‘I’m pretty worried right now’

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It’s been a long few days for Albert Lean Nancy Rosenberg.

As officials began Tuesday to survey the damage from Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast, Rosenberg was waiting in anticipation to reach her brother and nephew, Alan and Brian Sforza.

Rosenberg said the two men were at Alan’s house in Tom’s River, N.J., about eight miles from the coast, when Sandy swept through. As of Tuesday afternoon, there was no phone service or electricity in the area, trees were down and streets were flooded.

Email newsletter signup

“I’m pretty worried right now,” she said Tuesday afternoon. “I didn’t sleep all last night. We’ve been calling and calling.”

But so far, there’s no word whether the two loved ones are OK.

“It’s been very, very scary,” she said. “It’s unbelievable.”

On Tuesday, millions of people awoke without electricity after the storm rushed ashore Monday night with hurricane-force winds.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie described the damage as some of the worst the Jersey Shore has ever seen.

Damage in New York was equally as devastating with most major tunnels and bridges closed, along with schools, airports and the nation’s largest subway system.

Lower Manhattan, which includes Wall Street, was among the hardest-hit areas after the storm sent a nearly 14-foot surge of seawater, a record, coursing over its seawalls and highways.

Albert Lea resident Karen Meyerson, who moved from New York to Albert Lea in 2000, has family in several affected states, including a daughter in Philadelphia, a son in Delaware, friends in Staten Island and a cousin in Manhattan.

Meyerson said all of her friends and family are safe and credited the preparation and collaboration undertaken by the government to inform residents of what was taking place.

“It was handled well,” she said. “Most people listened to the warnings and stayed home.”

Though it has been difficult to see the effects of the storm, she said it has been most challenging to see homes in the coastal neighborhood on the Rockaway Peninsula burn down as it was inundated by floodwaters.

Meyerson said this is where her father and mother met.

“It’s going to be quite a rebuilding process,” she said.

Luke Behrends, Albert Lea High School graduate of 2000, lives near Central Park in Manhattan with his wife.

He said by Sunday night, the city was shut down, and things were “eerily dead” all day Monday. Stores were barren by Monday afternoon with people stocking up on supplies and food.

Behrends said he and his wife live a couple of blocks away from a construction crane that collapsed Monday in high winds, and the entire street was closed Monday and Tuesday. He said some of their friends across the street had to evacuate their apartments as a precaution.

As the storm hit, he said the area did not get as much rain as he expected, but the rain came down at high tide. All around him things are flooded, and trees have been uprooted.

Behrends said both his and his wife’s office are without power, and no one knows when it will be restored.

In the meantime, he said he has been working from home, and he and his wife have had friends over to their apartment to pass the time.

“This city is strong and the people come together in times like this and help their neighbors, so we’ll be stronger for this in the end,” he said.

Further south in Lakeridge, Va., about 20 miles south of Washington, D.C., former Albert Lea resident Jan Cunard said residents were being advised Tuesday to stay off of the streets so emergency crews could clear them.

“They’re not letting anybody go out and about right now,” Cunard said.

She said there is a lot of flooding in Old Town Alexandria, Va., along the Potomac River, and in Washington there are lots of large trees down. Many of the trees that fell were old with shallow root structures.

Where she lives, she said the wind started picking up on Sunday night and then on Monday it was “just horrible.”

She said the wind gusted as high at 75 mph.

“This wasn’t like a tornado in Minnesota where you have stronger winds, and then it’s over and done with,” Cunard said. “This went on until sometime during the night. I have not seen winds that bad, they were just astronomical.”

She has been keeping up to date on what is taking place around her through local newspapers and her county website.

Cunard said overall, it appears people around her prepared for the bad weather and took all the precautions necessary to stay safe.

“I think generally people took this a lot more seriously than I’ve ever seen them do,” she said.


— The Associated Press contributed to this story.