- Education and Science
Sandy, the 2012 Storm with Two Names
The monster Hurricane, that storm which started as FrankenStorm and became simply known as Sandy..
The change in these two names may not have comforted many at all. Early in on Thursday, October 25th, 2012 Officials started urging residents in our area to prepare for this storm. They were naming this storm "Frankenstorm" due to the fact that it was occurring very near Halloween. The hurricane was headine towards us relentlessly.
The weather forecasters were saying that there would be heavy rains, high winds, coastal surges and power outages. They believed it would be a Once in a Lifetime event. This was due to the fact that Hurricane Sandy was directly on its way in a path toward the Northeast, and a cold front was going to intercept with with it.
Personally I never expected how serious this storm would be. We have had warnings and hurricanes during my life, and were told to prepare, and we were fortunately missed multiple times. But this was the worse, and this time the outcome will be remembered by so many, young and old.
The storm surge associated with this Huge storm caused most of the destruction, especially along Long Island, Staten Island, Lower Manhattan, the Jersey Shore and southeast New England. Falling trees and power lines affected many homes and businesses as well.
I have a few pictures to show, for a little comparison. Not wanting to dramatize anyone's personal loss. I just wanted to tell some of my story. My family and friends were unharmed, and thankful to be able to say so.
All photos are my own personal property all rights reserved
We started preparing as the officials were urging... We are formerly a camping family, so we have the bulk of supplies that we would need for a power outage.
I did the run for batteries, extra food that I would be able to cook on my stovetop, which is gas, also we could BBq... I checked for my flashlights, and lanterns. I made sure my portable power pack was charged. We had water on hand...
Most people started hitting the supermarkets and soon enough, by the weekend, the shelves were looking rather bare.
We also have a fireplace for heat if needed, so we made sure we brought some wood near the house and covered it in case of the rain..
We have a generator to keep the refrigerator running and some other small appliances plus the t.v. and lights, so we were set. I made some ice in case we ran out of gas anyway...We had no idea at this point how long we would end up being without power..
Early Sunday Morning - beginning of the wind and tides
The storm was just beginning to greet us, Sunday, October 28th, not quite near yet, and we went to check on my relatives who live on the north of the Great South Bay and Fire Island.
The Water on the end of the dock was already rising. The dock is behind me here. You can see from the picture that the water is already spilling into the street. The waves were lapping up against the bulkhead in the back of the house which is only 20 feet from the back door.
Water Rising Slowly
This is their back "yard". You can see in the distance how the water is beating on the dock. On a normal day it is pretty calm, being that it is between the Ocean and the island. The water is also a few feet lower than this.
You are now looking towards the dock I was standing on in the distance with the tree on it, just over the bushes.
Between the time we went out for this visit and late that night, we returned to our home to secure anything that would fly around in the winds. The news kept accentuating the fact that the storm would be a huge hit..
We got emails from the power company and on the news they were stating that there was potential for large numbers of outages and possibly for days. The day before the storm they were actually envisioning that we may lose power for 7 to 10 days in fact... They were warning people to be prepared.
We returned to my relatives that evening, as they were trying to remove as many valuables that they could. The area was being evacuated.
The water had become extremely high at this point, the winds were picking up, and everyone was getting jittery and nervous. No one knew what was really about to come. Irene hit them hard last year, but not like Sandy would.
Homes in Danger
With the location of these homes, they are definitely in danger of having water damage. This is what we are thinking early Sunday morning. My relative's home is 3 houses to the right.
Monday October 29th was a strange day. I usually have to go the 50 mile drive into Queens just on Mondays for work, but my employer told me not to attempt it because of the impending storm, so I was working from home.
It was getting quite windy as time went on, but there was not really much rain. I worked via my computer until about 2 P.M. when the power went down. That would be it for us. We were ready, so just gathered our flashlights together, made sure we were prepared for the darkness to come.
After dinner, it got very windy, we stood outside on and off by the front and back of our house just watching and waiting to see if there would be any damage.
Eventually there was a large portion of a tree down a few houses past us blocking the road and on the wires. The wind wasn't even at it's peak yet.
Later we would hear trees cracking and falling in the distance. We saw some flashing a few times what we thought was lightning, but eventually we heard it was really the electric boxes blowing in the distance.
The wind was very strong, we could hear it whipping from inside the house. We turned on our generator and were able to watch television since the cable had still not gone out. They were covering the weather, but we were hearing it above the sound of the t.v. and the generator. Eventually we turned it off went to sleep.
My husband had to get up and go to work at 6 a.m. He tried to call me several times but the signal wouldn't hold up. Cell phones were not working well at all. He stopped home to start the generator a bit later and told me how difficult it was to get less than 2 miles to work. He had to weave in and out the side streets like a maze due to the multiple trees and poles that were blocking most of the roads. There were no traffic lights on at all. He said it looked like a war zone. He said it was oddly quiet. And Dark. No one seemed to have power at all. Later we found pretty much no one did.
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I have to be totally honest, my home was not harmed, damaged or devastated like many people's during this horrific time. Even so, the trauma is still felt among most of us that live here amongst the fallen trees, power lines and damaged homes and businesses.
The loss of power withstanding was the worst of our problems, almost a selfish inconvenience really and I totally realize that our situation could have been seriously much worse. Considering our location, it may have made a difference, or not. All around us there are many homes that tremendous trees have fallen on with the high winds that came and went. The damages are severe. Some people are still without power as I write this.
We drove around a bit after the hurricane hit and saw some of the damage, and was in sheer awe of the power that Sandy had. My in laws had a portion of a tree fall through their porch, the wires ripped from their house.
We didn't get so much rain, which was a godsend actually. It seems if we had, the wet ground probably would have loosened the trees even more and so many more may have fallen. The bulk of the water was from the high tidal surges which was also worse due to the full moon .
I didn't have to go out to work, as my job is at home, I telecommute. I could not work without power you see... I just kept pacing around waiting... waiting, as if the lights would go on at any second and all would be back to normal again. Which even when they did, it wasn't for many people.
One of the hardest things for me was that at first there was no communicating with our families. There were no phones working and all cell phones were not getting very good signals. My elderly parents live 3 miles away and I couldn't get in touch with them for hours. Our families all live locally except my son that lives in California, so we were waiting to see how everyone made out. When we finally got through to them all or heard from someone else that did, a load was lifted for sure.
I have compared the feelings as such to be similar to the feeling I had when the twin towers were hit on September 11. So much tragedy going on in the distance, yet so close to us.... The Rockaways, Breezy Point, Broadchannel, Too many places to name, all with 40 minutes from here....Horrifying losses, flooding, fires....
I did go out to do some things, I checked in on my parents, who were doing well, with a generator and food, helped a bit at a Hurricane Relief location, donated clothing and did other errands. Getting to my parents house was difficult the first time, I had to go in that maze as well, every street seemed to be blocked...
My official office is in Queens, N.Y. near where a great amount of the devastation is, so my co workers have had losses, one their entire home, some their family's homes and cars, it goes on and on. Just about everyone knows someone that has been affected.
After the Storm...
This is the remains of the water after it actually went down in the morning. It had gotten much higher overnight and the force of it went through all the homes and through the street in front. It went back to normal after a day or two.
It brought devastation to many of the homes down there. You can't even see the dock to the right any longer.
The water has so much power, it pulled of much of the rear of the home. You see I am standing on the inside here where the walls once stood.
In the aftermath of this superstorm there is more than the tragic loss to worry about. Beyond all that appears a new problem...
Suddenly we cannot get gas for our cars, and our support system, our precious generators.
The way I hear it goes kind of like this -- Days after the storm hit debris blocked New York harbor causing tankers that carried fuel not being able to get in. On top of this, the terminals that pump the gas from the ships and barges lost power as well. And many stations had no power to pump that even had gas at them.
Suddenly people were gas crazed, there were lines at every station mirroring the times of the gas shortage of the 1970's. Everyone was asking anyone they could where can I get gas?? There were lines for cars and lines for gas cans for people's generators. People were stalking gas stations in the middle of the night. I even went one night at 1:30 a.m. to get gas...Gas Buddy is everyone's best friend...
We are now on mandatory odd/even license plate days for gas, just like the old days . . .I am confident this will end very soon :)
Update: Of course the gas crisis went away fairly quick, about 2 weeks worth of frustration!
Odd Day at the Pump - Lines are getting better
I only got to see television when my power came back after over a week. This is when I really got to see the outcome of this Superstorm. I heard about it by word of mouth, the radio and saw parts of our area by driving around... but when I saw the bits I did on t.v., I realized how devastating Sandy truly was. It is very overwhelming that something so catastrophic has happened so near to home, again.
There was another storm in our region that followed Sandy, they named it Athena. It brought high winds, rain and then we received 5 inches of snow by us. Another 130,000 people above the count of people that still were without power also lost power. By today, much of it has melted and the temperatures are supposed to go towards 60 degrees. Hopefully that will help all of the people who are still in their damaged and powerless homes.
Hurricane Sandy Relief
American Red Cross
My heart goes out to all that were affected XOXOXOXO