electricity but my family and neighbors were alive. One of my spiritual brothers also contacted us to make sure everything was well which I appreciated. It was not until I returned home and turned on the news, that tragedy was thrusted again into my life. Devastation loomed on the television like the grim reaper. Death and destruction may not have been in my immediate neighborhood but cities that were less than an hour from me were effected.
Hurricane Sandy's Devastation
More than 109 people were killed. One hundred and ten homes in Point Breeze, Queens, burnt to the ground as firemen watched helplessly due to the high winds. Water that was more than chest high filled homes which caused residents to flee. More than 46 miles of track for the trains which is part of mass public transportation in New York was destroyed due to flooding. Major airports were closed from Philadelphia, Washington, DC, all the way up to Boston. Millions were without electricity. I watched on the news as the National Guard rescued victims from a tall ship that had encountered the storm. The ship's captain was unfortunately killed and this Hollywood teasure featured in such movies as Mutiny On the Bounty and Pirates of the Carribean, was completely destroyed. Atlantic City's famous boardwalk built in the 1800's was torn to shreds with only a portion of it remaining. Homes were mangled and discovered in the middle of major roadways. Repugnant smells of gas penetrated neighborhoods from one end of the shore to other. Ground zero unfortunately, had been the Jersey shore. Staten Island in New York, had really taken the brunt of Sandy's devastation. Boats were thrown on top of each other like a child's toys. In some places the water was more than 8 feet deep. Blocks were completely submerged, as residents who decided to stay in their homes and ride the storm out, remained stranded. Now comments of regret penetrated the air as gas leaks and darkness surrounded them. Hurricane Sandy was one of the largest hurricanes ever recorded. Many were unfortunately killed and some of the most expensive real estate from New Jersey to New York was destroyed. Four days later, millions were still in the dark and without power. Brian Williams of Rock Center expressed how, "Burned black patches where homes use to be. Subways are still filled with water. Hurricane Sandy is a wake up call for the city of New York and New Jersey." What lesson can we learn from this morbid tragedy? Some professionals expressed that storm surge barriers are needed to control the potential of flooding during such storms. One expert suggested that, "the sea level could rise between 3-6 feet within the next century. This could be catastrophic for more than 21 and a half million people who reside in the New York and New Jersey areas. Residents that fled before the storm were allowed to return after more than three days. People must now not only line up for public transportation within these areas but also food and water. Gas stations ran out of gas due to power outages still at numerous stations. Traffic nightmares emerged as people returned to view their homes which have been ravaged by this hurricane. The grotesque scene of disillusioned faces of parents and children, upon their discovery that they had lost everything were shown on the news. It will take billions for these families to rebuild. The losses experienced during this hurricane will never be forgotten. May we keep each and every one of these individuals in our prayers.
In conclusion, why was Sandy, called The Perfect Storm? Could it possibly have been compared to the ever popular novel, "The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the sea." This bestseller did eventually become a major motion picture starring George Clooney. "It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high, a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it 'the perfect storm.'" What we experienced this past week was not a movie but reality. Therefore, preparation and prayer is mandatory. We should utilize such websites as FEMA and click on, www.floodsmart.gov or call (1-800-427-2419) to prepare emergency kits for ourselves and our families. Evacuation plans, along with preparation for such emergencies are featured on this site. We are living during a time where hurricanes, floods and earthquakes will exist. Jesus foretold in Matthew chapter 24, that these type of events would occur in the last days of this system. It is imperative that we, "Draw close to God and he will draw close to you." (James 4:8) Whether we decide to serve God or not is a personal decision. After all, "The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13 (The Holy Bible Revised Standard Version) Let each of us remain spiritually awake, alert to the times we are living in and prepared for diasters such as hurricane Sandy.
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