Open Forum: What’s On Your Mind? My Experience With Hurricane Sandy

Survived Hurricane Sandy

And all I have to show for it is this blog post – no T-shirt yet.

That was one nasty trick without the treat. I guess the treat is still being here to write about it.

Was I scared? No, actually. Besides the difference in how it sounded, like a train rolling very close by the house, I’ve experienced more intense thunderstorms. Lots of wind, I could hear stuff flying about, but thankfully it didn’t shake the house or rattle the windows. It went by and over the properties – not directly at it.

And blissfully, I fell asleep because that constant droning noise sorta knocks you out.

This Jersey Thing and the Howling Outside Your Door

Let me tell you a bit about middle and southern NJ. I am located a couple of miles from Trenton and Princeton, that’s the neck / bend of this kidney-shaped state. I am 45 plus minutes west of the NJ shore. However, regardless of all these miles away from the shore, practically this entire area of the state is ZERO feet above sea level. We are right at the level of where the ocean meets the land. There’s barely a decent rise. And the soil out here IS sand.

So picture this on a dark night: a lull in the wind, a spittle of rain and you start to believe that the media has over-hyped another storm. Listening to the radio, waiting for the storm, reading the endless stories about this stuff online, you start to think: what was the hysteria all about?

She’s Coming For You

Then, Hurricane Sandy arrives. On the night of a FULL MOON. The tide is already high. From what I heard, 2 ft above normal. She comes. Her voice rising. Throwing things around. She’s getting stronger and stronger. Howling in a pitch so high it strains your nerves. Tides are rising in some places as high as 15 feet.

You remember that you live at sea level. No big swells. No massive hills. No mountains to break that rising tide.

You realize that 90 plus mile winds are bringing everything with the ocean (boats, pieces of boardwalk, cars, and other debris) up into and ripping off part of your home, or perhaps dragging it off its foundation onto a highway nearby.

Thinking About the Katrina Aftermath

A few years ago, I went down south to visit a friend who showed me the area after Hurricane Katrina hit Alabama, Louisiana and other states. She showed me a beach front, which was clean as a whistle. I started swearing involuntarily, after she told me it used to have amusement parks, hotels, food stands and everything you’d expect at the beach.

It was gone. All gone. Like looking at virgin territory. Like no one had build anything there before.

Hindsight

In the past, I wanted a house at the shore. I loved the beaches, the boardwalks, and driving aimlessly down the entire stretch. I probably could have gotten a cute little bungalow or maybe a multi-story property to rent during the Spring and Summer.

But I looked at the flatness of the area. I thought of stories my Mom told about what it’s like when the tide comes in to flood a small country and doesn’t stop. I chickened out. So, I picked an area that is NOT a flood zone. That’s information you see might when you sign the albatross (mortgage) papers (I think it depends on the state).

It’s hard to resist living near the water. I feel drawn to it. The sweet smell and salty taste of the ocean air. The soothing sound of the tide. The endless view, staring out at the entire world, and if you look hard enough to see the curve of the horizon.

The Governor and Interstate Assistance

Tuesday night, I listened to the car radio, ’cause I had no power. I heard my governor, big Chris Christie, mention the work being done to get the power back on. Almost right afterwards, the lights came on. Talk about a delightful and nice coincidence! Relief filled me: I wouldn’t be freezing my butt off that night. Although I had candles, flashlights and extra blankets ready.

Driving around today, I saw many out of state utility power trucks. So, thank you to the people from out of state who came to NJ to help.

I’m also thankful for coming out unscathed from the storm.

And my prayers are for those who were not as fortunate.

What’s On Your Mind?

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Daily Mail Coverage of Sandy – Long Article – 1

Daily Mail Coverage of Sandy – Long Article – 2

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5 Replies to “Open Forum: What’s On Your Mind? My Experience With Hurricane Sandy”

  1. I am glad you are safe. My thoughts and prayers to all who were affected!

    GoldenAh: Hello Cher, great to hear from you! Thank you for the well wishes. Folks are going to need prayers. The temperatures are starting to dip to freezing at night and quite a number of them are trapped w/ nowhere to go.

  2. It’s good to know that you’re safe. New Jersey looked terrible on the news. I wish all a very speedy recovery.

    GoldenAh: Thank you so much, Trish. The news is going to get worse for a while before it gets better. There’s a terrible irony in deaths stemming from falling trees, stepping on live wires after people have emerged from the safe shelter of their homes.

    Now, I’ve seen reports of the lines for gas and folks eating out of dumpsters. For my mental health, I’m going to limit how much I read about these tragedies.

    I’m thankful I only went through a short blackout….

  3. So glad you are safe!! Great post. Wishing you and your lovely state a speedy recovery.

    Go Chris Christie!!

    GoldenAh: Thank you, MsMellody. And I am thrilled we have a governor like the big guy. The man really cares about Jersey. He’s working hard and I give him credit, because there is a ton of work to be done in recovery.

  4. Glad to hear that you are ok! I was really concerned as I know the terrain/infrastructure is different up north. But very happy that you and your mom/family are ok.

    I wonder how this will play out because I remember Katrina and the response. Its just so sad looking at all these pictures from NY,NJ…

    Please excuse my tin hat…but in the back of my mind I wonder what the HAARP action was like leading up to this… I mean this seems so freakish to me – a hurricane that far north?

    GoldenAh: Well, I’ve lived through riots, blackouts, a mild earthquake, an anthrax scare, 9/11, blizzards, and a couple of milder hurricanes. I don’t think there’s anyway we can escape something hellish happening nearby or being in the midst of it. I’m such an observer that I evaluate things a bit too much while I’m in the mix. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

    I partly blame the media for people ignoring the warnings to seek shelter or make preparations. I remember in the 1990s, the media reported every potential storm as if it was going to bring Armageddon. Unfortunately, the ones they didn’t hype turned out to be the worst for Florida and the Carolinas. People get inured to the warnings after a while. The wolf is coming! The wolf is coming! And those stupid reporters hanging out on a beach while telling people they should be huddled in a shelter somewhere doesn’t help. Especially when they pan the camera and show a bunch of twits gawking at them and waving like it’s a party.

    It’s hard to run from the path of natural destruction. How does anyone adequately prepare for an earthquake? a mudslide? a tornado? tsunami / tidal wave? I guess it depends on if the house doesn’t get washed away. Depends on if the house isn’t smashed to bits. And then if nothing is destroyed, I suppose one could look at their emergency supplies and wonder how long they could last w/out power and running water.

    But there’s no excuse for people refusing to have a few supplies to last at least 2 weeks, if the house hasn’t been totally decimated. It’s interesting how fast civilization breaks down after 48 to 72 hours when the basic necessities we take for granted are no longer available.

    I suggested to a friend of mine that she keep an emergency kit in her car, an adapter to recharge the cellphone and flashlight, bottles of water, a change of clothes, maybe money, etc. Along with that, I keep a baseball bat (working on that Tazer), medical supplies, a tire pump, toiletries and other stuff in my trunk. I’ve had situations where the car broke down and I needed to stay someplace overnight. So, sometimes it’s not an end-of-the-world situation where an emergency kit is needed.

    The NYC / NJ area was so used to emerging relatively unscathed from other storms that they took it for granted Hurricane Sandy would be the same.

    Expect a couple more horror stories in the future. The aftermath of this disaster is just beginning.

    Thank you so much for your concern, Oshun. My appreciation is heartfelt. 🙂

  5. I thank God you survived.I hope all is well with you and your family Betty.God bless the people of New Jersey and all others affected by Sandy as well.

    GoldenAh : Thank you so much for your warm wishes Truth. P. They are sincerely appreciated. The hardest thing about these events is trying to get “back to normal” and not being stressed about tiny inconveniences.

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