It has been about a month since Hurricane Sandy decided to flood our town of Broad Channel and all our neighbors houses.
As you can imagine the emotions we have had are all over the place. With these emotions in play you have to make decisions about rebuilding, if you want to rebuild and other stuff.
While I have been tearing apart the house for the last month or so it only feels like 3 or 4 days since the Hurricane came. Luckily for us we had a plan in place to go to the next door neighbors house if the flooding got bad. Our neighbor has a second story house and while his first floor was destroyed with water his second story provided us shelter in some crazy weather.
I am sure the details of what happened during the storm will come out better when we do a podcast on this as I have probably times and dates mixed up.
I have to say that the little town we live in really got a lot closer and I never thought that would be possible as everyone knows everyone. There is only about 1000 homes on our island and I have been in my house for 44 years. I have neighbors that are here much longer than me.
Everyone was in the same boat when it came to this storm. We all had no power, nothing to eat and an uncertain feeling about the morning tide that could bring a second flooding.
We decided to wait until we had to leave before we actually made the move. The space between the neighbors house and our house is connected by a back deck that is a few feet higher than the sidewalk. We watched the water come up over the sidewalk and with almost 2 hours until high tide we knew we were in trouble.
While our house isn’t up high on a foundation it never gets water from the tide. Well I shouldn’t say never, it got an inch of water during the no name nor’easter in 1992 I think. Since we evacuated to my brothers house in Syracuse for hurricane Irene last year and didn’t get any water we figured we would wait this storm out. My mistake!
There were signs that we should have left. The weather channels Jim Cantores face when the mayor decided not to evacuate should have been a sign. When I saw mr Wilsen who has been in my town for his whole life say he was leaving while being interviewed before the storm on the tv by Channel 11 news I should have said let’s leave.
By this time it was too late, where could we go? The hotels were already filled and they would be in the same boat as us with no power. This storm was so big that unless you got a full day head start you would still be in the path.
Trying to find a place that could take us and our cats seemed to be an impossible thing. Our only resort was to take shelter in the neighbors house on the second floor.
As the tide was coming up I felt sad that there was water in the house, then I felt glad we were safe. The emotions were all over the place but knowing we were safe was the main thing. As the tide came up we could yell across to the neighbors houses and exchange a “We are alright” with each other.
The next few hours I was on my iPad which was connected to Debbie’s iPad and able to get online. I was posting pictures of the water coming in and since there was nothing else to do we took some videos.
Then it got real in a hurry! The water was coming from the east side. I have never seen this before. The ice machine from the deli on the corner went by as if it was a toy. The machine had to weigh over 500 pounds. Soon after that an empty boat came by so fast it could have pulled a water skier.
The winds were picking up and we were waiting to lose power. From our second floor we could see that something was burning over in the Rockaways but we couldn’t tell what it was. Later on we would find out it was the town of Breezy Point. Whatever we had going on here I knew it was much worse where those fires were.
I snapped a few pictures but I let Debbie do most of the picture taking. For some reason I just didn’t feel like taking pictures. I was too busy thinking about what was happening in our house next door and worried if the house we were in was strong enough to handle the winds that must have been over 100 mph. It was by far the strongest winds I have ever seen.
The light show that the telephone poles were giving off were scary. They would light up for a minute or so and then burn out. I was sure there were downed wires in the water in front of our house.
Our neighbor Joe was busy trying to get our attention letting us know that he thought the house we were in was catching fire. After scrambling through the house we realized it was the wires leading to the house next door to use were arching and smoking. Nothing like throwing throwing fire into the mix of all that was going on.
The rest of the night was filled with watching the wind and updating Facebook which for some reason was still working until the water started to go down. We were amazed that they didn’t cut the power. With the stuff burning all over the city everyone in town was thinking the same thing the next few days.
I was wondering about how many people they would find dead in their houses. Our town is filled with older people that have been through every type of storm and most have always stayed. Most live in single story houses like us and wouldn’t have a place to escape to until it was too late. Luckily this didn’t come to pass as no one perished in the flood from our town.
I started to think about where my family was. I knew my mom was on the 3rd floor of a neighbors house and she was ok because we spoke on the cell phone a few times. I knew my brother joe and his family were at the firehouse which has a second level so I knew they were ok. Brother Eddie was going to a hotel out of town so I knew his family was ok. My brother Danny was the only one I didn’t know about but being he is the fire chief and was probably out working his ass off during the storm and he would be ok.
With the water receding my focus came to getting some much needed sleep. We knew that there was going to be a high morning tide and we needed to be awake for that. Since the wind was still strong I didn’t have the feeling to go outside or into our house to see the damage. In the back of my mind I guess I didn’t want to see it.
I am not sure if I will be adding to this or not. I can see me doing a day by day post covering the first few days.
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