Hurricane Sandy: Before The Deluge
Though Sandy has come and gone, and left a trail of devastation behind, I’m going to write about Hurricane Sandy: Before the Deluge.
We started getting warning many days in advance. A storm was coming like no other seen before. What started as a tropical storm eventually became a full blown hurricane. Nothing out of the ordinary. What was extraordinary? The prediction of landfall on the NY, NJ coast and how far inland it might come, because of a host of odd weather fronts that would collide and create what was dubbed Frankenstorm.
From CBS News:
An unusual nasty mix of a hurricane and a winter storm that forecasters are now calling “Frankenstorm” is likely to blast most of the East Coast next week, focusing the worst of its weather mayhem around New York City and New Jersey.
U.S. government forecasters on Thursday upped the odds of a major weather mess, now saying there’s a 90 percent chance that the East will get steady gale-force winds, heavy rain, flooding and maybe snow starting Sunday and stretching past Halloween on Wednesday.
The storm is a mix of Hurricane Sandy, now in the Caribbean as a Category 2 storm, as well as an early winter storm in the West and a blast of arctic air from the North. They’re predicted to collide and park over the country’s most populous coastal corridor and reach as far inland as Ohio.
The hurricane part of the storm is likely to come ashore somewhere in New Jersey on Tuesday morning, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco. But this is a storm that will affect a far wider area, so people all along the East have to be wary, Cisco said.
One of the more messy aspects of the expected storm is that it just won’t leave. The worst of it should peak early Tuesday, but it will stretch into midweek, forecasters say. Weather may start clearing in the mid-Atlantic Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 in the Northeast, Cisco said.
“It’s almost a weeklong, five-day, six-day event,” Cisco said Thursday from NOAA’s northern storm forecast center in near Washington. “It’s going to be a widespread serious storm.”
Sadly, and seemingly for the first time in history, the predictions were so right. But hindsight is 20-20.
With the dire predictions of a major catastrophe, power outages, and worse, people were clamoring to get provisions at local grocery stores, home stores, and any place else they could think of to be ready.
With the threat of week long outages, the possibilities of no cooking, heat or electric, I needed provisions to get me through this ordeal. First stop Costco. Fill the tank with gas. No electric? No gas pumping. Luckily I was able to fill up with no line, or no problem. Though, later in the day & on Sunday … the lines became increasingly longer as people realized predictions may become reality. Next into Costco to look for a flashlight and get bottled water. The only flashlight they had were these Mag light flashlight sets, and they were like $40.00. I figured I’d pass. I was looking for a rechargeable crank flashlight if I could get one. But not here at Costco. Got the water & decided to by a 6-pack of tuna. I figured it was a good idea if I might not have electric, or gas to cook with. Got two cases of water. Glad I got it when I did, it was dwindling. I got the last two cases of the less expensive Kirkland (Costco) brand. The other water was twice as much for the same size.
Next stop was Target in search of the cranky flashlight. But nope! Target was already out of batteries and large flashlights. All they had were small ones. Pass! I figured, let me try Radio Shack. Not everyone might think of going there for a flashlight. To my surprise they had a Red Cross AM/FM/Weather radio, LED flashlight combo, that was rechargeable via a solar cell on top, USB, and by crank. Perfect! But it was $40.00! Bought it just the same. Figured it would be good to have a radio, especially if we might be evacuated, it would be good to hear the news and stay abreast of anything coming our way.
As Saturday wound down, it was more certain we would be hit. I decided that I would need more light if electric might be out for a week or more. Sunday morning I got up and went straight to Costco. They didn’t open until 10 AM and there was already a line forming waiting for them to open. I had a half hour to kill … so off to Starbucks for coffee. With coffee in hand I returned to Costco as they were letting people in early. I went straight to the lighting row and looked at the possibilities.
Since candles are a bit unsafe in scheme of things, I was looking for battery powered LED lights. Luckily(?) Costco was already stocking their shelves with Christmas items, including LED candles. Some of which even, to my horror, vanilla scented. Yuck! I did buy a set of three unscented LED candles, powered by AA batteries. I also found LED under counter lights also powered by AA batteries. The next item in the cart a card of AA Duracell batteries. More for backup, rather than need. I’m a rechargeable battery kind of guy … but with no electric, there’s no recharging. So regular Duracell batteries seemed prudent.
Next stop, food isles. Another 6-pack of canned tuna seemed to be a good purchase. I also bought a mega-bag of almonds. Another good source of protein, and no cooking needed. I had a good enough supply of my Medifast foods too, even though I was already transitioning off to store-bought food. It was still good nutrition and no cooking needed. That was that for Costco.
By Noon I was pretty much set. I was back at my apartment and switching between The Weather Channel, and CNN. I tried to limit my CNN exposure, because they seem to sensationalize where the Weather Channel was going to give me the facts, plain and simple. By around 3:00 PM I was feeling a bit antsy. I decided to break out my Columbia Sport Omni-Heat top & get bundled up and go for a walk on the boardwalk. Mind you the wind was already blowing, it was raining, and it was a bit cold. I also figured it might be days before I could get out or do any other exercise. I also wanted to take a few before photos. though I decided to just use my iPhone. And off I went.
Figured the first thing to do was document how my street, 6th Ave, looked before. Just in case. Stepped out into the street and clicked off two, one west, one east. Then I walked down to the boardwalk. The wind was already gusting to 20+ mph or more. But with my rain gear and all, I was set. Wasn’t cold at all. Walked up to the boardwalk. To my surprise, I was not the only crazy person out in all this. While at the boardwalk I took many photos. On my way back I was kind of speed walking into the wind. A woman saw me & asked me in a very incredulous voice, “Are you out here exercising?” To which I responded … “… could be! With the thought of possibly being trapped in the house or evacuated to a shelter for the next few days … I was out here blowing off a little steam.”
The rest of the day was still rather uneventful, in our neck of the woods. But watching the progress of the storm on the Weather Channel & CNN was a bit surreal. Around dinner time I watched a movie, then watched my usual Sunday night shows, Dexter, Homeland, and Treme. I also recorded Boardwalk Empire to watch Monday morning if I still had electric. I went to bed somewhere around midnight. Monday late afternoon, early evening was when we were predicted get the brunt of Sandy’s wrath.
Monday morning. Still had electric. The day was spent indoors. We were already being told to NOT go out unless in emergency or being told to evacuate. Made breakfast, had coffee and watched Boardwalk Empire which seamed both apropos and ironic even at this point in the storm. Made it through a good part of the day before I lost electric. Luckily I had gotten a god tip from the Weather Channel very early in the day. Crank up your refrigerator and your freezer to high setting. This way things will stay colder, longer, as long as you don ‘t open the doors unnecessarily. You can learn things from TV!
Throughout the day, I would walk downstairs to make sure my street wasn’t flooded yet. Being flanked on the north and south by lakes, made me worry that if storm surges were as high as predicted, those two bodies of water might meet up, though there is three blocks between them.
Once the electric went out … that’s when the fun began! NOT! Started opening my Costco LED light strip packages and setting those up. Figured there was no sense busting open the packages if I wasn’t going to use them. But now they were needed. They also gave off much better light than the LED candles, or single flashlights. I also fired up the Red Cross radio and listened to 1010 WINS for a little while. I think I was in bed by 8 PM or so. I figured, why stay up and waste batteries. By this time we were being hit by the brunt of the storm. With the entire town dark … I just crawled under the covers and that was the end of my Pre-Sandy worries.
I’d have to wait to see what the morning brought.