Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

A week before most news stations picked up on the story, my nephew, Steve Travis (my personal meteorologist) contacted us to let us know Long Island was expected to be hit big by a significant  hurricane the day after Mike's and mine wedding anniversary (10/28. We were married 24 years) He was right....

This is a house two doors down from us and scenes like this took place all across Long Island, Queens, and New Jersey. I didn't sleep very well Monday night (10/19) as winds picked up to close to 90 mph. I admit it, I was scared. My brother went outside to smoke and we saw roof shingles fly off my house and heard our neighbors tree crack before a huge branch split and fell. I was so concerned about a big tree next door coming down on our house. We lost power at 3:15 p.m. that Monday. The next morning I was relieved to see that no trees on our property had come down, but after we walked the neighborhood, we were shocked to see what our town looked like. It was a true war zone. Roads were impassable with downed trees and wires. I'm not talking trees that were cracked (although that did happen in places), but entire trees, ripped from their roots, pulled up by winds with the grass around them looking like carpet. It was also dangerous as there were so many power lines lying all over. An estimated 950,000 people on Long Island were without power.
My brother left for work the next day and did not come back until yesterday. It was Courtney, Gizmo and myself - the 3 Musketeers - staying at home without power for 7 days.
This is was what it looked like for us when we walked the dog each night. We needed to take our flashlights with us because we couldn't see too far in front of us. Houses were being robbed as people left to stay with relatives, generators were being stolen and there were reports of gas being syphoned while people slept. Because the ports of New York were closed, gas delivery was impossible. The average wait for gas was 3-4 hours. Thankfully, Courtney and I heeded the warning and filled our tanks before the storm. Unfortunately for others, as well as those with generators, gas was hard to come by. Courtney and I would bundle up each night in layers (sweatpants, 2 pairs of socks, T-shirt, hooded sweatshirt pulled tight around our face and gloves) and slept under many blankets. Sleeping wasn't really an issue, it was the time before that was hard. I was so blessed that the only issue we had was our roof - which will now have to be replaced. Our initial estimate is $5,300.00 and we're waiting on the insurance adjuster. There are so many families without anything, so for us to complain seemed selfish.
One of Courtney's professors didn't seem to care that there were so many without everything and even more without power - she had a deadline for her paper and I took this picture as she was writing it by flashlight, freezing cold hands and all.
The lowest it got in our house was 49 degrees and by Monday I was at my breaking point. Monday was 7 days without heat and while I was walking Gizmo by myself, I lost it. I began to cry and prayed to God that our power would be restored soon and our heat would come on. As I walked into the house, my prayers were answered and I cried like a baby. Our power came back on at 5:55 p.m. I know I am a strong person, but after one week of no heat, my body and mind were exhausted. From the very beginning of the storm, my thoughts went immediately to Mike. What would I have done if he were still at home with us? He needed power for his oxygen, nebulizer and processed food. There was a story just today in the newspaper of a man in a similar situation as Mike (he was a stroke victim). Even though he was on a priority list with the electric co., as of today, he and his family still had no power. What would we have done???
By Tuesday of this week, a good part of Long Island's power was finally restored. I believe 150,000 were still in the dark, but that was much better than 950,000. In my Town it was down to 700, then this happened on Wed....
 Nor'easter Athena hit and what was supposed to be a "dusting" of 1-3 inches turned into 6-8 in my area. The snow was very heavy and wet and more trees and lines came down. Those without power in my Town shot back up to 2300. Every house on my block was back in the dark, with the exception of us.
There is a certain measure of guilt that stays with you when you know your friends are back in the dark and neighbors are back in their cold houses. The "experts" are saying there is a rise in acute traumatic stress syndrome (more temporary than Post Traumatic) and I believe I am suffering from it. My stomach has been uneasy for he last few days because we're being told that if you have power, you may lose it so they can restore power to those without. I turned the heat up to 78 in my house "just in case". When the lights flicker, my heart starts palpitating. I have yet to restock my fridge for fear of having to throw away more food if my power goes out again.
NY finally decided to ration gas with the odd/even program and the gas lines seem to have gotten much shorter. I only waited 50 mins for gas on Wed. and Courtney only waited 12 mins yesterday.
I hear about the concerts and fundraisers being held and wonder if the people that truly need the help will get it. I will NOT donate to the Red Cross because that money does NOT go to the families affected. It goes towards future emergencies. It did very little for Katrina victims as many houses down there were never rebuilt. I will donate on a local level to help insure that Long Islanders, and the towns that meant so much to us will be rebuilt.
God Bless all those who were affected by Sandy.

5 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Ms Henley-

your sandy "experience" was essentially the same one i went thru.

i stayed home untl fri 11/2 when my indoor temps also fell to around 49-50 degrees.my friend in ct has a whole house generator and i stayed overnight.my lynbrook friend called me on sat 11/3 and said that my block was "all powered up".

i did have to throw away around $150 worth of food and "scrub down" the inside of my refrigerator which had some mold in it. its all taken care of.

one thing that the media didnt mention was how difficult it was to get food and drink in the days after the storm. i guess that the gas issues were easier to focus on.

i hope that this time around wiser heads will prevail (LIPA,other issues) so we will learn from the mistakes that were made.

take care and be well.

ANON from LYNBROOK.

Lino Kosters said...

Hurricane Sandy certainly caused major devastation to homes and properties. It is just sad to see wrecked homes, and damaged roofs and properties. Good thing nothing serious happened with your home, with the exception of your roof. Good move on the replacement, though. With a new and sturdy roof, it would surely hold out against big storms and other kinds of harsh weather.

Allyson Ripple said...

I feel very sorry for all the people who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. It was a tragic experience some, and it destroyed a lot of buildings, torn of the roof, and damaged other properties. Let's all just pray for our safety, and of course, have better home structure. We should have our roofing properly installed so that heavy winds can't tear them off. The walls should also be well established in order to provide a good foundation of home structure.

Danielle Bailey said...

Tragedy happens, and we have no clue when it's going to hit. All we have to do is to be thankful that we're still alive. Knowing these things will help us be alarmed from such weather. We'll also be aware of what needs to be strengthened within our house foundation. Truly, our faith should be on top of the line. And having a good home structure is a must to withstand such weather conditions. Always check the outside structure of your home such as roof and walls. Make sure they have nailed or screwed properly, and see to it if there are any damages that need to be repaired.