Hurricane Sandy raged through the Caribbean causing much damage, destruction and death We wondered what she would do next as she roared up the eastern sea coast. There was so much commotion in the news about her impending arrival
Almost exactly one year ago, we were warned about the dangers of Hurricane Irene. Would this be a situation where the bark of the dog was bigger than its bite? We had survived Irene relatively unscathed. Were these warnings the real thing this time? Public news announcements and warnings continued throughout the day and along with everybody else we prepared for the storm. We filled up jugs of water, bought a battery operated radio, checked for candles and matches, stored some extra food and wood for the fireplace, then hunkered down and waited.
|Neighbors looking over damage in front yard.|
Down by the Hudson River, there was a lot of water damage and flooding. I took this photo of the river from our local library.
|Hudson River after the storm|
|Fallen tree in neighborhood|
|Cottage damaged from fallen tree|
On the way we witnessed lines for gasoline that were very long and sometimes used police management to keep the lines orderly. My husband counted 52 cars in one line, just waiting for gas to be pumped.
|Line for gasoline station is on the right.|
|Sign on front door of local store|
Here are some personal examples of ways that our own situation changed that week we had without electricity, internet, or telephone.
First, we came up with a very fancy heating system in the kitchen by filling up pots with water and heating them up on the stove and letting them radiate heat. It sort of worked. We felt lucky that the top of the gas range worked. We reverted to lanterns and candles for lighting. And we went to bed early.
|Our hot water heating system|
We were also lucky because we have a gas hot water heater that continued to give us hot water. Numerous people came over and showered at our place. It felt good that we had something to offer. But here we are, more than seven days away from the storm, and we still have a lot of people without heat, light, or in some cases, even a home.
There are still roughly 500 households in our little village that have no electricity, and we are expecting a pretty big storm tomorrow. People are worried about how the northeast will handle this big storm so soon after Sandy.
We got an email message from our Hastings mayor, Peter Swiderski this evening that updates us on the situation and also very effectively summarizes the frustrations that we feel.
Here is the first part of his message:
Fellow Residents -
Perhaps the most frustrating day yet – aside from some assessment teams looking at the remaining damage, not a single restoration crew was in town today. Not one. Con Ed offered no good explanation other than they were allocated elsewhere and they once again proved a disconnect between what they say in the evening and what happens the next day. Howls were met with apologetic shrugs.
Almost too much to consider, the upcoming storm expected tomorrow is predicted to start mid-afternoon involve rain and wind and proceed through the night. Locally, it is likely to involve sustained winds of 20-30mph winds with gusts of forty or more. It may turn into the a wintery mix overnight. YOU ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO SLEEP IN A LOWER STORY AWAY FROM POSSIBLE TREE IMPACTS if there are tall or overhanging trees in the vicinity. They may be weakened and this may be just what they need to go over. If you are unheated, and have doubts about handling temperatures likely to dip five degrees colder than we have seen, please accept the offers of housing from the Village or your family and friends.
We can only hope and pray (hard) that the storm will stay far enough to sea so that it impact is lessened. I hate to say it, but bring the flashlights and lanterns out, line up the batteries, and brace for impact. We just don’t know for sure, but I think we’ve learned to have an abundance of caution."
Our mayor said it perfectly. We don't know when things will get better for our neighbors. And we are not happy with the current outcome.
It is not clear what this next storm holds. But there are predictions of snow and cold while people are still without heat. This has been a very fragile repair job to our electric lines, to the distribution systems, roads and homes, and I am not sure that things will hold with a storm so immediately following that blast we just received from Sandy.