Courtney Rosenberg from North Cape May, NJ:
How did you prepare for Sandy?
Honestly down here in Cape May everyone prepared as we normally do for a hurricane. My family lives in North Cape May which is off of the actual island of Cape May but is two miles, if even that, from the Delaware Bay. We took all of our outside furniture and removed it from our back deck, moved our cars to areas that didn’t have any trees near it incase they were to fall, made sure we had enough water and supplies to have or a few days after the storm, charged our phones to the fullest and had our car chargers on hand, filled up on gas so each car had a full tank and just took any other precaution that was needed.
What were your immediate concerns?
For my house, our main concern was the trees in the woods behind my house. We live directly in front of woods which the Township owns and we did have issues during Irene with large branches falling and breaking our fence and also hearing the trees in the woods falling. When they were predicting the storm hitting Cape May at high tide, I prayed for the best but prepared for the worst. I was expecting to wake up Tuesday morning to hear that the beach town I grew up in was ruined. I work at two different restaurants in the summer, on directly on the Delaware Bay and one two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. I thought I would be jobless for the busiest time of the year down here which would be the next summer season.
What did you witness, firsthand, that indicated the severity of the storm?
The first thing I witnessed was a tree felling on our garage which is extremely close to my house. Around 6pm, right before Sandy made landfall, a huge gust of wind came through and all of a sudden we heard a large snap and a boom. Luckily, that was the only major damage our property had to deal with.
How were you affected specifically? Power outage, flooding, damage, etc?
You won’t believe me when I say this but we never lost power in my neighborhood. Surrounding neighborhoods near my house did lose power for 24 hours+ and the schools were closed until Thursday due to this and the closures in Cape May City. While driving over to Lower Township & Cape May County, I saw many down trees, wires were down and the traffic lights were all out throughout town. That Wednesday I had to go back to work at the Ugly Mug, which is the place I work on the island of Cape May. We drove down to the beach and got out to see that the main street where everyone drives along, Beach Drive, was mainly covered in sand. Towards one beach, Poverty, there wasn’t even a street to see. That part of Beach Drive was a good 6 feet under sand. To us locals we were in shock. I have never ever experienced something like that in Cape May and I have been living in the area for 25 years. We were so lucky that the sand and water stopped within a block of the beach, unlike many other shore communities in the area.
Did anyone seek your help. Did you seek anyone else’s? Neighbors, family, friends, etc?
Besides cleaning up sticks, branches, leaves and so on, everyone around the area cleaned up themselves or with the help of the Township. Like I stated before, somehow we didn’t face much damage and really dodged a bullet. We are still waiting to clean up the tree on our garage which is a long process but hopefully will be removed soon.
What precautions will you take in the future should there ever be another storm that matches Sandy’s force?
I was fine where I was but I urge others to please listen to the higher ups. We evacuated my Grandmother from Cape May and I am so glad we did. Even though her house was fine, there is always the thought of what if? Down here a lot of people compared the “hype” of Sandy to that of Irene which wasn’t as strong as first predicted. People don’t realize that Sandy was coming from the ocean and making a direct hit which is something the Jersey Shore, New York, and and the rest of the Northeast coast does not experience very often. Next time I will make sure we have enough supplies, pack up anything that can be harmed or could cause injury and hope that everything will be okay. I can not say this enough though that people need to swallow their pride and get out when told to evacuate. During a press conference, Chris Christie said something along the lines that we can rebuild what has been ruined materialistic-wise or even the beaches, but your family or loved ones cannot be replaced. Even though I do not always agree with him, that really needs to be stressed to people during these “super storms”. Get out while you can. Don’t be the hero.