Skip to comments.Frankenstorm Sandy ‘Bunkered Down, Expecting the Worst’
Posted on 10/31/2012 9:23:58 AM PDT by IsraelBeach
Frankenstorm Sandy - Bunkered down, expecting the worst
By Joel Leyden
The Jerusalem Post
New York, NY --- October 31, 2012 ... Within a matter of hours, the many vibrant red, yellow and green leaves of a New England autumn were shredded from their trees in the worst winds and floods to hit the US Northeast.
We were given more than enough warning. The National Weather Service issued statements more than a week ago that a Frankenstorm monster would form out of Hurricane Sandy, which was slowly moving up the East Coast. That Sandy, which had created much destruction in the Caribbean, would integrate with a winter storm moving east across the US and was to be joined by a blast of frigid arctic air coming from the north.
New Yorkers and Israelis have much in common. We are aggressive and pushy and fear almost nothing. And so it went with the forecast of what was predicted to be the worst storm to slam the US.
But as weather forecasts and maps born from computer software became more and more accurate with every passing hour, many of us started to take heed.
Having been a victim of last years October ice storm, which crippled the American Northeast with early snow and ice, I began to prepare a checklist as if I were getting ready for IDF reserve duty.
First and foremost, to make sure all communications would be operative. I reactivated a second mobile phone with Verizon, the only company that got many of us through last years storms. For Internet, I reactivated a hot-spot mobile router so that once the electricity dropped, I could continue harassing my friends on social media Websites Facebook and Twitter.
From digital to brick and mortars I left my computer screens for long lines at gas stations to fill several red canisters with gas for the electric generator, which would feed our lights, refrigerator, oil burner and computers.
After living in Israel for over 25 years, preparing for emergencies becomes second nature.
After all, if we were not prepared, we simply would not survive.
As Sandy slowly crept up toward the New York and New Jersey coast, we made sure that our refrigerator and food closets were well stocked. Local news reporters were telling us that most would lose electricity for a few days to a few weeks. Then the governors of Connecticut and New York warned that we would be facing the most catastrophic storm to ever hit the US.
How does one respond to that?
Were we talking about high winds of more than 100 miles per hour, rainfall of over 8 inches, over 2 feet of snow, sea levels of more than 14 feet above normal, and talking to Dorothy and Toto in the midst of swirling tornadoes?
As a journalist, I know how to find fact. To read between the lines. And in this case, it became clear that all of the weather forecasters were basing their knowledge on projected weather models that were proving to be very real. But it was where they sincerely stated, just a few times, that they could not fully predict where and how much damage this massive, historic storm would inflict upon us that provoked the most anxiety.
We were told to prepare. No different than getting ready for Katusha rockets and Scud missiles, I taped up all of the windows.
Trimmed branches that were hanging over nearby power lines. Purchased the last hand-cranked Red Cross weather radio from Radio Shack. Made sure that the dog and cats had both food and toys. Flashlight in my pocket.
Most important was the emergency food deliveries that friends and I make twice a week to homeless shelters in the Greater Hartford, Connecticut area. On Sunday night, we picked up six boxes and plastic bags of freshly made bread, bagels and pastries from a Panera store.
We made our rounds just hours before Frankenstorm started to rain on us. We distributed to police stations, fire departments, the National Guard (which had been called up for the storm) and three homeless shelters.
With our eyes glued to the TV and I scanning every local news site on the Net, we bunkered down, expecting the worst.
High winds began to shake all around us, howling outside as we drank coffee late into the night and assured our friends that we would be okay.
Being about 100 miles north of New York and the center of the storm provided very little comfort.
The weather people were telling us that the path of the storm was not relevant that what was once a hurricane was now a winter storm which would only increase in power over a massive area from Boston to Washington.
If New York had problems, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston and Baltimore could not provide backup, as we were all in this together.
Whatever logistical support we did receive came from electric companies that had sent their crews from the Midwest.
Watching the hurricane batter New York and Long Island was a heartbreaking experience. The devastation that took place there reminded me of covering 9/11 at Ground Zero. One-third of Manhattan was and is now without electricity. Lower Manhattan the financial district is completely flooded, with water pouring mercilessly down into the subway stations.
A construction crane standing high over the city on 57th Street snapped, threatening 10 nearby buildings. NYU Hospital, whose back-up electric generators had given way, was being evacuated, with dozens of ambulances racing to and from. And Breezy Point, Queens, where a fire driven by 100 mph winds destroyed over 80 homes.
Perhaps my good friend Gary Vanderwalde, who lives out on Long Island summed up the entire experience from his home in an SMS message: Joel, sorry, cant call you. No electricity. Saving battery. More than 5 feet of water in my basement. My car is destroyed. We don't expect anything normal for weeks. This is a catastrophe. But we survived."
Lenny Shapiro, another childhood friend who lives in Woodstock, New York said: "No power, no Internet, no phones. Running low on food. Only thousands of trees blocking roads, blocking my driveway. But we are New Yorkers. We will be OK.
The writer, a native of New York who lives in Raanana, Israel is an international journalist and a senior crisis communications and social media adviser.
Leyden, who has taken part in global humanitarian relief efforts, also serves as a consultant to the IDF and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Over 90 percent of Long Island has no electricity. Only seafront property is under water. They do not expect anything normal for weeks. Red Cross and National Guard are on the scene.
Really? "Most catastrophic...ever"? It's this kind of hyperbole that makes people reluctant to take action.
On a side note, Mayor of New York Doomberg is trying to buy the local District 10 Congressional in central Florida where I live.
The race is between Dan Webster, who I know personally, and the local democrat who served as Orange County sheriff for 2 years, then quit to run for congress. Webster is the guy that beat Alan "Die Quicker" Grayson.
Val Demmings is the former sheriff who was elected at the same time her husband, Gerry Demmings, was elected Police Chief of Orlando.
He has been accused of cooking the crime stat books as he has claimed violent crime in the area has gone down 26%. But everyone around sees the shootings and home invasions almost daily. We had a 15 year old girl shot while riding home from church with her parents in their van. two gang banging occupied cars passed them shooting at each other and the child was shot. She is still in a coma.
Anyway, Dan Webster is pretty much above reproach when it comes to honesty.
If you are can drive to Long Island - bring cellphone batteries.
(Reuters) - New York City’s subway system will resume operating on a limited basis on Thursday, four days after shutting down ahead of the arrival of Sandy, the massive storm that brought unprecedented flooding to the world’s financial capital, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Limited service on suburban commuter rail lines serving Long Island to the east and Westchester County and Connecticut to the north will resume on Wednesday afternoon, Cuomo said at a press conference.
My brother is about 3/4 mile north of the evacuation line Merrick Road)and has an elevation of 14ft.
Prayers for your brother, and all the other people.