Living through Hurricane Sandy as she came ashore -- Scariest moments of my life as monster storm hit

Hurricane Sandy - Waves hitting shore at Long Island Sound
Hurricane Sandy - Waves hitting shore at Long Island Sound

PHOTOS - Hurricane Sandy hits New York - Super storm causes destruction and flooding - slideshow

In my 33 years in America I have never experienced anything like the last 24 hours. When the news of Hurricane Sandy first broke I thought I’d seen all of this before, having lived through a series of tropical storms and near hurricanes.

But Sandy was different.

I have never seen such decimation in my neighborhood  in Long Island. In my own back garden a huge tree came crashing down. The only warning was a loud crashing sound before it fell. The roads around my house are completely impassable. My brother-in-law took three hours to negotiate three miles in a desperate effort to get to his home.

We have been in pitch blackness since six o’clock at the dreaded moment when the lights went out and the television signal faded to a small white dot. Up and down the neighborhood it seems like a satanic monster has flicked a switch and darkness descended.

Then came the wind. A familiar sound at first, then more like a freight car on a train rattling through the empty streets, bending the trees, breaking many of them, and sending my neighbor's lawn furniture spinning through the air.

There are few times when I have been as frightened, especially when the tallest tree in my block, which was right in my neighbor’s yard, seemed to bend half way and look certain to break with one particularly fierce gust of wind.

If this was only a hurricane one category I can only imagine what a four or five like Hurricane Katrina must have sounded like. It is the stuff of sheer nightmares and terror and yet I know we have been very lucky.

People tell me the scenes from Battery Park City are horrendous and at least five people are already confirmed dead. Who knows how many more will perish.

In Rockaway Beach, one of the most Irish neighborhoods in America, the devastation has been compared to New Orleans, after Katrina. I will probably know some of those people whose homes have been flooded and lives have been changed by this storm.

I have lived through earthquakes and twisters but never through a hurricane and it is surely the scariest experience of my life. The sheer power and scope makes you realize how little we can shape the forces of nature when they decide to descend upon us.

For all those left homeless, for all those left scared and frightened, there is an enormous lesson from this hurricane – mother nature will do what she wants, when she wants, and our  modern world can only bow before it.

Now, as I look out my window, the worst of the storm has passed and I see our forlorn neighbors begin to pick up their lives again I realize the miracle of life more than ever, like after  9/11.

In Samuel Beckett’s words, “I can’t go on, I must go on”. And indeed we must.


PHOTOS - Hurricane Sandy hits New York - Super storm causes destruction and flooding - slideshow

COMMENTS