The Lookout

Sandy moves inland, cuts power and ices roads: Residents’ stories from the storm

The Lookout

From Florida to New England, residents along the eastern seaboard are sharing their anecdotes, photos and videos of Hurricane-turned-"Superstorm" Sandy. Below are excerpts from the latest dispatches from people living through the storm. All times on posts are ET. Interested in writing about your experiences? Share your story at Yahoo! Contributor Network and your Sandy photos on Flickr.

WEDNESDAY

1:45 p.m.

Fears of fire, looting in southwest Long Island

JAMAICA, N.Y.—I can only wonder what is happening to my building and wondering if I will have a home to return home to.

Early on Tuesday, I received texts that at least 50 homes had burned down in the Breezy Point part of the Rockaways.

Later, I was informed from multiple sources that it would be between three and 11 days before the Rockaways would get electricity restored. Not only would it be dark, I wouldn't be able to work. With no electricity, none of the heat in our building worked. The pilot light on my stove did not work. A number of people in the area were obviously using candles, generators, or space heaters, as the temperature was dropping. But these devices can be pretty dangerous. I made the decision to leave Far Rockaway and stay with relatives in other parts of Queens.

I rode the Q113 to Jamaica. On that bus, I was told that looters had left Far Rockaway and looted a Marshall's in the 5 towns part of Nassau. Many on the bus worried what looters would do in a darkened Rockaways. Other expressed concern how would they be able to leave their buildings if elevators didn't work, and if it was completely dark inside.

Once I got to the safety of my cousin's house, I saw on the news that the darkness was a contributor not only to accidental fires, but it made fighting them a lot more complicated. The Rockaways, a lovely beach front section of Queens that had been rapidly gentrifying, seemed to be gripped by fear as a number of residents contemplated living elsewhere.

— Justin Samuels

11:45 a.m.

Clean-up begins in rural Pennsylvania

HONESDALE, Pa.—Hurricanes and tornado's are expected in the South and Midwest, but living in Pennsylvania, I never expected to worry about these natural disasters.

We heard the wind and rain pounding our Honesdale neighborhood. At times, the wind sounded like it was going to lift the roof off our home. After a particularly strong gust sounding like the side of our home was physically pushed, we looked at each other and, at the same time, said "What was that?"

We were brave enough to venture outside and investigate. Sandy  uprooted a large pine tree that fell against our roof. Next door, our neighbors had two large pine trees fall.

Now the clean-up begins.

— Amy Faatz

8:23 a.m.

West Virginia residents in the dark

HUNTINGTON, W.V.—Many of my family and friends are without power and stranded inside their homes, hoping the roads will soon be cleared and the power restored.
Snow blankets the ground and the schools are cancelled. I was in awe with the rest of the city: Winter had arrived early this year on the eve of Halloween. Some of my friends were stranded away from their homes. My mother, Jean, and my brother-in-law, Danny, are among the thousands without power. I called off work due to the icy roads; neighbors and friends have been in accidents trying to leave for work.

The snow has slowly melted off; however, the temperatures remain low in the 30s with the winds blowing at 10 miles per hour and the electric company telling everyone that some people may be without power into next week.

— Chris Williams

TUESDAY

9:35 p.m.

Sandy tosses boats around New Jersey harbor

LITTLE EGG HARBOR, N.J.—We returned to Little Egg Harbor to assess the damages at our waterfront property and passed boats in the street and saw docks up in yards before learning that our home had taken on over three feet of water.

While we do have damages and a lot of clean-up ahead of us, we are thankful that we came through this ordeal safely, especially after hearing of the destruction this "superstorm" brought to so many communities.

— Maria Malone

5:38 p.m.

'Never seen anything like it'

EAST MEADOW, N.Y.—Heavy winds from Hurricane Sandy resulted in several trees getting knocked down here on Long Island.

East Meadow, located in the heart of Nassau County, was ravaged by strong rainfall, severe winds and storm-like conditions on Tuesday.

At my home in Nassau County, my family and I experienced a major scare when howling winds knocked several branches down late on Monday evening.

On Tuesday, many folks on my block were without power, and left to clean up fallen leaves and branches left in the aftermath of the hurricane.

I have never seen anything like it in my 30 years of living in the New York-metro area.

— Eric Holden

3:52 p.m.


Discovering my tree-impaled car in Queens

QUEENS—As I walked out of my apartment building today, the streets were covered in debris from last nights storm. I turned the corner to find a huge branch impaling the passenger side of my windshield.

I quickly unlocked the vehicle to check if there was any internal damage. Although there was glass all over the interior, there seemed to be no major damage to it. The branch that fell was about 10 to 15 feet long and allowed some water to flow into the car. Luckily, there seemed to be no major mechanical issues with the vehicle.

After calling my insurance company, I'm now out $1,000 for the cost of the deductible. Due to the high claim activity, I will be forced to wait at least a week for my car to be processed and fixed.

— Mike Wong

2:36 p.m.

Sandy 'by far the worst' storm in 30 years in Jersey

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, N.J.—I have been a resident here for the past 30 years. Hurricane Sandy is by far the worst hurricane to hit my town. Strong winds and rain began on Monday in the afternoon. We lost power at 4:36 p.m. The height of the storm came around 8 p.m.

This morning, I drove around the neighborhood to survey the damage. There were fallen trees and power lines everywhere.

We are still without power. All of my neighbors and friends are without power. These images show the damage done by Hurricane Sandy. And this is within just a few blocks.

— Edwin Torres

2:19 p.m.

Weathering 'Superstorm' Sandy in Jersey

DELRAN, N.J.—Many of our neighbors lost power, but we lucked out. We went outside Tuesday and noticed a lot of small and large branches scattered about our front and backyard. A neighbor, just down the street, however, was not so lucky. A very large tree took out the entire side of their house and crushed a car in the driveway. Luckily, the family living in the house was safely rescued and there were no injuries.

Now all we can do is wait, listen to the news and help out wherever we can. We have been told there could be more rain today, so there is still danger of trees falling and flooding not receding.

— Julie Wimmer

11:46 a.m.

Park Slope retains power, mostly intact

BROOKLYN—On the morning after Hurricane Sandy made landfall, millions of New Yorkers were still left without power. However, in the area surrounding Prospect Park, this is not the case. Residents, including myself, still have power, and but for a few flickers here and there during the heaviest winds, never lost it. At the same time, the comparative lack of winds and higher elevation as opposed to other parts of Brooklyn have also left Park Slope free from flooding.

Other than a few gusts of wind here and there, the weather in Park Slope is nothing that would prevent myself or any other residents from going about their daily business. With that said, because of the major flooding elsewhere in the city, and especially in a number of subway tunnels, Brooklynites are basically stranded until further notice. A small price to pay for escaping the brunt of the storm mostly intact.

— Zev Ketura

10:38 a.m.

Sandy creeps into northern Ohio, bending trees and whipping winds

MARBLEHEAD, Ohio—This morning, obsessed with going out into what felt like 60 mph winds, I donned a raincoat and rubber boots and went. Making my way around the side of the house situated next to a tall boat barn, I was almost pushed over despite the wind cover. I stiffened my legs against the force, but knew staying out any longer, I'd be down. The power of it was dizzying. Not very sure about whether a tree on our partly wooded lot might timber down on me in the darkness, I was back inside in a flash.

Trees are bent over ready to touch the ground. Overnight, the autumn colors disappeared. Skies outline barren rain-soaked tree branches. With snow season upcoming, normally we would have had an artistic study in black and white. Yet now, the horizon is an imperious miserable grey. A storm like Sandy serves us as a memento of how utterly small we really are in this universe.

— Caralell Gibson

12:30 a.m.


In New Jersey, trees falling and wind howling from Sandy

DENVILLE, N.J.—The tree fell easily. It was a thud. The lights flickered and came back on. It's a shock to think we still have power at this point but we are one of the lucky ones. I'd expect that will change soon.

When the winds blow, it sounds like a freight train. As I write, I read posts from my friends across New Jersey. Trees are down everywhere. Nearly everyone is without power. Each time I hear a strong gust the lights flicker and I hear something else hit the house.

My family and I have a makeshift camp in our basement where we will all sleep this evening. The chance of a tree falling on the house makes it too unsafe to be anywhere else. Only a few blocks away, this tree (pictured above) overturned and gratefully did so across a lawn. It missed the home and cars... more importantly it missed people.

We are now in the heart of the storm as the gusts are expected to keep up until midnight tonight. I fear for what we will see when daylight comes tomorrow

— Gioia Degenaars

12:18 a.m.


New York streets dangerous with falling debris

BROOKLYN—As the night progresses, it is getting scarier. The wind is coming in through every crevice of the old buildings many of us live in. Massive power outages are beginning to affect the city. Internet is starting to crash as well.

The FDR (a major highway in NYC) is flooded. This is a big outlet to and from the city. Crashes and clangs are being heard from outside. Making many of us wonder what is flying through the streets. Stores are closed. ATMs are malfunctioning.

While stepping out to throw out a smelly bag of trash, a piece of metal scaffolding flew down from more than five stories up and landed within four feet of me. (See picture.)

Winds are more dangerous than they feel right now. This city has much debris, making it seriously dangerous outside.

— Melissa Walker

12:02 a.m.

Sandy uproots tree, smashes Queens garage

QUEENS—Earlier Monday, a huge tree in Queens was knocked over by the powerful winds of Hurricane Sandy. Luckily no people were hurt; the tree just crushed the garage. As I walked by, I snapped pictures of the accident and you can see how it just barely missed the main house on the left.

The Forest Hills Gardens neighborhood in Queens is known for its English-style homes and large trees. However, during storms like this, it's best for the residents to stay indoors, take in their Halloween decorations, and park their cars in the garage. The force of the hurricane winds are so fierce you have to worry about the whole tree and not just the falling branches.

— Mike Wong

MONDAY

11:49 p.m.

Lulled for 'Superstorm' Sandy by indolent Irene

HOBOKEN, N.J.—As I sit in my darkened apartment, typing with a flashlight, I cannot believe that Sandy seemed inconsequential only 12 hours ago. 48 hours ago, I was enjoying the beginning of a weeklong series of Halloween celebrations for my three young children. Now, I sit with sewage-laden flood waters lapping at my children's bicycles and beloved possessions in the garage while the water inexorably rises through the building stairwell, leaving destruction in its wake.

Hoboken has hurricane fatigue. With two major storms in 14 months and the letdown of evacuating homes that remain pristine during our absences, my neighbors blithely disregarded the storm warnings over the last few days; virtually no one evacuated.

I first became aware that the threat was serious when I woke up on Monday morning to a picture of flooding at the Hoboken train station. Reports came in through the morning of high levels of water first lapping at the Hoboken waterfront and then flooding Sinatra Drive. The highest point in Hoboken, Castle Point, never floods -- until today. Heavy wind took down trees around City Hall and led to the explosion of a power station that plunged half of Hoboken into darkness. In anticipation of losing power, I established a text message group to stay in contact with local parents. The reports trickling in became increasingly dire as the storm surge moved west. Car alarms and explosions have punctuated the night.

— Kathy Zucker

6:40 p.m.


In Virginia, empty shelves at stores

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va.—At noon, I took it upon myself to visit a couple of my friends and go around the city of Herndon to randomly ask how people are dealing with the preparations for the storm.

We went to the shopping mall and asked a woman, Janice, what she thinks. She said she's glad for the storm because it finally gives her a break from all the boring election news coverage on TV.

Brad Dansky, 22, said he "scored bananas and an LED flashlight at the 7-11. Woohoo."

Janette, 51, said she's taking bets with all her friends on how many leaks she'll find in the ceilings of her house this week and that she's going to brunch like there's no tomorrow.

Wendy Shaw, 34, says her plan of attack for the hurricane is to "get a few party boxes of tacos and call it a day."

We were surprised that there were a group of guys playing flag football in their yards. They said, "Sandy… BRING IT ON!!"

— Samuel Gonzales

6:24 p.m.

Hurricane Sandy flexes her power on Long Island

LONG ISLAND—Just past noon, I went out to take a few pictures expecting to do a before and after. Sandy had other plans, though. The water had already come inland in several places blocking roads and causing evacuations. Trees and telephone poles were down before 2 p.m.. Here are a few of the pictures I took today. The storm still hasn't really hit us here yet. I shudder to think the kind of damage we are about to experience.

— Edward J. Neary

4:10 p.m.

Power still on in Far Rockaway in Queens

QUEENS—Folks around town crowded the local grocery store, Food Dynasty, and purchased huge amounts of food. I was one of them. While some people left Far Rockaway, others in the houses near me and the apartment building I live in stayed. For a while, things seemed calmed. The wind picked up, then died down.

By late this morning, the wind hit the building pretty hard and I could hear the wind's blasts. While there has been rain, my apartment in Far Rockaway has not experienced flooding as of 2:10 p.m.

At times, though, the whole building seems to shake. Power has not been affected. One lone man left the building during the storm. I wasn't sure who he was or why he was leaving the building in the middle of the storm on his bicycle. I just sat in my room, waiting for the storm to blow over, thankful I still had power.

— Justin Samuels

4:03 p.m.


Wind gusts increasing in Morris County, New Jersey

DENVILLE, N.J.—Hurricane Sandy is a monster to be sure. My family and I have tied down everything we can outside. We have a make-shift camp in our basement for fear of downed tree limbs. We are as ready as we can be for power outages. We sit and wait for Sandy's approaching wrath.

Gusts have already started that will reach upward of 60 to 70 mph by this evening. The trees swaying in the back are a fearful reminder of the damage that this storm can bring to us in northern New Jersey. While we do not have the ocean to contend with, we do have many rivers and large trees that can damage our homes.

— Gioia Degenaars

3:59 p.m.

Sandy already bringing down tree limbs in New York

BROOKLYN—As the storm approaches New York City, residents are preparing to hunker down for the immediate future. As of 2 p.m. on Monday in Crown Heights (in central Brooklyn) the storm gusts are increasing and the streets are pretty much empty.

Trees are starting to go down and branches litter the street. The winds are not very high, but as they increase, the damage will be much greater. With expected gusts up to 75 mph and with trees already going down with gusts of around 35 mph, this has the potential to be damaging as the buildings start creating a wind-tunnel effect.

Transportation has ground to a halt and the schools are closed. As a transplant from the South, weathering a storm of this magnitude in the Northeast is a bit odd. As the flooding in areas in NYC increases, watching the news turns those of us not in the evacuation zones into outsiders looking in, as well.

— Melissa Walker

3:42 p.m.

A stormy wedding, thanks to Hurricane Sandy

QUEENS—My wedding is in four days. And while most of the preparations are ready, there are a few things that went wrong and need to be handled last-minute.

Last night, I was visiting my fiance's relatives in Massapequa. An hour after we got back to my mom's house in Elmont, we found out that they had to evacuate their home. His cousins in Long Beach were supposed to evacuate as well since they live right by the water, but they decided to stay home. They've since put up pictures on Facebook of the deluge outside their front steps as well as a snapshot of a reporter from ABC News coming over to interview them.

When I first heard about the magnitude of the storm, one of my first thoughts was, Oh no, I never got wedding insurance. And I sure as heck won't be able to get it now. When I was on the fence about purchasing wedding insurance, I thought that it ultimately wouldn't come in handy because the only disaster I could think of was a snowstorm, and those don't happen in this part of New York in November.

— Tricia Bangit

2:46 p.m.

On Upper East Side, Sandy is bad, but not horrible yet

MANHATTAN—Power remains on, the streets still have people and cars and, except for the pending arrival of the really bad weather, it seems like any other day.

Reports from friends and co-workers from the Jersey shore to Long Island say that the ocean is really kicking up and flooding has been anywhere from moderate to very bad. A friend reports that water was coming up to Ocean Avenue in Belmar, N.J., and another friend who decided to stay in her apartment in Battery Park is reporting water on the rise.

Do not be fooled, the worst is yet to come! Rain, wind and flooding will all increasingly worse as the day progresses. Stay inside or head to a shelter.

— TR Threston

1:27 p.m.

Blustering hollers of wind in New York

QUEENS—Earlier, I tweeted, "Hurricanes are always such teases. It's 2012. Bring on a real apocalypse already." Perhaps that was a bit arrogant, and I'll fully understand the irony should this hurricane murder me. However, I'm confident that it will sweep over with little impact on my life.

Outside, its effects are definitely being felt. The closure of the MTA for any given amount of time surely impacts business and industry substantially. I'm curious what operations may still be up and running during this windy mess. I've occasionally looked outside to see the trees moving back and forth from the gusts. The streets are mostly empty. I've seen no people today, but did see a single car driving around earlier.

I'm doing what I should do to stay safe: absolutely nothing. The real danger, if there is any, would be outside. So, I'm staying inside, and you should probably do the same. There are mandatory evacuations apparently happening in the major flood zones. I happen to be in a groove surrounded by Zone C, the least likely to flood. So, even if Zone A is in danger, my apartment building should be fine.

— Clayburn Griffin

11:22 a.m.


Expecting Hurricane Sandy floods in Denville and Rockaway, N.J.

DENVILLE, N.J.—This year we are ready. We've sand-bagged. We've moved things out of the way of water. We've lowered lakes and boarded up. Yet, something about Hurricane Sandy fills us with a dread that most of us in New Jersey cannot shake.This picture is a scene from the Broadway area of Denville on Sunday afternoon.

Residents of Denville and Rockaway are expecting the Rockaway River to spill over its banks and cause massive flooding just one year after Hurricane Irene nearly wiped out the main street.

— Gioia Degenaars

11:01 a.m.

Hurricane Sandy takes aim at northeastern Pennsylvania

MILFORD, Pa.—As of 10 a.m. on Monday morning, the track of Hurricane Sandy puts it just a few short hours away from here in northeastern Pennsylvania.

But already the winds are picking up in Pike County.

It is anticipated to make landfall along the Delaware coast, just south of Philadelphia. By the time the eye reaches inland, the winds are expected to cause it to be downgraded to a tropical storm. But by then, the damage for areas such as Pike County will have been done. Traditionally in this area, the rain will loosen the ground beneath trees and power poles. The high winds then rip these from the ground. In the past power has been off for days and weeks at a time. With the predictions calling for this storm to be worse than Irene of just two years ago, residents are gearing up for the worst: They're buying up water and staple foods at our local Wal-Mart, Kmart and other grocery stores. Even convenience stores like the Turkey Hill in Milford are feeling the panic.

— Charles B Reynolds

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