Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Wipeout

Hurricane Sandy hit us a good wallop here in Long Beach, NY. For several days as I fished the surf leading up to the storm the sweep grew increasingly stronger.

My wife Diane on our corner the morning of the approach of the storm  
The beach ramp on our corner after Sandy with Diane reaching up as high as the surge came.  
The roofs of the public bathroom and food concession on Grand Blvd. barely visible behind a sand dune barricade.
Diane next to the foundation of one of the buildings. The tin roof of the food concession was found a block north of the beach.
The concrete slab and cinder block wall under the boardwalk demolished by the storm. The beach suffered terrible erosion!
 The section of wooden jetty Diane is standing next to in the photo was never visible before having been completely buried under sand! The area around the lifeguard shack in the center of town was hit hard.

Last year Hurricane Irene pushed the lifeguard shack off its foundation. All Hurricane Sandy left was the foundation!  

The evening off the storm my Mom, Diane and I were having dinner. I had an eye on our house barometer as well as my tide clock.

We were eating and watching Dexter as the rain intensified and the barometer started dropping fast.

  Water started meandering slowly into the street from the west end of the block.

The barometer needle started nose diving and I remember smelling a funny odor like wet screens or someone ironing. Suddenly water started rushing around from the east end of the block!    Within a few minutes the street light went dark soon after a power transformer blew plunging the town into darkness!

As the needle on the tide clock marked the arrival of high tide the level of the water rose and filled my car. The dome light, turn signals and parking lights started flashing.

The water mark on my car. The water had risen high enough inside to fill my center console and my cup holders! The water continued to rise till it covered our lawn and was up to our first step. Around the side of our house it cascaded down the cellar steps filling our basement stairwell. In the center of the street it was like a raging river of chest deep water and debris rushing westward.

Around 9:30 pm I checked outside with my flashlight and saw the water had begone to recede. Around six inches of our walkway had reappeared. I was never so happy to see a patch of pavement in my life!

During the night it was eerie to hear furniture and stuff floating in the basement bumping around. The next day the water was so deep I had to put my waders on to go down and flip off the main circuit breaker in case the power came back on.

Diane is pointing to the water mark on a storm window from our basement. We had 33" of water in the basement - the stairwell had 54"! My studio workshop is destroyed. The storm wiped me out! I lost my kiln, compressor all my tools and supplies. Mine and my mother's car our totaled. As is the washer/dryer, freezer, burner and water heater. Long Beach looks like a wasteland.

There are piles of garbage and debris almost everywhere. Some neighbors have noticed rats starting to scavenge the piles at night. Totaled cars litter the streets their plates removed and insurance adjustment tags stuck on them.

We were without power, heat, and clean water or sanitation/sewage for 13 days. There was no phone or cell usage so we were without communication with the outside world. There was a 7pm to 6 am curfew in effect due to looting and a few shootings in town. We heard a couple shots fired one night behind our house at 2 am!

It is going to take a long time for the city of Long Beach and our community to recover from this! We were fortunate to get help from Samaritans Purse volunteers to help tear down our basement walls and remove our washer dryer. Here is my Mom posing with the crew outside her home.

Diane and my Mom in our gutted basement
The "new normal" in Long Beach as my wife calls it. Totaled cars and debris.