Superstorm Sandy

When the news came out that Hurricane Sandy was going to be historic, many didn’t believe the meteorologists. People, including my own friends and family, said the Weather Channel was just building up this storm too much. I, however, knew this storm was going to be epic. I followed the Weather Channel every minute of the day that I could. If I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d check for updates, just to make sure I didn’t miss a thing. When the Sandy made landfall, it got very hard to keep up with the news..only because most of it was so devastating. The storm was and still is going strong, but the damage it has brought to Cuba, Jamaica, Bermuda and the United States’ east coast was unbelievable.

My friend Jamie is just as obsessed with the weather as I am. Each hour we were giving each other updates on what we heard or experienced with the storm. We also made sure we kept in touch with our friends in the New York City area to be sure they were taking the proper precautions of the storm and most importantly, to reassure them to take this storm seriously.

I knew the storm was going to be terrifying because another one of my friends, Laci, told me about the wind and flooding going on around her condo in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The most important part about this was that the storm did not even make landfall at this point, but it was still causing damaging winds and flooding to surrounding areas. Laci sent me a couple photos of the flooding that was STILL occurring after the storm had passed Florida and made its way to the North Carolina coast. That was when I realized how massive this storm really was.

flooding in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Once Sandy made it to the North Carolina coast, my boyfriend Ryan and I immediately decided to drive to Wrightsville Beach to experience the epic storm. While the storm was not at full potential yet, the winds and waves were still very intense. I walked on the beach for about five minutes before I was completely drenched and full of sand. Again, this is when the storm was not even close to shore yet nor at its full potential.

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My day was made when I put my photos up on Instagram and added the hashtag #iWitnessWeather and received a ‘like’ from the Weather Channel. I had been trying to get their attention for so long – it was awesome to feel noticed for my work! ūüôā

At first I was upset I was not at my home in Rome, NY to experience this massive hurricane, but I quickly changed my mind once Jamie had sent me a video of the waves hitting the coast of Rhode Island. At that point, there were wind gusts of 86 mph were recorded -BEFORE the storm made landfall! It also had 18-24 hours until the storm was going to hit land.

Meteorologists were unsure of where it would actually arrive on land, they were thinking right around New Jersey and Delaware. But when early evening hit on Monday, Sandy made landfall right off of the New Jersey coast.

What many people forget about this storm was that it collided with an arctic storm, causing winter storm warnings in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and parts of western North  Carolina. So we had a mix of snow, rain, wind, thunderstorms, and much more that became components of Sandy.

So many disasters occurred Monday evening. It made it hard to watch the Weather Channel and the news: learning about the dangling crane, injuries and deaths, the power outage at the NYU hospital that forced patients to evacuate, flooded subway stations and the Breezy Point fire – and that is just some of the news. Before I went to bed, about 1 million people were without power. When I woke up, nearly 6.5 million people were without power. Less than an hour later, over 8 million people were without power. This is twice the amount of power outages compared to Hurricane Irene, which destroyed the east coast last October.

The scary part about today is, Sandy is still not over.

Hurricane Sandy……the beginning.

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After destroying most of Cuba and Jamaica, Hurricane Sandy has made her way up the southeast coast. She has flooded Miami and left many stranded. Yesterday, I drove to Wrightsville Beach, NC to experience some of the upcoming storm surge. The waves were almost 12 feet high!….and that is while the storm is not even on land yet. We will see what happens when Sandy makes landfall and collides with two other storms creating…FRANKENSTORM.

Irene makes landfall: Flooding and Safety

As Category 2 Hurricane Irene leaves the East Coast of the United States in shambles, another tropical storm decided to join in on the damage.

Hurricane Irene began on the coast of North Carolina, first striking the Outer Banks. It continued up the East Coast, leaving over 4 million people in the United States without power and 46 deaths in 13 states. This storm was underestimated by, especially those in parts of New Jersey, New York City and Long Island. Many believed “yeah right, a hurricane hitting us?” – well it did, and it hit hard.

Road closed due to flooding in South Old Bridge, New Jersey. Photo taken by Gillian Shaw.

After Irene finished up destroying the East Coast, Tropical Storm Lee hit the Gulf Coast. Many in New Orleans were without power, nearly 4,000 to be exact Рbut nowhere as close as the power outages during Irene. Lee weakened to a Tropical Depression after a couple of days, and although it is no longer a tropical threat, remnants of the storm remain. There are flood watches and warnings all over the northeastern United States. Most already have major flooding issues.

The problem with floods is that sometimes people do not know the necessary “terms,” such as the difference between a “flood watch” and “flood warning.”¬†FEMA ¬†illustrates both of these on their website; check out Flood: Know Your Terms. Also, many people do not know what safety precautions to take before, during and after a flood, so here are a few safety tips presented below.

FEMA – BEFORE A FLOOD:

To prepare for a flood, you should:

  • Avoid building in a floodprone area¬†unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
  • Install “check valves” in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.

FEMA – DURING A FLOOD:

If a flood is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or television for information.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.

If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:

  • Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

The following are guidelines for the period following a flood:

  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community‚Äôs water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Avoid moving water.

Please take these safety precautions seriously if you are in a place where there is a flood. Not only can you save your own life, but you can save the lives of many others by learning how to prepare for a flood. Also, if you had an experience from this storm feel free to share your story with great detail and photographs! To read the full safety precautions for before, during and after floods visit FEMA’s website section on floods.