Superstorm Sandy: Nine Months Later
History of Superstorm Sandy
Sandy began on October 22 as a tropical depression off the Coast of Nicaragua. It became a Category 1 hurricane as it moved across the Caribbean. As it continued its move it hit Haiti with twenty inches of rain and nearly 50 people died in mudslides.
Sandy continued its non-stop haul with winds up to 110 mph. As Sandy moved away from the Bahamas it headed northeast off the coast of Florida. As it traveled off the coast of North Carolina it met up with other weather factors and picked up momentum and became more destructive. As Sandy continued on to Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and New York, a full moon added to Sandy's surge. It now moved from a hurricane to a superstorm.
By October 27 both New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey's Governor Chris Christy warned people to prepare for the worst. Evacuations were ordered along the shorelines of both states. At 8:00 p.m. on October 29 Sandy hit near Atlantic City. New Jersey and New York become the hardest hit areas as Sandy pounded the shoreline. Accuweather stated that Sandy was the strongest hurricane to ever hit the northeast above North Carolina. A storm with a path of over 1200 miles was unprecedented.
When Sandy hit it destroyed areas that had never seen such powerful storms before. Boardwalks were actually washed away, berms overflowed and flooded communities, some streets had as much as five feet of water. Other parts of the Jersey shore were under water while some were completely destroyed. I am focusing on the Jersey shore because I have visited it since and know what the current status is in some parts.
Damage From Superstorm Sandy
Donations to Manahawkin
People across the Nation sent donations to the stricken Northeast Coast. Food, clothing and other necessities were delivered in person, shipped by tractor trailer, air lifted in, and delivered through organizations like the Red Cross.
One notable donation came from Actor Alec Baldwin. Long known for his generosity, Mr. Baldwin wanted to help and through Governor Chris Christie he was told about the Manahawkin Community Center which was destroyed by the storm. Mr. Baldwin donated $250,000 to help rebuild the Mill Creek Community Center.
Manahawkin, New Jersey Now
Manahawkin is located in Stafford Township in Ocean County,New Jersey. Manahawkin provides the only access to the popular Long Beach Island, which by the way is said to have the softest sand in New Jersey, just saying. Manahawkin is noted for its canals/lagoons located behind every street. The water comes from the Manahawkin Bay.
Just for informational purposes, Manahawkin is a Lenape Indian name that some now believe means "fertile land sloping into the water". I give you this background so you can relate it to the devastation Superstorm Sandy left behind in Manahawkin. Many homes saw four or more feet of water in them. Boats were taken from their moorings and moved to other locations by the rising waters and wind, some landing on porches or in other people's backyards.
People's immediate needs of food, clothing, and shelter were met by donations or family members. The National Guard was sent in to help. What about the things not seen on TV? The mail for example? Obviously there was a problem delivering mail to unoccupied or inaccessible homes. What happened to pets? A pet rescue began shortly after the storm. People were not allowed to return to their homes and some spent weeks not knowing what they were facing. Eventually they were allowed to "grab and go" but not to stay.
What about now, nine months later? Manahawkin is one of the towns in New Jersey that are still recovering from the storm. Damage was so severe that many people just walked away and left flooded homes as they stood. Some demolished their homes to build new. Others kept their homes but raised them to meet insurance standards in case of future flooding, and others still, gutted their homes and started fresh hoping there will never be another Superstorm like Sandy.
The Town's budget, like so many others in the same situation, is being overtaken by the expense of post storm clean up; additional people needed to be employed to help with paperwork for the Federal Emergency Management Fund (FEMA) for example. The cost of insurance increased as a result of the storm, many commercial buildings sustained damage that needed to be repaired, and equipment was either damaged or destroyed.
For Sale - Century 21 Listing
The Streets of Manahawkin
There are stark contrasts on the streets of Manahawkin and no where is it more evident than the homes after the storm. Real Estate listings show many sales stating "house ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, owner unable to rebuild". The listing right next to that is for a beautiful home on the bay with six bedrooms, a home theater, full appliance package and protected dock with boat lift - this gorgeous home was somehow not touched by Sandy. See the photo to the right. No damage there!
For those homes that are not being sold there are varying degrees of reconstruction. As I said earlier, some are being raised. Of those being raised, some are just shells that still need to be repaired and others were whole houses raised for safety sake.
Houses being raised
Devastation Still Lingers
As you walk the streets of Manahawkin you see many empty lots where houses once stood. Some are for sale, others waiting to have new houses built on them. Then there is a series of houses with red stickers in the window marking them for demolition. As my four year old grandson says as we're riding by, "that one's safe for people Mommy, that one's not."
Around ManahawkinClick thumbnail to view full-size
Were you, or anyone you know, affected by Superstorm Sandy?
The Future of Manahawkin
Manahawkin, like other New Jersey towns, will rebuild. People will come back to this tourist town as the landscape begins to return to normal. That return will probably take five years or so but construction will continue and people who love living near the beach won't give up.
The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce has set up a website with recovery information and resources in the wake of the storm. - See more at: http://www.njchamber.com/index.php/resources/superstorm-sandy-recovery-resources#sthash.cckrttfW.dpuf
Stories abound about the generosity and concern people have for each other as they rebuild their community. The First Financial Foundation, a credit union, wanted to help some of its members. In early 2013, donation boxes for cash/change deposits were placed in all five of First Financial’s branch locations with the proceeds going to members in need. This is just one small example of the spirit and generosity in Manahawkin.
Many will rebuild their homes, bigger and better, and many newcomers will buy houses or build. This community will continue to be the beautiful place it has always been.
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Three Months After Sandy in Manahawkin
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More on Sandy
Helping During the Sandy Recovery - http://tillsontitan.hubpages.com/hub/Helping-During-The-Sandy-Recovery
Hurricane Sandy Destroys Long Beach Island - http://thecleanlife.hubpages.com/hub/Hurricane-Sandy-Destroys-Long-Beach-Island
The aftermath of Frankenstorm Hurricane Sandy and recovery efforts - http://cloudexplorer.hubpages.com/hub/The-aftermath-of-Frankenstorm-Hurricane-Sandy
Hurricane Sandy Victims Abandoned by Congress - http://lrc7815.hubpages.com/hub/Hurricane-Sandy-Victims-Abandoned-by-Contress