Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hurricane Sandy in the North East

Coming from the northeast, I am not used to the kinds of natural disasters that are often experienced in other parts of the country. The small town of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY is located right outside of New York City in Westchester County. While I was sequestered in Pennsylvania during the storm, my family was faring worse at home. When it was announced that Lehigh was canceling classes for the week, I decided to venture home to be with my family for the remainder of the time. What I found when I went home was not the town I was used to.

For starters, half of my town was without power and heat. The thought of my 89 year old grandfather sitting in his arm chair in the darkness with nothing but candlelight still runs through my head. There were downed trees and power lines, closed roads, and flooded parks. Some of the town's most cherished gathering places and attractions were washed away when the Hudson River flooded, like Kinnally Cove and the Hastings Tennis Club. 

Kinnally Cove in Hastings-on-Hudson, destroyed by Sandy.

Down every street, there was evidence of destruction. And over the course of the week, it was apparent that small New York towns like mine were not a priority to those divvying up aid and resources. 

A giant tree fell on this car during the storm.

While there was no power at my mother's house, my father's house (also located in Hastings) was one of the few that still had power. I spent my time here, watching TV, using the computer, and other things that were now considered luxuries.

Then the gas shortages began. In the wake of Sandy's destruction and devastation, gas tankers were unable to deliver their gas supplies to many gas stations in the north east, causing a major shortage. My mother, who works in New York City and New Jersey had to leave for work at 4 am in order to cross over the bridge into New York City before they began checking people's cars. There was a temporary rule set in place requiring 3 or more people to be present on the drive into New York City; starting early in the morning and ending at 12 midnight. 

The gas shortage only got worse and by the time I wanted to return to school I was worried that I would not be able to find enough gas to get there. Every gas station in my area had long lines of cars waiting, many of them putting a limit on how much gas could be bought. I was beginning to worry even more when my stepfather called me at 6 am. The gas station in my town had just regained power and was now open. He told me there was a short line - only about 5 cars. I bolted out of bed, got on line, and eventually, got my full tank of gas that would take me back to Lehigh.

Over a month later, Sandy's destruction is still ever present in many areas in the northeast. Although our goal has been reached, there is still time to donate and make a difference!

#COMM30Sandy is an online class project for the Media & Society class at Lehigh University, taught by professor Jeremy Littau. You can donate to our campaign at this link, and for more infomation you can email Prof. Littau at jeremy.littau(at)

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