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When Hurricane Sandy Pounded USA, I Was in Ellicott City, Maryland!


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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When Hurricane Sandy, unofficially known as the “Superstorm Sandy“, devastated the United States in October 2012, I was in Ellicott City in Maryland.

Hurricane Sandy was the second-costliest hurricane in the history of the United States. It was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It all began on October 22, 2012.

A Timeline of Hurricane Sandy’s Path of Destruction
Monday, October 22, 2012

Developing in the southern Caribbean Sea off the coast of Nicaragua as a tropical easterly wave causing areas of cloudiness and thunderstorms, The depression strengthened and six hours later becomes Tropical Storm Sandy, with maximum winds of about 40 mph. It moved slowly northward toward the Greater Antilles and gradually intensified.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On October 24, Sandy became a  Category 1 hurricane, moved northward across the Caribbean and made landfall near Kingston, Jamaica with winds of 80 mph.

Although Hurricane Sandy’s eye does not cross the Dominican Republic and Haiti to its east, the storm dumped more than 20 inches of rain on Hispaniola. More than 50 people died in flooding and mudslides in Haiti.

A few hours later, it re-emerged into the Caribbean Sea and strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane. Off the coast of the Northeastern United States, the storm became the largest Atlantic hurricane on record as measured by diameter, with winds spanning 1,100 miles (1,800 km).

Thursday, October 25, 2012
Detailed map compiled by NOAA on October 25, 2012, that shows the track of Hurricane Sandy (Source: gowally.com)
Detailed map compiled by NOAA on October 25, 2012, that shows the track of Hurricane Sandy (Source: gowally.com)

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Sandy strengthened as it moved from Jamaica to Cuba and made landfall in the historic city of Santiago de Cuba with winds of about 110 mph as a Category 3 hurricane.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sandy caused more devastation as it crossed the Bahamas and made a slight turn to the north-northwest.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sandy moved away from the Bahamas and made a turn to the northeast off the coast of Florida. Sandy weakened for a brief period to a tropical depression and then restrengthened to a Category 1 hurricane.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy continued moving northeast on a track parallel to the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. As it approached latitude 35 degrees north off the coast of North Carolina, the hurricane’s eye stayed well offshore. Even then, the storm still a Category 1 hurricane with peak winds of about 80 mph sent powerful tsunami-like waves onto North Carolina’s Outer Banks washing out some places in NC Highway 12.

Due to an unusual configuration of converging weather factors, meteorologists warned that the storm as it churns northward would likely morph into a powerful, hybrid super-storm.

A high-pressure cold front to Sandy’s north forced the storm to turn to the north-west toward major cities such as Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and New York. And the meteorologists expected that in conjunctions with the effects of the full moon Sandy’s storm to surge up to 11 to 12 feet in some places and a little higher as it made landfall.

Sandy expanded into a huge storm covering about 1,000 miles with strong winds.

Monday, October 29, 2012
This satellite image from NOAA shows Sandy on the morning of October 29, 2012 as it was about to begin its approach to the coast of New Jersey (Source: voices.nationalgeographic.com)
This satellite image from NOAA shows Sandy on the morning of October 29, 2012 as it was about to begin its approach to the coast of New Jersey (Source: voices.nationalgeographic.com)

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At 12:30 pm, Sandy made its expected sharp turn. It curved west-northwest (the “left turn” or “left hook”) and then moved ashore near Brigantine, New Jersey, just to the northeast of Atlantic City, as a post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds. The storm also has started interacting with other weather systems, gaining energy in the process. The storm dumped heavy snow in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.

During the afternoon, Sandy brought high winds and drenching rains from Washington, D.C. northward, toppling trees and power lines and cutting off electrical power for millions of people. The storm eventually affected more than 50 million people on the Eastern Seaboard.

At 8 pm, Sandy’s centre came ashore near Atlantic City, New Jersey. The storm was no longer considered a hurricane but classified as a post-tropical Nor’easter. But the storm’s unusual path from the south-east made its storm surge much worse in New Jersey and New York.

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The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is flooded after a tidal surge caused by Hurricane Sandy, on October 30, 2012 in Manhattan, New York. The storm has claimed at least 39 lives in the United States, and has caused massive flooding across much of the Atlantic seaboard. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel iflooded after a tidal surge caused by Hurricane Sandy, on October 30, 2012, in Manhattan, New York. The storm has claimed at least 39 lives in the United States and has caused massive flooding across much of the Atlantic seaboard. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

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A high storm surge, a coastal flood or tsunami-like phenomenon of rising water occurred in New York City with a high tide of 14 ft (4.2 m),  a new record for a storm surge in the harbor, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. The surge tops the sea wall at The Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and floods parts of the city’s subway system. The surge also floods the Hugh Carey Tunnel, which links Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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Spooky gray NYC skyline
Spooky gray NYC skyline

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The wind, rain and flooding from the huge storm pounded New Jersey and New York throughout the night and through three cycles of high tides and low tides.

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Tanker John B Caddell beached on Front Street, Staten Island (Photo: Jim Henderson)
Tanker John B Caddell beached on Front Street, Staten Island (Photo: Jim Henderson)

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Staten Island also was hit very hard by the storm. The Seattle Times later reported that towns such as Oakwood Beach, Midland Beach, South Beach and Tottenville — which lost many residents who were police and firefighters during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 — were among the hardest-hit communities.

When I look back, I remember posting several times on Facebook on 29th and 30th October 2012 about Hurricane Sandy to benefit my friends and readers in the United States and to assure my kith and Kin in India that my family was safe:

7:00 am EDT:
From the Carolinas to Maine, Hurricane Sandy will affect 50 million people.

Hurricane Sandy is churning off the East Coast and is expected to join up with two other weather systems to create a huge and problematic storm affecting 50 million people. Here’s a snapshot of what is happening or expected, state by state.
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 CAROLINAS
The storm lashed barrier islands off North Carolina and rendered several homes and businesses nearly inaccessible. About 90 miles off the coast, a tall ship carrying 17 people was in distress; the Coast Guard was monitoring.
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CONNECTICUT
The number of power outages increased quickly in a state where utilities’ response to past weather-related failures has become a political issue. Connecticut Light & Power says hundreds of customers are without power. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy asked a task force to make sure fuel suppliers are fully stocked. Many residents along Long Island Sound heeded warnings and evacuated.

DELAWARE
Hundreds of people fled to shelters as the rough surf pounded the coast. Water covered some roads.

KENTUCKY
Snow is expected in mountainous areas.

MAINE
Officials predict coastal flooding and beach erosion, and utility crews have been brought in from Canada to handle anticipated power failures.

MARYLAND
Baltimore is opening six shelters; several city intersections are closed because of flooding threats. Early voting, which began Saturday and was to run through Thursday, was canceled for Monday.

MASSACHUSETTS
Utilities brought in crews from as far away as Texas and the Midwest to cope with anticipated power failures. Most schools and colleges have canceled classes. The Boston transit authority said it would continue to operate as long it was safe.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Gov. John Lynch put 100 National Guard soldiers on active duty to help with preparations. Two shelters are being set up, and some schools have closed.

NEW JERSEY
Sandy’s center is expected to make landfall in New Jersey late Monday. By daybreak, more than 5,000 homes and businesses were without electricity. Thousands of people evacuated low-lying areas, and many inland towns hit by flooding from storm Irene last year issued evacuation orders.

NEW YORK
Many residents left low-lying flood evacuation zones, and the subway system shut down Sunday night. A storm surge of 11 feet is possible, the highest of all coastal areas being hit by Sandy. The New York Stock Exchange and other U.S. financial markets shut down for at least the day. Thousands of flights were canceled at the city’s major airports.

OHIO
Residents of low-lying areas and along Lake Erie were told to watch for flooding; utilities are anticipating high winds that could blow down trees and poles. Snow is forecast in some areas.

PENNSYLVANIA
Many schools closed. Philadelphia shut down its mass transit system, and hundreds of flights were canceled at the city’s airport. Dozens of people took shelter at evacuation centers. Thousands of members of the National Guard have been told to be ready for deployment.

RHODE ISLAND
Several communities have ordered mandatory evacuations and many schools closed for the day. Big waves are expected to cause flooding along Narragansett Bay, which bisects the state. Authorities told people to be prepared for long periods without power.

TENNESSEE
Snow is expected in higher elevations, where a freeze warning has been issued. High winds are expected in many areas.

VIRGINIA
About 2,000 customers lacked power, and a utility said as many as 1 million could ultimately lose electricity. Many residents of Chincoteague Island, popular with tourists, shrugged off the idea of evacuation.

VERMONT
Gov. Peter Shumlin declared a state of emergency to provide access to National Guard troops in a state still recovering from the devastating effects of the remnants of Hurricane Irene. Culverts and storm drainage basins in some spots have been cleared of debris.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
The capital area’s transit system shut down rail service for the first time since 2003, and the Smithsonian Institution closed for the day.

WEST VIRGINIA
As much as 2 to 3 feet of snow were forecast in mountainous areas, and flooding was possible in some areas. Several shelters were put on standby, and power crews were mobilized to handle potential failures.

3:30 pm EDT:
Here in Ellicott City, Maryland, the wind speed is 41 mph NW. Not menacing at the moment.

3:40 pm EDT:
Landfall for Sandy within 3 hours time near Atlantic City, New Jersey shore with a wind speed of 90 mph in the center. The system moves at 18 mph.

8:40 pm EDT:
In Ellicott City, Maryland, the wind speed has risen to 49 mph WNW.
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8:54 pm EDT:
Sandy landfall in Cape May, New Jersey around 8 pm.
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9:00 pm EDT:
Battery Park in New York City is now inundated with 11.87 feet high. Water might enter NYC subway. Trains and buses won’t run on Tuesday (tomorrow).
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9:30 pm EDT:
Waters from Hudson river has breached the Manhattan Broadwalk. Battery Park in New York City is now inundated with 13.7 feet high. MTA confirms that the subways are flooded.

1.5 million homes experience power outages in many states. In Maryland, 195,000 homes are without electric power. We have still not been hit by a power cut.

9:45 pm EDT:
Power surges, outages and flashes being experienced in the New York City area. Everything is dark over there. Manhattan is in darkness as well as the Statue of Liberty.

10:47 pm EDT:
All bridges were closed for traffic. Chesapeake Bay Bridge that connects Baltimore-DC area with the northern parts of Maryland such as Kent Island too was closed for traffic around 4 pm.

10:55 pmEDT:
Sandy is still on its way towards us playing havoc with everything in its path.

Sandy had its landfall in Cape May, New Jersey around 8 pm. Ellicott City, MD is about 210 miles from the landfall area. The system is moving around 20 to 25 mph and I expect it to come here on Tuesday (tomorrow) morning around 6 am EDT.

Tuesday , October 30, 2012

2:10 am EDT:
Hurricane Sandy plays havoc: Widespread Power outages have occurred in all the north-eastern and eastern states. In Maryland, 391,005 homes are experiencing power cut.

2:15 am EDT:
Sandy is 10 miles southwest of Philadephia, PA.

10:50 am EDT:
Sandy has passed us. We did not incur any damages. We did not lose any power.

I thank you all for praying for us.

However, my heart bleeds for those who have suffered and are undergoing hardships due to the havoc created by this “Frankenstorm” called SANDY.

11:00 am EDT:
Sandy: The loss to properties has been assessed between 10 and 20 billion dollars.

11:30 am EDT:
Sandy slammed New Jersey last night and early morning today. At least 16 deaths reported. Massive flooding, high winds, and widespread power outages hit the East Coast as Sandy moves inland.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy dissipated over western Pennsylvania, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its final advisory on the storm: “multiple centers of circulation in association with the remnants of Sandy can be found across the lower Great Lakes.”

Aftermath

Click on this line or the photo below to see photos of the effects of Hurricane Sandy. 

People scavenging for food in a dumpster where a Key Food supermarket has discarded spoiled food, due to power outages after Hurricane Sandy hit New York (Photo: Mr. Choppers)
People scavenging for food in a dumpster where a Key Food supermarket has discarded spoiled food, due to power outages after Hurricane Sandy hit New York (Photo: Mr. Choppers)

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RELATED ARTICLES

Some Images of the U.S. East Coast Pounded by Hurricane Sandy


Hurricane Sandy, a.k.a., The Perfect Storm, The Super Storm, The Monster Storm, Frankenstorm and by various other names bore down on the U.S. East
Coast, on Monday, October 29, 2012.

As hurricane Sandy loomed in on the U.S. East Coast’s largest cities, forecasters warned that 60 million people in those regions could face threatening high winds, huge rainfall and sea water surging up to a height of 11 feet. This forced the government to impose mandatory evacuation from some coastal zones. Hundreds of thousands moved to higher ground leaving their homes.

The public transport system shut down, and a number of bridges closed. Many financial and business establishments put down their shutters. The U.S. stock market suffered its first weather-related closure in 27 years.

Millions of people in the eastern United States awoke on Tuesday to flooded homes, fallen trees and widespread power outages caused by the giant storm Sandy, which swamped New York City’s subway system and submerged streets in Manhattan’s financial district.The monster storm caused more than two-thirds of the East Coast’s refining capacity to shut down and fuel pipelines to idle. Early assessments show the region’s biggest plants may have escaped damage.

The monster storm caused more than two-thirds of the East Coast’s refining capacity to shut down and fuel pipelines to idle. Early assessments show the region’s biggest plants may have escaped damage.

Bracing for high winds
Bracing for high winds. (Reuters: Randall Hill)

Bracing for high winds: The winds of Hurricane Sandy pound waves onto the east side of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, October 27, 2012.

Shopping for the storm
Shopping for the storm. (AP Photo: Louis Lanzano)

Shopping for the storm: Customers stock up on bread at a Manhattan grocery store, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in New York.

NYSE shuts down
NYSE shuts down. (AP Photo: Richard Drew)

NYSE shuts down: The floor of the New York Stock Exchange is empty of traders, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in New York. Trading has rarely stopped for weather since the Great Blizzard of 1888.  All major U.S. stock and options exchanges remained closed Monday and Tuesday, the first time that the weather caused a two-day market shuts down. A blizzard led to a late start and an early close on Jan. 8, 1996, according to the exchange’s parent company, NYSE Euronext. The NYSE shut down on Sept. 27, 1985 for Hurricane Gloria.

Morning commute in the rain
Morning commute in the rain. (Photo: Rex Features)

Morning commute in the rain: People walk on an empty street in New York as the massive storm Sandy, described by forecasters as one of the largest ever that hit the United States, makes its way towards the population-dense East Coast. Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, has asked the public to stay at home when Sandy slams the city. Nearly 10,000 flights have been canceled for Monday and Tuesday by airlines bracing for Hurricane Sandy.

Spooky gray NYC skyline
Spooky gray NYC skyline. (Reuters: Eduardo Munoz)

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Spooky gray NYC skyline: This view from Exchange Place shows the skyline of lower Manhattan in darkness after a preventive power outage caused by the giant storm Sandy in New York on October 29, 2012.

Shopping in the rain
Shopping in the rain. (Photo: The Washington Post: Linda Davidson)

Shopping in the rain: Photo taken from the window of a grocery store of a woman shopper hurrying in the windblown rain of Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012.

Cover from the rain
Cover from the rain. (Reuters: Eduardo Munoz)

Cover from the rain: Hurricane Sandy brought inclement weather, high winds, and huge waves to the East coast.  A woman tries to take cover from rain in Hoboken while Hurricane Sandy approaches New Jersey, October 29, 2012.

Walking through flooded streets
Walking through flooded streets. (AP Photo: Alex Brandon)

Walking through flooded streets: A walk through the flood waters on Monday, Oct.ober 29, in Fenwick Island, Delaware,

The President in the rain
The President in the rain. (AP Photo: Jacquelyn Martin)

The President in the rain: After canceling his appearance at a morning campaign rally in Orlando, Fla., President Barack Obama walks toward the White House in a driving rain after returning to Washington to monitor preparations for early response to Hurricane Sandy, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012.

Fallen tree on top of a car in Hoboken, New Jersey
Fallen tree on top of a car in Hoboken, New Jersey. (Reuters: Gary Hershorn)

Fallen tree on top of a car in Hoboken, New Jersey: A workman cuts a tree in pieces after it fell on top of a car in Hoboken, New Jersey, October 29, 2012.

A crane dangles
A crane dangles. (Photo: Rex Features)

A crane dangles: A crane dangles over the Manhattan skyline at 157 West 57th Street after the winds from Hurricane Sandy cause it to collapse.

Waves crash on Scituate.
Waves crash on Scituate. (AP Photo: Elise Amendola)

Waves crash on Scituate: Ocean waves kick up near homes along Peggoty Beach in Scituate, Mass. Monday, Oct. 29, 2012.

High Water signs
High Water signs. (AP Photo: Alex Brandon)

High Water signs: A car goes through the high water as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Ocean City, Md.

Governors of North Carolina, where steady rains were whipped by gusting winds Saturday night, to Connecticut declared states of emergency. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities by 8 p.m. Sunday.

Subway floods

Subway floods. ( (Photo: Reuters: NY, NJ Port Authority)

Subway floods: This video frame grab from the NY/NJ Port Authority twitter feed October 29, 2012 shows floodwaters rush through an elevator shaft into the Port Authority Trans-Hudson’s (PATH) Hoboken, New Jersey station.

Collapsed facade of a four-story building on 14th
Collapsed facade of a four-story building on 14th. (AP Images: John Minchillo)

The collapsed facade of a four-story building: The facade of a four-story building on 14th Street and 8th Avenue collapsed onto the sidewalk, Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, in New York. Hurricane

Lower Manhattan goes dark

Lower Manhattan goes dark. (AP Images: Bebeto Matthews)

Lower Manhattan goes dark: Lower Manhattan goes dark during hurricane Sandy, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, as seen from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Taxis under water
Taxis under water. (Photo: Rex Features)

Taxis under water: Hurricane Sandy brought inclement weather, high winds, and huge waves to the East coast. Taxi cabs line a flooded street in Queens on October 29, 2012.

Submerged car in the Dumbo section of the Brooklyn
Submerged car in the Dumbo section of the Brooklyn. (AP Images: Bebeto Matthews)

Submerged car in the Dumbo section of the Brooklyn: As the East River overflows during hurricane Sandy, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, a submerged car in the Dumbo section of the Brooklyn borough of New York. Authorities warned that New York City and Long Island could get the worst of the storm surge: an 11-foot onslaught of seawater that could swamp lower  areas of the city.

Floodwaters in Hoboken, New Jerse
Floodwaters in Hoboken, New Jersey. (Reuters: Gary Hershorn)

Floodwaters in Hoboken, New Jersey: Floodwaters surround a car parked on a street in Hoboken, New Jersey October 29, 2012.

Building full with debris
Building full with debris. (Reuters: Eduardo Muno)

Building full with debris: The front of a building full of debris after the passing of giant storm Sandy at Exchange Place, New Jersey October 30, 2012.

Exchange Place debris
Exchange Place debris. (Reuters: Eduardo Munoz)

Exchange Place debris: Following Hurricane Sandy, debris litters the floor of Exchange Place in New Jersey, October 30, 2012.

Devastated homes after the storm
Devastated homes after the storm. (Reuters: Shannon Stapleton)

Devastated homes after the storm: Homes that are devastated by fire and the effects of Hurricane Sandy are seen at the Breezy Point section of the Queens borough of New York October 30, 2012. Millions of people across the eastern United States awoke on Tuesday to scenes of destruction wrought by monster storm Sandy, which knocked out power to huge swathes of the nation’s most densely populated region, swamped New York’s subway system and submerged streets in Manhattan’s financial district.

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