Hurricane Sandy Progress & Demise
Part 2 & 3
Copyright Vladimir Kagan, October 30, 2012
It’s Getting Serious
Monday 29th of October:Twelve Noon – The storm is 150 miles south of the city but the impact can now be felt all around. The trees are no long docile, their leaves are blowing off like a snowstorm. From my window, the limbs are thrashing in all directions, sucked up into the vortex of the wind that is rushing through the canyons of New York’s high-rise buildings. There was early flooding at the Battery, the southern tip of Manhattan, that is now receding, waiting for the next high tide at six this evening. The immensity of the surge combined with a full moon will guarantee water flooding this area up to seven feet above ground level. Subway entrances will serve as huge drainage holes; water cascading down staircases. The Brooklyn and Holland Tunnels will be closed as of 3 P.M., the remaining Lincoln tunnel will surely follow shortly thereafter. Bridges will be closed when wind gusts reach 60 MPH…. This will easily happen as gusts are predicted to reach 90 MPH.
The city has ground to standstill – a strange phenomena.
Where Peter stood six hours earlier - water gushing on the footpath with the Jersey Shoreline in the backgound... before it all went dark
This is an exclusive! My friend Peter Bordes went out into the storm and shot this amazing YouTube video, the Hudson River overflowing into the streets of New York
The windows and doors in my apartment are noisily rattling. The girls are in the kitchen baking chocolate chip cookies (yummy). I am sitting at my desk being creative on the computer to keep you informed. The dog needs walking (a necessity regardless of the weather) and the rest of our menagerie: a bunny, a canary, and three fish, are unperturbed. All that’s missing is a fire in the fireplace (yes in pre-war apartment buildings in New York, those luxuries exist) and a friendly game of Monopoly (if we can find it).
Nine P.M. (21 hours on the International system). We are in the brunt of the storm. It officially made landfall at Atlantic City, New Jersey… a stone’s throw away from New York, (geographically speaking). It has officially been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone…. But don’t be fooled by the name… it is punching winds of 80 miles per hour. While the storm is steadily pushing northward, the wind is swirling in from the Northeast but beginning to also rattle-in from the South. The rain from my window is streaking in vertical swaths across the cityscape. High tide is just about now and significant portions of lower Manhattan are under six to ten feet of water. Power has been shut down below 29th Street, creating a ghostly spectacle for New Yorkers, who are used to seeing their skyline ablaze with light. As I sit at my desk the wind is howling and the glass in my living room windows is menacingly pulsating. With each wind gusts, you can feel the momentary pressure right inside the room. Our lights threateningly sputter, but power has remained on. None-the-less, we feel safe and snug with a fire in the living room accentuating the coziness of being at home. The dog still needs walking and he too is loath to step out of the apartment into the unfriendly street. Rumor has it that due to the flooding, Wall Street may remain closed until Friday. Sitting at dinner, we tried to evaluate the financial loss to the region, but gave up on this conundrum. We will read all about it soon enough in the morning papers.
Damage throughout the East Coast was horrendous. I will not attempt to describe it… you will surely read about it in your newspapers and see it endlessly on the television. Mercifully my little personal account of the storm is tame… it will continue to howl through the night as it slowly is abating….
Tuesaday, October 30th
The Aftermath: Tuesday Morning
All night long the wind was howling, but as it tapered off, it resonated into an eerie whistle as it found its way through air conditioner brackets… the secession of rain pounding on the windows made for an unexpected extra hours of sleep. The storm has passed. … Our part of upper Manhattan came through unscathed. Not so the rest of the city. Downtown there is no electricity – tunnels and subways are flooded (salt water and third rails don’t mix well). My meeting on West 26th Street was called off due to six foot of flooding in the lobby and of course no electricity.
Still, the city got off fairly easily. New Jersey was destroyed. Over two and a half million people have been dislodged… some forever as their house were uprooted and tossed into the middle of middle of streets and state highways…..Railroad cars floated onto the major North South Jersey Turnpike – trees are down - electricity will take weeks to restore – the entire shore area (one of the State’s major summer attractions) is in ruins. Telephone and wireless service is disrupted everywhere. We are back in the middle ages as far as communication goes.
Long Island, Connecticut and Rhode Island were similarly hit, but to a much lesser degree, There is no estimate of the death tolls as most places are still inaccessible.
Nantucket was spared and my son assured me that not even a tree had fallen. By ten in the evening the stars came out and there was total calm… not a flag was fluttering…. Our Island has a charmed life!
…And so I sit here in my ivory tower, away from all the havoc, writing this personal report to you. By now, if you are a news hound, you know more than I do!