On the last days of October, as the days neared Halloween, a freak coincidence of weather events came together to create a rare storm. The one in a million "perfect storm". Dubbed by the media, the Frankenstorm, Super storm, and Nor'easter-cane, Hurricane Sandy took an unexpected course, that placed major cities of the North-east directly in its path.
Yours truly is a resident of one of these cities. New york watched the hurricane approach and tallied the inches of rain dumped by its outer edges onto the soutjern states of Virginia, North and South Carolinas, and even as far south as Georgia.
Fearing that the combined effort of South-eastern winds, rainfall, high tide, and even a full moon, would create a devastating storm surge, the locall governments ordered a mandatory evacuation of coastal areas.
In New Jersey, where the Sandy had made its landfall, it left utter devastation in its wake. New York not far north got some of the highest surge floods. In many places maxing at thirteen feet of raging water.
I live fairly close to the water and had experienced the force of both the wind and the surge first hand. Blocks away from the ocean, the water ran waist deep in the streets. Virtually all of the cars in this area were flooded.
The cold salt water mixed with runoff of diesel, oil, trash, and debris, invaded the basements and even ground levels of virtually every home for miles inland.
What was a scary sight at night, turned to be an even more sobering view in the morning. With the surge gone, people emerged from their homes to asses the damage. All of these pictures, unless otherwise noted, were taken in my neighbourhood, not more than ten-fifteen blocks away from my house.
A common sight in NYC, tall trees felled by hurricane strength winds block roads, damage homes, and disrupt power to many coast-side neighbourhoods.
The water rose so high that the motorboat on the right was carried over the bridge on the left. As you can see, the boat ALMOST cleared the bridge, leaving the handrails in ruin. After the flood surge receeded, the boat remained on the wrong side of the bridge, trapped with no way to get through the pilings.
The other boats in the marina especially the sailboats faired far worse than the motorboat. On the left you see the mastheads of at least two yachts now resting on the sea floor near the same bridge. The sailboat on the right remained tethered to its buoy, but the masts folded with shocking ease.
All of the seaside businesses suffered catastrophic losses. Upon closer examination one can see fish swimming inside the store on the right. Speaking of remaining flood waters, this is what the homeowners were faced with.
The sandbags didn't help much because the surge turned out to be much higher that anticipated, see below for a view out of my window.
http://youtu.be/QVlVxZ3Uayg (this is a link to the video of the surge rushing in. Note that there is no rain, and the only water you see is the one being driven inland by the wind, don't know if you can see it at the uploaded quality, but the quick blue flashes are transformer explosions, the cause of power loss in the days to come)
This wasn't as close to the ocean as many other homes, but high enough to change some of the people's minds about staying. Once the water filled the basement and started filling up the ground levels (waist deep), my neighbour decided to leave. Unfortunately his car got flooded (the one with the yellow license plate) and stalled in the middle of the road; it remains unoperational to this day.
Garages in Lower Manhattan were flooded, floating cars up like bobbers. Similar things have happened in my neighbourhood, but I had not the heart to take pictures in front of the devastated owners.
This home, within five minutes of mine suffered catastrophic damage when the winds ripped off its front wall and the surge knocked down its brick fence.
Here you might recognize a remnant of the roof and a deck from some unknown houses carried across the bay and deposited in the sand.
Even more dramatic is the front porch of a house, half buried in the sand.
Most likely these came from the Far rockaway area of NYC, one that was heavily damaged by both the flood, waves, wind, and scarily enough a raging inferno that wiped out 85 houses.
It must be noted that at the last minute, Sandy had adjusted its course, sparing NYC, and targeting the New Jersey coastline instead.The following pictures are from Atlantic City, NJ that took the brunt of the storm.
This roller coaster was once surrounded by an amusement park and a board walk, none of which are found anymore.
The East coast of the United States, was grieveously hurt by a storm of unprecedented viciousness. The local governments have come together to begin the restoration efforts. I have first hand seen how disasters such as this bring out the best and worst in people. My neighbor who lives in the only house on the street which somehow retainddelectricity, had sent out a spiderweb of extension cords, supplying all of the other neighbors with his electricity. People are sharing generators and the scarce fuel for them. Grocery stores were giving out the remnants of their undamaged foodstok for free. At the same time, there are reports of looters stealing not food and water, but flat screen TVs and top-shelf liquor.
All in all I was amazed at the unexpectedly cohesive and productive efforts of communities and towns as they only begin their slow recovery.
I know that there are many Booksians who were affected by the storm, some like me may still be without power, heat, and phones (possibly for weeks to come). Have faith people, I know that we will recover and come back stronger. Remember and tip your hat for those who have died, lost loved ones, or their homes.
It is this strong sense of responsibility to your community that will keep Lady Liberty standing proud.