You may have heard that the eastern part of North America was subjected to a huge storm called Hurricane Sandy. The first thing I need to say is how grateful I am that we were safe, dry and warm throughout the storm. So many people were left in the dark without gas, water or electricity, were rendered homeless by wind, flood or fire, or, worst of all, lost loved ones. In comparison, our problems are trivial and I wondered whether or not it was appropriate to blog about our experience given that others have suffered so much more. In the end I decided that this blog is about our “Lake House Adventures” and this has certainly qualified as an adventure.
On Saturday Oct 27th, weather forecasters in our area started warning us that we should be prepared for high winds, rain and flooding. It seemed a bit dramatic, given that the storm was predicted to make landfall somewhere in NJ (500+ miles and several states away). I’m really glad that over the weekend we brought in the lighter patio furniture and moved pots and plants off the deck because the forecasters were right. We’ve had some pretty high winds that I’ve documented in previous posts so we thought we knew what to expect. We didn’t.
On Monday Oct 29th, Hurricane Sandy was headed for Atlantic City NJ. Sandy was so huge, over 800 miles across, that long before it made landfall we were feeling the effects. From about 2pm on Monday until well into Wednesday evening, our house was subject to extreme winds coming directly off the lake from the north and directly into the back of our house. Around 5pm Monday I heard the first flapping of shingles and I tried to go outside to check out what was happening. Exact wind speeds I don’t know, but it was impossible to walk to the back of the house. The wind was so strong it would knock you over. I did find a couple shingles in the driveway so my suspicion that the wind was tearing off the shingles was confirmed. Late in the afternoon, the rain was driving horizontally into the back of the house and water began seeping in around the living room windows. I didn’t know at the time but it would be a couple of days before I could stop sopping up the window ledges and floor. I developed quite the system of replacing, wringing out, hanging to dry about a dozen towels to minimize the water damage. I also noticed that a giant evergreen tree had fallen in our neighbors yard, ending up with the top of the tree just a few feet from their back door.
We barely slept Monday night. First we discovered that water was leaking from our bedroom ceiling and directly onto the bed. We quickly moved the mattress out, got buckets and plastic sheets to catch water and protect the furniture as best we could. We decided to sleep in the guest room over the garage (the one that put the most house between us and the winds). I kept jumping up during the night to investigate the thumps and bangs that were coming from other parts of the house. The wind made the whole house vibrate and make moaning noises I’ve never heard before. The windows and doors facing the lake were flexing and moving from the force of the wind. I was actually afraid that something was going to give; a window would blow, a tree would fall on the house, or some other “breach” would let the storm inside. As I lay in bed I just kept wishing that the wind would stop – but it just kept howling and howling.
One of our trees fell at about 2am. It was a huge healthy ash, about 40′ tall. It was located about 20′ from the road and when it fell it completely blocked the road. The wind was so loud that we didn’t hear the tree fall but we saw the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles that stopped traffic until a road crew could come with chain saws and a bulldozer to cut off the tree and shove it back into our yard. Our power went on and off (mostly off) during the night but was back on in the morning. Again we were lucky, our neighbors were without power for 3 days and others just down the road for almost a week. Our phone was erratic and our cable went out for much of Tuesday but by the time we went to bed, we were pretty much back to normal. It wasn’t until Wednesday that the wind really started to die down and I could walk around and take some pictures.
Here’s the damage to the roof over our master bedroom. Notice how the wind tore the shingles off and even bent up the flashing around the skylight.
There’s similar damage to the roof of the living room with the addition of the siding that was peeled off the side of the house. The shingles and siding were strewn all over ours and our neighbors’ yards. It was like there had been a giant throwing shingle frisbees from our roof at our neighbors house. There were black scratches on their cars and was even a shingle impaled on a root of an uprooted tree in our neighbor’s yard.
Even the BBQ took a beating with the doors being torn right out of the wood and metal framing.
Sandy helped rearrange some of our new landscaping.
The remnants of the tree after being cut and shoved off the road.
So finally I get to the déjà vu part. Our bedroom furniture is stacked up in the dining room and the bedroom is being stripped (no carpet, drywall coming down). There are contractor trucks and trailers in our driveway daily and all day today there were compressors running and nail guns thumping. And dust – so much dust. We’re under construction again, but it’s all repairs and nothing really new or exciting to share.
We’ll soon be back together and I can’t say enough how grateful I am that it’s just damage to the house – houses can be fixed. We’re fine and we have the help we need to get everything fixed. There are so many others who weren’t so lucky and if you’re looking for a way to help, consider making a donation to the Red Cross or other charity organizations that are taking care of those who are in need.