Over two weeks since Superstorm Sandy struck the East coast and caused havoc and widespread devastating damage in scores of communities, those who took the brunt of the storm are still struggling to clean up the mess left behind. Residents in Red Hook – a NYC neighborhood that was submerged by the rising sea water describe the current conditions there using phrases like “a living hell” and “unbelievable still”. If it were not for the volunteers who are going door to door in that and other neighborhoods, many victims would not know what to do or where to turn.
Large, home improvement chains like Lowe’s and Home Depot as well as many local hardware stores are hustling to keep up with the huge demand for storm-related items following Sandy. As soon as items such as generators, power saws and ladders arrive in stock, they are quickly purchased by property owners who are trying to repair damages and restore power to their storm-struck homes.
Governors up and down the storm-ravaged East are not being shy about asking for as much federal money as they can for their storm-struck states. It is estimated that the damages and lost economic activities as a result of the big storm are over $50 billion. Governor Cuomo of New York is asking for a whopping $30 billion in federal aide to help rebuild his state. There are still tens of thousands of people homeless or displaced in the East from the storm and even more without power after sixteen days.
Tons of debris can be seen piling up in the streets of towns in numerous states that were hit by the massive 1,000 mile wide hurricane that came ashore under a full moon. Record-setting storm surge inundated portions of New York City while it re-arranged the New Jersey Shore and tore up neighborhoods in Long Island and in the Big Apple’s outer boroughs. Storm cleanup companies, contractors and electricians from across the country have converged on the region to offer their services. It could take weeks for some neighborhoods and communities to return to a somewhat ‘normal’ state after Sandy, a storm that was one of the largest ever to hit the United States.
Southeastern Alabama and the Panhandle of Florida have been overcome with rainwater as several cities are receiving more than 12 inches of rain in one day. People living in and around Mobile, AL are being told to use extreme caution there as severe flash floods have washed out roadways and made many impassible. In nearby Pensacola, FL the National Weather Service said that Saturday was the 2nd wettest day on record there and that a flash flood emergency is in effect.
Flooding from heavy downpours of rain have damaged many homes across the Florida Panhandle, cut power off to a county jail and has sent many people fleeing their homes to look for shelter on dry land. A tornado which formed from the storm system damaged a few homes and buildings in southeast Alabama. Over nine inches of rain fell in Mobile County from Friday through Sunday with even more rain in the forecast for Monday morning. People there are being told not to travel because many roadways are washed out or completely flooded with water.
The historical rain event is being caused by a low pressure system that has stalled out over the region for the past few days and it is not expected to leave until the end of this week. There have been moments when it has stopped raining, but most of the time it’s either been constantly drizzling or pouring down rain. All of the rain is simply more than creeks, rivers and lakes can handle. Drivers are being told that if they cannot see the road because of water that they should turn around as there’s no telling how deep it is.
Pensacola has seen severe flooding this weekend. On Sunday, emergency workers had their hands full and the sound of sirens could be heard regularly all day long. Many homes were flooded with several feet of water there Saturday and Sunday as residents braced for additional rains Monday morning. More than 100 people spent the night in shelters in Escambia County Saturday night including residents from a 50-unit apartment complex and a 22-home subdivision.
The National Weather Service reported that over thirteen inches of rain fell on Pensacola over a 24 hour period by Saturday, coming very close to the 15.29 inches set in 1934. Thus far, the flooding has caused millions of dollars worth of damages with more rain on the way for the start of the work week. Flood assessment teams are preparing to see exactly what the end results are from this major flood event once the storm system finally leaves the region and moves out to sea.