By Ayesha K. Mustafaa
Interim Managing Editor
Sandy was called a category 1 storm, but no such storm like her had ever been seen on the east coast. A category 1 storm is usually mild, compared to the dreaded category 3 storm.
Stretching over an area of 1,000 miles with a full moon at her back, meeting a cold front coming in from the north, Sandy delivered devastation unseen on the eastern shores.
She flooded the 103-year-old New York City subway lines, submerged three airport runways, forced the cancellation of 50,000 flights worldwide, overpowered backup generators at hospitals, washed out the historic Atlantic City boardwalk, impacted weather from Tennessee to Massachusetts, created 10 foot waves in Lake Michigan on Chicago’s shoreline, and sparred a blizzard with three feet of wet snow in West Virgina.
Eighty to 100 homes surrounded by water burned to the ground in Breezy Point, N.J. most of which were homes owned by firefighters; Levies broke at Little Ferry, N.J., forcing water into homes and residents to their roofs. In Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, N.J., flood waters carried sand into homes located blocks away from the shore.
Transformers exploded in air; a tanker was washed ashore; and a luxury boat landed on railroad tracks. There were one million students out of school, 2.6 million households without electric power, 60 state roads closed, a $50 billion recovery tab expected, and reportedly up to 50 people dead.
Sandy was the great neutralizer. Mayor Corey Booker of Newark, N.J., said, “Nobody is stopping to ask what is your religion or what is your political party. They are just rolling up their sleeves and helping each other. The storm has passed but the challenges remain.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said, “I’ve never seen sights like this in my life in New Jersey. I can only say we have to suck it up and move on. People are really hurting; it will be a day of sorrow when the sun comes up. But mixed with the sorrow will be determination.”
The Republican Christie then drew ire as he praised Democrat President Barack Obama for his immediate response to the needs of the people in the area. “This is more important than any election,” Christie said. “This is for the people, not for an election. We are in a time of crisis.”
He urged parents to lower their children’s anxiety. “Tell them they are safe and will be taken care of,” Christie said. “This place will never be the same. This has changed lives. We will rebuild but there is a sadness.”
Inspite of Sandy, babies were still born and rainbows still sprung above the devastation.