Hurricane Sandy devastates East Coast cities

Sean Gilligan, Staff Reporter

A green mid-size SUV sits upon another mid-size SUV which has come to rest with its crushed bumper propped up on a small car. There is water up to the doors of each vehicle.

A set of stairs that should lead down into one of the world’s busiest subways is somewhere down there too, beneath the water.

A roller coaster lies in a twisted, mangled, mass of steel, the salt water eating away at it, pulling it out into the ocean.

These are images that US citizens have become all too familiar with the past few weeks as hurricane Sandy, the most destructive storm to ever ravage the east coast, made landfall on Oct. 29, causing serious flooding in New York, New Jersey, and many other coastal states along the eastern seaboard.

The hurricane, which originated in the Caribbean over a week before it found its way to the east coast, made landfall with sustained winds up to 90 miles an hour, according to The Weather Channel. It caused widespread flooding throughout the region as the water levels rose as much as 10 feet.

The effects and power of the storm were so profound that they could even be witnessed in Sheboygan, as waves on Lake Michigan reached heights of as much as 15 feet.

The level of financial damage that this storm has caused is not yet known, or rather, possibly not even fathomable. New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, estimates it will be well into the billions of dollars, some reports stating $50 billion. Thousands of homes were flattened, drowned, or burned as the storm did its work.

Flooding in the New York subways proved to be much worse than was anticipated, yet, less than three days after the storm, parts of the subway were already back up and running. Nearly all were functional by the end of the first week.

It was only one day after the hurricane hit that the stock exchange resumed its business, and much of New York was still very much alive and already working on returning to normalcy.

No matter how large the financial damage, it cannot compare to the loss of life that this storm brought with it. According to the New York Times, over 100 deaths were reported to be caused by the storm. The United States saw 43 deaths in New York, 23 in New Jersey, and three in Connecticut. Sandy is estimated to also have taken as many as 60 lives in the Caribbean.

The American Red Cross has reported that it has received upwards of $85 million in donations so far to help in the relief efforts in the wake of hurricane Sandy as entire cities of people try to put their lives back together and return to normal activities, starting with a presidential election that the city was far from prepared to deal with at the time.

Despite this, New Yorkers and other citizens in such storm ravaged areas were still given plenty of options and places to get out and cast their votes, although there have been many stories of excessively long lines and general confusion and disorganization.

Much of New York and New Jersey are still without power, and those whose power was restored quickly found themselves in the dark again after a brutal northeaster (winter storm) hit the coast, bringing even more rain and miserable conditions to citizens who were already struggling to get back on their feet.

The storm completely buried citizens’ cars in ice and left roads in disarray, not only stunting the relief effort but also threatening to unravel any progress that had been made. The New York Times reports that the storm brought down power lines faster than crews could attend to them, leaving thousands more citizens without power.

There is no telling just how far the ripples of this most destructive hurricane to ever hit the east coast might reach as hundreds of lives have been lost and many states are facing the burden of extreme monetary costs.

As these cities look to rebuild they must question exactly what is worth rebuilding, as well as what the most efficient way to rebuild will be so as to ensure that if a disaster like this ever strikes again, the east coast will not be so helpless against the uncontrollable powers of nature.