Sandy: One Year Later

By | October 29, 2013

It’s so hard for me to believe that tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s arrival in New Jersey.

A quick reminder of what those first few days looked like in our neck of the woods:

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A view of our house from the front.  Large tree taken down by wind.

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Cars destroyed and garage damaged.  Mostly just incredibly lucky that the tree fell diagonally.  If it had fallen towards the house, it would have taken out our second floor.

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A view of the trees and lines down on our street.  We were blocked onto our street by fallen trees and lines.  A few of the neighbors banded together and used chainsaws to clear a path out.

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We were eventually able to cut out my husband’s car, but my Civic (to the right) was beyond repair.

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Civic’s untimely fate.

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Electric meter stripped from the house.  We had to get it repaired and then re-apply for electric permits in order to get reconnected.  It took so long for them to come down our street that we had a new electric permit before they restored power to the street (14 days).

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We didn’t find out until almost 2 weeks later that these wires were live most of the time they were on the ground.  We did not see a single electric company representative for over 10 days.

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Our humble abode. So lucky these trees fell sideways.

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This is the tree that blocked off the street.

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Driving to my parents house the next day.  Lines still down on major roads. Terrifying drive.

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Cold and tired without power for 14 days.

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First electric trucks on our street.  Still took another two days to get power back.

And we were really the lucky ones.  Lost a car and 14 days without power? I know so many people who lost their houses and their livelihoods.  People were killed by falling trees.

I know there was a bit of a hubub in the running community in those first few days about whether the NY Marathon should have been cancelled.  I didn’t hear much about it at the time because I had.no.power.  And when I was at work, I was distracted- trying to call the power companies, charge my phones, arrange for repairs to our house and replace my car.  Trying to stay warm, find gas, take care of my dog, and help my friends rebuild. There really wasn’t any time to think about the race. If you had asked my opinion, though, in the days following the storm, I would have said I was glad they cancelled the race.  To me, running is a celebration.  A daily act of joy.  And there wasn’t much joy in those first few days after the storm. The wounds were still raw.

I was supposed to run the JFK 50 later in November 2012.  I dropped out.  I just didn’t have the heart.  My training was derailed by two weeks spent in the dark, trying to find a new car, trying to keep warm.  And beyond that? I just couldn’t bring myself to run when I knew so many people who had lost so much.

A year later, it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come.  Mark and I ran the LBI 18 Miler a few weeks ago, and it was great to see so much of the island rebuilt, or in the process of repair.  Most of the trails in our state and local parks have been cleared of downed trees, making it possible to run and hike locally again.  Sandy changed everything, and nothing, about New Jersey.  Clearly there is still more to be done, but it’s a start.

 


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