Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Superstorm Sandy...Revisited

So last night on The Weather Channel was a show called Hurricane 360* It was all about some of the events that unfolded during Sandy and several peoples personal stories and experiences. Let me tell you that watching that show for 1 hour brought back all of the horror, fear and anxiety and just emotions in general that we all felt when we lived through that storm.
I remember it like it was yesterday (unfortunately)

The weekend before October 29th 2012 - Ted & I went to a Halloween party at a local waterfront bar that Saturday night. When he brought me home, the winds had picked up quite bad. I decided to go get my ducks from down at the bay and bring them in to my garage sanctuary that I had fashioned for them (That's a whole other story!)
The inside of my garage :)
Mama and My Dude
After I got my ducks situated, (yes I bought them their own pool so they could swim)
I pretty much went in the house and prepared for the worst storm ever predicted to hit my home town. I'm sure everyone who watched this storms path remembers this image....

It was the scariest thing I can remember waiting for. Preparing for the power to go out. Preparing for the worst. Preparing for the bay water to rise up and flood my neighborhood. All things that seam so surreal to even think about.
We thought we were ready....but little did we know, we were far from it.
I always refer to this picture as the calm before the storm - the seagulls knew something was happening. I've never seen them just sitting like this.
On the dock down the street from my house
The next day (Sunday) we pretty much went back around and made sure everything was secured. Tied down. Placed indoors. Closed tight. Whatever it took to protect everything we possibly could. We knew that if the winds were howling the way they were by Sunday early afternoon, and the storm was pretty far from us still, we would be in big trouble.
It was some time that Sunday night into Monday early morning that she made landfall. We lost power early on Sunday from the high winds.  My brother and his family came down with their dog and my neighbor came over with her dog as well. We all hunkered down to ride out this massive storm together. The noises that this storm made are indescribable. The winds were upwards of 100 mph for about 24 hours.
Just for perspective purposes - this is how close I live to the open bay...
(where the yellow x is)
So with no power. No heat and a bunch of people at my house, we all built a fire in the fireplace and hung out in the dark living room by candle light.
Fire trucks rode up and down the streets telling us to evacuate if we wanted to. We weren't in a mandatory evac spot believe it or not. We stayed, as did many of my neighbors even the ones who lives closest to the bay.
While all this was going on, THIS is what the ocean was doing...
Not sure where I found this, but I did not take it
Nothing could prepare any of us for what faced us when the wind and rain finally subsided.
It was total shock. I remember hearing throughout out the night via social media on my phone, and from texts from friends who had power and had the news that there were fires, and flood waters rising to 10 feet, the ocean breached the bay in Mantaloking, and the piers of the boardwalk fell and the rollercoaster was in the water. I almost didn't believe it until I saw the news coverage with my own eyes.
Unfortunately it was all true....
As soon as the sun was visible over the horizon, even though it was still windy and quite chilly, the entire neighborhood went outside to assess the damage. It was eerie actually. Everyone had the same distraught look on their faces. The smell of natural gas filled the air. The sound of sirens screamed out all over the place. But at the same time there was this creepy silence. That silence was soon taken over by the hum of generators. Its all we heard for the 12 days we didn't have power. We didn't have a generator when this whole thing began, but my mom (bless her heart) went and stood in line for hours at Home Depot (with no power, being run by a generator itself) after our 4th day with no power, to get one for us.  My mom and I had gotten into such a routine for running our generator during the day and shutting it down at night (for safety purposes) that when we finally regained power, it was like, "Oh, ok no more generator routine".  
There were police and other emergency personnel rescuing people from their flooded homes. Many of my friends and neighbors lost their homes. Our boardwalk was destroyed. There was so much debris EVERYWHERE you looked. Boats thrown up against houses, cars slammed into garage doors, pieces of peoples decks strewn about, patio furniture, couches, televisions, clothing, shingles, doors you name it, it was washed up. A boat came all the way across the bay from the ocean side of my town and landed in a bay front yard, wedged between trees.

This image is right at my corner looking down toward the bay
(We were VERY lucky and did not have ANY flooding)

The bay rose to about 20 feet away from my street
Looking down toward the water
This is from the news coverage from the ocean front town of Ortley Beach - this is the main road in :(
To this day, I can remember every detail about that storm.
The parkway being shut down.
School being closed for two weeks straight.
Busses blocked intersections on the highway since there wasn't power to operate the lights.
Police barricades kept anyone from going over the bridge to the island.
Military and news helicopters flew over head for days and days.
Firemen patrolled the neighborhoods from sun down to sun up for our safety.
 They even came on foot door to door to check occupancy and make sure we were all ok.
I got VERY used to extreme quiet with no power running anything.
I was quickly reminded to be thankful for having a gas run stove.
The word "breach" now seemed scary.
The snow storm we got a few days after the storm.
Restore the Shore became an instant motto as did Jersey Strong.
Helping my neighbors wasn't a second thought - we all came together.
Sandy forever changed anyone who experienced it.
I have tons of pictures but we'd be here all day if I posted them all.
So there's my recap of that weekend that changed the face of the Jersey Shore.
Happy Tuesday

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