Hurricane Sandy Survivors: Melanie C., Peapack, NJ

At ForeverTwentySomethings, we hereby dedicate this week to the survivors of Hurricane Sandy. We’ve watched countless news segments and read first-hand accounts of the devastating aftermath and the heartbreak that it has caused thousands of families in the tri-state area. There has been a huge outpour of people who donated time, energy, and heroic efforts to restore areas where Sandy did irreparable damage, and we feel that it is our duty to pitch in as well.

This week we will be featuring interviews and stories from people who were affected by the storm. To kick off this initiative, Melanie C. from Peapack, New Jersey shares her story.

How did you prepare for Hurricane Sandy?

Since I grew up in Florida, I. learned to prepare for hurricanes and to never take them lightly. We (my boyfriend and I) went out to the grocery store on Saturday and stocked up on bottled water and non-perishable foods. We also have our three-year-old Boxer/Collie to think about as well, so we stocked up on her food, along with batteries, flashlights, candles, ICE for a cooler (to keep our perishable food in the refrigerator from going bad) and firewood to stay warm. We tried our best to prepare our house from the storm by moving furniture/items away from the windows, placing flashlights in each room, and filling our bathtub with water (in case we needed it to flush the toilet bowl). We also did laundry and packed a small suitcase, moved the car away from any trees, and kept an emergency backpack (stocked with water bottles, snacks, and supplies) by the door.

What were your immediate concerns?

We were mostly concerned about our safety, from fallen trees or shattered windows to being able to stay warm and fed during a power outage. Also, if something were to happen to us, we were concerned about whether or not the roads would be clear enough for us to get out and get to the hospital. And then there was the more serious issue—where would we go if we needed to leave right away?

What did you witness, firsthand, that indicated the severity of the storm?

We live in a “refurbished” barn, and we still have the large barn doors and the doors that led out from the original stables. When the wind started to pick up, it broke the lock/hinge and the doors started to slam against the side of the house. We have two gorgeous cherry blossoms right in front and we saw them swaying so violently that one of them actually fell.

How were you affected specifically? Power outage, flooding, damage, etc?

We lost power on Monday evening at 7pm. A water main broke up the street from us, which caused us to lose our water and flooded our property until it was shut off.  Our cherry blossom uprooted and fell into our driveway. We have a row of apple trees in our front yard and two of them split in two. A large tree is now leaning against our garage. Additionally, we have two more downed trees on our property, fences broken, and tree limbs throughout the yard. Our garden is in shambles and our tomato plant was ripped from the ground! Luckily, we had no structural damage to our home. It has been a week and we are still without power and water.

Did anyone seek your help. Did you seek anyone else’s? Neighbors, family, friends, etc?

We helped our neighbors by removing trees and limbs that came down and then cleared a path for their vehicles.  After day three, our roads were finally clean enough to drive on and we were able to leave and go to my boyfriend’s parents’ home, about 30 minutes away. They have a small generator, which is hooked up to their refrigerator and a power strip (for a lamp and to charge our electronics).  We have been using their grill for dinners and the gas stovetop to heat up “well-water” in order to take a make-shift bath. After all that’s happened, being with family and loved ones has been important and so very helpful.

What precautions will you take in the future should there ever be another storm that matches Sandy’s force?

I think we will be purchasing a generator in the near future! We will also make sure we have enough water, food, clothing, books, and gas once again. Maybe even plan a vacation during the next storm 😉

Be sure to check Forever Twenty Somethings all week for new Sandy Survivor Stories. And of course – please show your support and donate to the Red Cross. As you can see, people really need it!

Kristina Cappuccilli

20-something creative writer turned corporate, armed with big ideas and even bigger dreams. Avid reader, lover of all things musical, incessant blogger. Sucker for movie quotes, feature writing, and a good book. To inspire and be inspired.

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