Rockaway Beach, NY is where I'll be focusing this flash back of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, because thats where I was when the storm hit. We chose to stay put even though a mandatory evacuation had been issued. This was because my boyfriend was born and raised on the Peninsula and had assured me it would be ok. Lots of people stayed all siting that they had left in previous years and were inconvenienced for no reason. I was told by many that the media just hypes thing up and that the mandatory evacuations were just a precaution to cover themselves. And being that this was my first experience with Hurricanes I didn't know any better.
Now I was beginning to worry. It hadn't even started raining yet and the flooding had started. The transit had been shut down the bridges were closed and we were stuck. There was nothing to do now but wait out the storm. We hadn't even stocked up on supplies or food. We sat switching our gaze from the TV tuned to the News, to the window. It was getting all too real.
When the water level started to rise above a curbs height my boyfriend ran outside to move his car up on a curb. (still thinking that the water wouldn't get much higher) Looking back now that was a laughable and futile effort. We watched as the waters rose. We walked several floor down to the lobby several times to check.....and sure enough the ocean was now inside the building. The next time we checked it was coming up the first floor stairs. I grew more and more afraid. I tried to watch from the balcony as the ocean surrounded the building and things floated around us. Soon it grew dark but the lights on boardwalk provided enough light to see the chaos. Then the boardwalk broke free at Beach 103 and I thought it was a boat at first and then realized what had happened. I have it on video as the large section of the boardwalk came crashing toward our building and the power lines connecting the lights on the boardwalk sparked flickered and then went out.
** All videos and pictures were taken by myself.
We stayed in the hallway inside the unit as the wind made horrible noises and seemed to bind the windows. When we could see nothing else and grew tired we would doze off. We woke up with the sun and then hurried down stairs to survey the damage. It was crazy. I felt like we were on the set of a Sifi movie. Large pieces of the boardwalk were all over the parking lot in a tangled mess of cars and debris. We found my boyfriends car. It was totaled but we were the lucky ones. Thats that was lost was his car and a few items in it. We can't even begin to imagine the pain that those felt who's whole houses flooded. We are so sorry for those who lost everything.
We were safe and grateful. I hope and pray that the destruction never happens again. I hope that Jetties will be built and that the dunes, sea walls, and cement boardwalk are enough protection. Seems this may be tested by Tropical Storm/ Hurricane Gaston.