Friday, November 9, 2012

Hurricane Sandy - Unprecedented, Unforgiving, Unforgettable

Hurricane Sandy, Tropical Storm Sandy, unprecedented, unforgiving, unforgettable. 

I decided to post photos that would shed a little light on what was around us.  Some areas were simply too dangerous to visit and others the road didn't exist anymore.

The benches on the boardwalk the morning before hurricane Sandy makes landfall.

The news reports say Sandy is a "hybrid" storm a mix of systems.  I go to the beach and the waves aren't huge but, they are churning. The air is damp and heavy and there is no mistaking the sense that Sandy isn't taking names.  She will be taking prisoners.  Towns issue mandatory evacuations, and shelters are set up.

Cement supports that used to hold the boardwalk are now exposed after Sandy has come ashore.
We prepare the best we can. Water, protein bars, crackers, peanut butter, flip top opening cans of tuna fish, get out the lanterns and oil, wash clothes, get fuel...and the list goes on.  There are no "D" batteries to be found days beforehand. Thankfully, double "A" batteries are mainly what we need and we have a handy LED solar flashlight.
Grocery store shelves three days before Sandy.

I rush around like a mad woman to ship orders up to Friday October, 26, 2010 from my Etsy shop on Saturday 10/27/12 and put up notices orders will be delayed. I am not sure if the crawl space will flood or the roof will be ripped off or both.  I finally resign myself I can't do anymore inside and need to move things from the yard that might become projectiles into the garage.  

It looks desolate and eerie.

Sandy is expected to make hard hitting appearance in our area around 9 p.m. on Monday, October 29 she decides to arrive early and the power goes out at 2:08 p.m. 

As darkness closes in, the wind bends trees like straws. The fish in the pond are acting odd, our dog Molly begins to whimper and, the other is barking at the wind. It's raining. Walking outside I find a huge tree branch. I try to haul it out of the way and the wind gusts and, I practically fall over.  The next sound is the fencing falling over....and a noise. I don't know where it's coming from, but know it's a leak; when I see where it is I think oh my, the roof will be ripped off.

Roasting pans and towels took care of new sprung leaks. 

Power lines are laying in the street from a large fallen tree.  Zoie gets on her rain suit to check it out as we hear a gnarly gust of wind and watch an immense pine tree bending in a way I've never seen before.

Late in the evening I swear I can hear the ocean growling.

We were so extremely fortunate compared to thousands of our fellow statesmen that lost their homes. Everything was so minor surprisingly being a few blocks to the beach. The ocean or bay didn't come roaring through our doors.  We didn't have sand. We had leaves and dirt.

 Afterwards, Sandy is still blowing sand around.

Like everyone else we want to be outside for something to do.
Cellular phone service is down from most carriers.
Verizon was working the best.
Funny, how friends in other states knew more then we did.

Ice becomes a commodity very quickly.  Two days after the storm ended there are lines for it.

Closed roads means traffic jams.

Three hour waits for gas. It becomes a job looking for it.

Rationing goes into effect and so do 7 p.m. curfews.

We have this handy inverter purchased during Hurricane Irene that allowed us to plug the t.v. in to see what is going on and to try to get info for a little bit each day. We learn the road to work and bridges we crossed exist no more.  The inverter does die near the end of the power outages but, I highly recommend one.

It's a surreal world. So many things where they don't belong.

 A coffee house serving something hot is quickly a haven of something normal.

 This lovely gentleman took it upon himself to sweep up debris.  He said it was his way of dealing and, he was also hoping to find some work helping with the clean up efforts.

By day five you wonder where are services for those who really need it and are glad to see FEMA with ice and water. 

 We volunteer at the FEMA set up since we are disaster trained but, are turned away.

 Our town had a generator running to charge phones, get warm and others made hot food in the oven and shared it.

FEMA  allowed towns to pick up water, ice and some of these MRE (meals ready to eat) I did some duty at the community center handing out the supplies. A few people tossed the food packs back at me.  I pleaded in a few days that may be all there is to eat so please take it. Sadly the generator become unstable and the facility had to be shut down.  I search for a Red Cross™ set up so I can send those in need to it. There are none to be found.  I learn they do exist but are there supporting emergency personnel. 

 Resident ID check. The license plates say U.S. Air Force.

The world becomes a police state with curfews and identification checking - thanks to the "federal"government's way of "helping" you.

 The logical part of your mind realizes this is to minimizing looting of what little some families have left. The emotional side of your mind says who would be so cruel to do such a thing to those with such loss. More then I imagined apparently.

Homeowners from more inland areas that had power back after 4-6 days feel guilty saying they do.  We understood feeling guilty for having our home unscathed, the business real estate just a few hundred steps from the marina took in a few feet of water. It will need some serious cleaning;  Rubber gloves turn an odd orange-brown color. Equipment and furnishings will need to be disposed of.

We leave notes on top of my laptop for each other.  Getting gas was a 4.50 hour ordeal.

Conversations are about where to find gas, who is out of gas, lines for gas....where to get hot coffee, etc.

You learn quickly to say "I'm glad your safe" and not "At least your safe".

The smell of the water combined with everything that went into it seeps into furnishings.

I am humbled by the tenacity I see as possessions are put to the curb.  

Others are in shell shock focusing on things that seem to be unimportant in the grand scheme but, it is their way of coping.

It is so odd to see some homes practically pristine and the one next to it gone.

By the end of day 8 I'm flustered at still hearing visit us at such and such dot com.  Hello, we have no power could they re-word that to say if you have power at least.

When we see a gathering of power trucks from Texas convening in town we pull over.  I gush how happy we are to see them, shake their hands, and thank them for coming so far.  I admit I was "power struck", pun intended.  Alabama, Ohio and Louisiana power companies also arrive. My eyes water up seeing Louisiana, a state that knows all too well the havoc storms like this do.

I did get to feel a warm blow dryer for the first time in over a week. Sounds idiotic doesn't it? 

Stores with long standing businesses you wonder if they will re-open.

A sign like this makes me laugh out loud. Day 10, still no electricity and a nor'easter is moving in like a very bad joke.  Early in the evening the lights come on and we celebrate oohh rah! A little too fast, it was a test.  Power starts up again later in the evening, it could be temporary we don't know...

The sun is out, and gulls are back watching over things.

The landscape of memories and what was familiar is gone.

  It will be a long road.

Hope and faith in each other is a good start I think.

 Thank you everyone that commented and supported us on my facebook page .

I do believe the lack of information is what causes the most issues. 

It is a sound idea to make a supply kit for your family.  We had replenished ours after hurricane Irene with additional items. We burned through a gallon of lamp oil, and countless candles in tins. Keep in mind railways, and ports were closed and food store warehouses were damaged.  Stock up on things like protein bars and foods that do not need to be cooked. You simply never know.