Re: Hurricane Sandy
Things are very bad here still. I have power, but about half of my area doesn't. Relatives without power have moved in with us, which is stressful, although it's nothing compared to what a lot of folks are going through.
Although Sandy was "only" a Cat 1, with sustained wind speeds of "only" 80 mph, she had an extraordinarily low barometric pressure when she made landfall, which meant an enormous storm surge. Worse, the storm swept in with the high tide under a full moon, leading to the highest waters ever recorded in the area, generally by several feet.
We haven't been able to buy fuel for the past few days, and when a gas station does get fuel, there are long lines and police officers standing by to ration it in an orderly way and prevent riots.
Down on the shore, it's much worse. There are over 100,000 homes in the tri-state area which were flooded to the second floor, smashed, burned, or otherwise rendered uninhabitable.
Unfortunately, the loss of infrastructure is making relief difficult. I think food is getting out most places, but heat is harder to come by, and the nights are getting colder.
The rescue and medical personnel are working tirelessly, though most of them are dealing with the same conditions at home. They have saved countless lives already.
I grew up practically on the beach, and I loved the ocean, but I never forgot its terrifying power. I was five years old when Gloria swept over us, the last true hurricane to hit New York. Damage from Gloria was minimal, because it was low-power and passed over fast. Other hurricanes landed farther south, or north, or bled out part of their fury before reaching us, or swept past us out to sea.
The folks on the Pacific Rim talk about earthquakes, living through the little ones, wondering when the Big One will come along. That's how we in the coastal Northeast felt about hurricanes. Somehow, though, even watching it come in on the radar, we didn't understand: This is our Big One.