As some of you know or may have guessed, my unplanned blogging silence over the past week was a result of Hurricane Sandy hitting the East Coast. My personal storm saga began on Sunday, as I was on a train heading back from a weekend in Boston. The train was packed due to Amtrak canceling service later in the day. During the course of the trip, I found out that my company was closing for two days in anticipation of the storm and that some parts of my town were being evacuated. As a result, I got off the train in New York and headed directly to my family's house to ride out the storm. (The irony that I was leaving Hoboken and heading closer to the eye of the storm at the Jersey Shore was not lost on anybody.)
I think the general mood leading up to the storm was that people were concerned and taking serious precautions, but that deep down everyone thought it would leave most areas unscathed the way that Hurricane Irene did last year. The early part of Monday seemed to support this way of thinking. It was the kind of stormy day that made you glad to be able to stay inside and catch up on blogs or watch a movie. Then the power went out. And the wind whipped up. We spent the next two days in the dark with a battery radio as our main source of news about the damage that many local areas were facing.
Hoboken was hit very hard with flooding and power outages, and my office ended up closing for the entire week. I'm finally venturing back to my apartment this weekend, but am not sure if I'll be able to stay there immediately without power and hot water. The subway lines that run between New Jersey and Manhattan were flooded out and are still closed, resulting in enforced carpooling and gas rationing around the region.
Back here at the shore, my family has a second house a few towns south, where we lived until I was in kindergarten. It's located on a lagoon, on the mainland directly across from Long Beach Island, one of the barrier island communities that was hit very hard by the storm. When we went to check on that house the other day, we found that about 2-3 feet of water had seeped in. Although it receded on its own, water had to be mopped up of the floors, some furniture and a carpet had to be trashed, and some of the sheet rock on the walls is going to have to be ripped out and replaced. One of the most dramatic sights in that neighborhood, though, was the boats that floated off in the storm surge and are now strewn around the yards of some of the other homes.
Finally, I'll just end by saying that this post and these pictures are meant to be a little glimpse of what I've seen of Sandy. I don't want to over-dramatize my personal experience and I'm certainly not trying to solicit sympathetic comments. It's been an unusual week filled with some uncertainty and inconvenience, but the clean up and repairs that my family is facing are very, very minor in comparison to the devastation in some of the hardest hit areas.
Now, fingers crossed that I'll be back to regularly scheduled blogging next week.