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I survived SuperStorm Sandy!  This storm was the worst storm I have ever experienced.  I have experienced many nor’easter’s and hurricanes, but none can compare to Sandy.  She made Floyd and Irene look like spring showers.  I remember the blizzard of 96, that storm dumped three feet of snow.  And yet that storm was nothing compared to Sandy.  Most storms that hit NJ cause destruction that is concentrated in one or two area of the state.  Not Sandy, every community, town and city was impacted.

Before the storm, there was a lot of talk over the airways to be prepared for power outages that could last up to 10 days (They weren’t kidding).  So I prepared.  Made lots of ice in ziplock baggies, and got lots of can goods and produce that didn’t need to be refrigerated.  Filled many jugs with water to use for washing and flushing.  I filled my car with gas.  I also, picked up a flashlight that needs AAA batteries.  The only thing I couldn’t get was D batteries.  In a time of crisis D batteries are very hard to come by. Luckily, I had 4 D batteries at home.

The day of the storm was a waiting game.  Everyone in the state held their breathe and waited.  Sandy made her presence known by her wind.  I have never seen trees bend and sway like I did the night the lights went out in New Jersey.  Trees were bending to a 45 degree angle.  I stood in front of my sliders on the third floor of my apartment building and watched the trees.  As I watched, the force of Sandy’s winds made my sliders and windows shake.  I thought my windows were going to break.  I could feel the building move as Sandy’s winds pushed against it.  I will be honest, I was scared.  There was a point when I was hiding in the bathroom and the kitchen.  These rooms are the furthest from any window.  In the mist of all this, my power went out.  Before the power went out, I was looking out my sliders and saw lightening in the sky.  Then I saw a burst of orange light up on the hill.  After the burst of light, the power went out.  It must have been a transformer that burst into flames.  In the darkness, I could still see the trees bending and swaying.  As I watched I wondered if the trees in front of my sliders were going to fall into my apartment.  Then one of the trees snapped and was leaning into the tree next to it.  A few minutes later the tree snapped at it’s base and fell next to my building.  I called one of my neighbors and said “We’ve lost a tree”.  Fifteen minutes later I heard another tree snap and fall to the ground.  Luckily these trees missed the building.

So there I laid in the darkness listening to Sandy’s winds.  I couldn’t sleep until her winds died down.  It must have been close to 3:00 am before I fell asleep in the quiet.

I awoke at 6am.  It was still dark and my complex had no power.  I grabbed my flashlight and went outside to see if a tree fell on my car.  Luckily my car was not damage.  I could see that trees had fallen but I had to wait for daylight to see the extent of the damage.  When I went outside in the daylight, I could see the expanse of the destruction.  Last count was 20 trees were on the ground and some shingles were ripped off our buildings.  As I walked around my complex looking at all the damage, I chatted with my neighbors.  We shared our experiences and discussed how we will clean up the mess.  My complex was without power for three days.  During those three days I got to know my neighbors well.  One night, my neighbor and I hung out in her cold apartment drinking hot tea and talking by flashlight.

Even though I lost power I didn’t lose my phone service.  This was a blessing.  During and after the storm I was camped out by land line phone.  I was on the phone with different family members a few times a day checking in to make sure they were ok.  And my friends were simply wonderful.  I would talk to my friends out of state to find out what was going on in New Jersey.  My friends enduring this crisis with me were awesome.  We reached out to each other making sure we were all ok and accounted for.   We were in constant contact either by phone or Facebook.  I couldn’t have gotten through this crisis without them.

I went to the shoprite the day after the storm.  Somehow the shoprite had power and was open with empty shelves.  Shoprite had not received a shipment yet.  In fact, it took three days before trucks were allowed on the highways in New Jersey.  At least that is what it seem.  I can see a major highway from my window and there were no trucks on that road until the third day.   Speaking of trucks, most gas stations were closed because they didn’t have power.  The second day after the storm, some of the gas stations were pumping gas by generator.  So you can just imagine the gas lines.  It was 1979 all over again.  Boy, was I glad I filled up before the storm.

Gas lines after Superstorm Sandy

I had one or two bad experiences while walking around the neighborhood.  One really bothered me.  I was crossing a two lane road at an intersection by foot.  The light was green and as a pedestrian I had the right of way.  Well, the person making the right saw me and was waiting for me to cross.  The person making the left didn’t see me and thought the person making the right was letting him go.  That didn’t bother me.  But the woman behind him was going to make the left, when I yelled and gestured, “Hey, I’m here!”   I got her attention and she stopped and started cursing at me as I crossed the street.  She rolled down her window and was screaming “bitch”   I turned around and gave her the finger.  As I walked home I can feel the anger boiling.  It took me an hour or two before I cooled off.  Aside from this experience, I would say most New Jersey residents were helpful and caring during the crisis.

When I got power, I saw all the destruction on the Jersey Shore.  It made me cry.  I spent many summers down the Shore.  It was very hard seeing the shore line after Sandy.

Seaside Heights Roller coaster in the Atlantic ocean!

Homes along the Jersey shoreline destroyed by SuperStorm Sandy

My Aunt lives on a lagoon in Tuckerton, NJ and the waters flooded her home.  Her home saw four feet of water.  My  cousin lives in Manasquan, NJ.  Her apartment also flooded up to four feet.  They were both evacuated and lost everything.   Everyone else in my family lost power.  Except for my Aunt who lives in Toms River.  I don’t know how she didn’t lose power.    It mystifies me, since everything around her home was destroyed.  Some people I know lost power for about two weeks.  It is very hard living without power for 3 days never mind 10 or more days.  But most New Jersey residents took this crisis in stride and watched out for each other.  This crisis brought out the best in people with a few exceptions.  I must say after SuperStorm Sandy, I am very proud to be a Jersey Girl!

It was interesting living without power.  I was able to cook and take hot showers because the gas lines weren’t damaged.  But boy, is it quiet without power.  I had to find things to entertain myself that didn’t need power, so I did a lot of drawing.  My life had slowed down.  To tell you the truth, I enjoyed the quiet.  Now that my life is hectic again, I miss those quiet days.

A week after the storm, I walked around the neighborhood and took some pictures.  The pictures below can never truly express the intensity and magnitude of Sandy’s wrath.  These photos are just a glimpse of what New Jersey residents experienced the night 2.7 millions people lost power.

Siding was blown off this home

Tree snapped in half

Winds of SuperStorm Sandy uproot many trees

Tree uprooted and being held up by a house

Street with many fallen trees

Car crushed by tree

Utility pole, transformer and trees knocked down by Sandy’s winds

Now that the storms are over and the cleanup has begun, I want to give everyone hug.

Hugs for you

And my heart goes out to everyone who lost love ones, their homes, property and power.  I just want reach out and comfort you for a few minutes.

We survived

It has been a hard two weeks.  New Jersey residents dealt with Superstorm Sandy and a Nor’easter that dumped up to a foot of snow.   We came through these storms and we are stronger then ever.  We are Jersey Strong!  We are here for each other and we will rebuild!

Cleaning up the mess SuperStorm Sandy left behind