My Sandy experience November 10, 2012Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, DVD, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, TV, Weather.
The nightmare known as Hurricane (or Superstorm) Sandy was thrust upon my attention on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 24, hours before seeing pianist David Benoit perform at the Iridium Jazz Club. The first report I read about the storm had a few scenario options, which included turning east out to sea and taking a sharp westerly turn toward the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S and combine with an approaching cold front. By the second report, the latter scenario became more likely. With each passing report until it made landfall in South New Jersey on the evening of October 29, more and more models showed that worst case scenario. And with each passing report, I grew more and more paranoid and fearful of what would happen.
Sandy was so large that its effects were first felt through cloud cover on Saturday, October 27. The following day, October 28, showers and minor wind gusts began. I couldn’t stand hearing the wind plowing into the windows and wall from my Wantagh home’s east-facing bedroom. So, I slept in the basement that night.
When I woke up early on October 29, the worst still hadn’t arrived, but the wind was still strong, around 30 miles per hour with gusts in the 50s. Somehow, the power did not go out during the morning. But by 1:30 PM, the power began to flicker off and on. And at 1:45, the power went out to stay and wouldn’t return until nine days later. As the wind continued to howl upstairs, now approaching sustained winds of 45 mph with gusts to 60, back in the basement, I used my Sennheiser studio headphones to listen to audiobooks on my CD-playing Walkman. But spoken words were unable to completely drown out the sound of wind. So, rather than waste battery power on my iPod, I used the Walkman, which runs on AA batteries, to listen to music. I took two pairs of CDs that I used for my two recent WCWP Homecoming Weekend shows and a dozen albums. When I wasn’t listening to news radio for the latest on Sandy, or sports radio to forget about Sandy, I was listening to my CDs.
My parents, sister, and I were prepared with plenty of bottled water, bags of food, canned goods, AA batteries, C batteries, D batteries, and a generator. We didn’t use the generator until after the height of Sandy, which came around 8PM, shortly after it transitioned to a post-tropical cyclone. As the worst winds pummeled the house, gusting as high as 85 mph, we congregated in the living room where an extension cord ran from the generator in the back yard to the middle of the room. There, I plugged in a power strip and we plugged in a table lamp for light, and all our rechargeable electronics. For a little while, we watched DVDs on my sister’s laptop. After a couple of hours, my dad turned the generator off and we all went to sleep. I returned to the basement for that.
Outside of a tree falling in my next-block neighbor’s back yard, two shingles falling off our roof, a toppled-over garbage pail on the side of the house, and branches and leaves on the grass, I was clueless as to the extent of damage in my area. But a tree fell a block east of our house, which is why our power went out, and a few trees fell one block north and west.
At around 11AM on October 30, I walked around the exterior of my house to take aftermath pictures.
I fixed the pail that blew over about a half hour before taking pictures.
When the power strip wasn’t connected to the extension cord, either the microwave or coffee maker were plugged in.
The tile-less table was moved slightly by the high winds.
I was in the basement listening to a CD on my Walkman and could hear my dad in the kitchen saying “Tree down!”
But the absolute worst hit areas were waterfront communities. Main floors and basements were destroyed. House and building fires that started after flooding began couldn’t be contained and had to burn out. Knowing all this gave me survivor guilt. I felt guilty that my house was hardly damaged and all I lost was power, while my friends in places like South Freeport, Baldwin Harbor, Island Park, Long Beach, Lido Beach, and Massapequa lost everything that wasn’t on the second floor or higher. The Rockaways and Staten Island were hit just as hard.
An example of how hard Freeport was hit can be seen in this video of damage to the Nautical Mile (Woodcleft Avenue), via The Weekly Freeporter YouTube channel:
Guilt aside, I developed cabin fever after two days at my powerless house (outside of generated power). So, on the night of Halloween, after riding out Tuesday night in my increasingly cold bedroom, I made the trip to a family friend’s house in Rockville Centre (power had just returned after only two days). I went on to spend the next week there while power was out at home. Of all the times for power to come back, on the afternoon of November 7, it was as a wet snow-producing nor’easter began to affect the Northeast. But unlike Sandy, the center of this nor’easter was far offshore and the winds were not very strong on Western Long Island. Somehow, the wet snow bent but did not break tree limbs and it gradually melted or fell off the following day.
While power returned on November 7, cable did not come back until two days later.
Laura Donovan: The Domino Effect Of Hurricane Sandy: Why One Natural Disaster Changed Everything For Me
Peter Hoare: How Hurricane Sandy Ravaged My Town (Long Beach)