When I first heard that Hurricane Sandy was coming in October of 2012, my thinking was very nonchalant. I wasn’t worried about the hurricane and I barely had anything prepared a week before she hit New Jersey. We lived a good hour north from the beach so initially we weren’t concerned. My sister, who lived in the next town over from me, is a bit of a worrier, so she was really ready for the storm. She had everything from extra gas cans to cases of bottled water. I thought she was going overboard, but in the end, she had it right.
As the storm grew closer to the Jersey Shore, my husband and I began to panic from our underestimation of Sandy’s path. In our need for supplies, we went to Home Depot and other home improvement stores to stock up on supplies, like gas cans, flashlights, and batteries. By the time our panic set in, their shelves were close to being empty.
While working an hour and a half west of our house, my husband needed a tool from Home Depot. While he was there he saw a line of people waiting for something. He spoke to the last gentleman in line and was told that they were waiting for a shipment of generators to come. My husband had some time to kill and he decided to wait. He was told by an employee that there was only fifty generators on the truck. My husband was number forty. He ended up purchasing one and boy was I glad that he did. We were able to keep our family warm and milk cold for the ten days that our power was out.
A few days before the storm, we found bottled water and stocked up on nonperishable food items. We got loafs of bread, cereal, cookies, chips, crackers and juice. I did all the laundry that I needed to do. We charged all of our electronic devises and phones. We filled both of our cars with gas. We scrambled to get ready for the storm and I wish I had a better sense of being prepared so we didn’t have to rush alongside of other unprepared people.
The morning of the storm, my husband got the generator ready by filling it with gas, securing it to the garage door rails, just in case anyone thought about stealing it and then he made made it level on our hilly driveway. The one major thing with generators is that they have to be put outside so the carbon monoxide doesn’t harm anyone inside the house.
Then, the storm came. It hit our area at dusk. The most intense part of the storm happened as my children were going to to bed and continued through the night. The Superstorm was all wind and thankfully, no rain. The damages would have been so much more if their had been rain too. The speed of wind that Sandy produced was so powerful that she took out one power utility transformer at a time. When the transformer blew, it lit up the entire sky. It looked liked Fourth of July in October. Our power went out that night and it stayed dark for ten days.
We are a family of five and we basically lived in our dining room. We moved the table and chairs to another room so we had space to move around. We put a mattress on the floor in the dining room along with half of our modular style couch. We nailed a heavy blanket to the entrance of the room and it worked. We had an electric heater that
provided enough heat for us in that one room. My husband picked that room because of it’s size and location. We had little room to move around but when we went into any other room in the house, it was freezing and dark. We huddled in the dining room for ten days.
We eventually needed more gas for the generator and that was a complete disaster. We didn’t know the severity of the gas situation until we got to the gas station. Every gas station had hour long wait lines for both cars and for people wanting to fill their gas cans. It was a terrible and frustrating time. Not only were their long lines for gas but since traffic lights were out, getting anywhere was near impossible.
Trees were down causing major traffic issues on every road. School was closed for two weeks and Halloween was cancelled. First time ever for me, and I am thirty five years old, my children were sad but they eventually got over it. Utility crews were out and about but there was so much damage that they couldn’t keep up.
Slowly, our food supply dwindled. We went to local supermarkets but they too were almost out of food. They weren’t able to sell any type of protein or dairy product so our choices were slim. We ate a lot of pasta, soups and sandwiches during those dark days and nights. We had a gas stove so we were able to eat some hot food.
When the power was restored, everyone started to rebuild their lives. My child went back to school and the school system figured out how to regain those missed days without it being too hard on the children. For my family and I, I am thankful that we only lost power where as other people lost their homes or their loved ones. I feel for those who have yet to recover, many months later.
A month after Superstorm Sandy left her destruction, we moved to Tampa FL. When we spoke to people about the mayhem, gas rationing and destruction, it was hard to convey the hardship that almost an entire state was going through. It may not have been a hurricane but it was an intense thing to go through.
I don’t know when the Jersey Shore will be back to what it was, but I know that they will. The Jersey Shore is an iconic place for families to vacation to and to explore. As a child, I have fond memories of vacationing at Seaside Heights. Instead of traveling to far places, my parents always decided to rent a house close to the beach for a week in the summer. Times were different then but those memories, I will forever cherish.