I’ve been worried about a storm like this for over 10 years, ever since hearing NOAA warnings about the flood risks faced by anyone living south of Long Island’s Route 27a (the Montauk Highway) during a major storm. But this is beyond the scope of what I thought might happen. Fortunately, my house is located about 3 miles from Long Island’s south shore and well above the flood zone, but there are downed trees and telephone poles everywhere, and we have no power, phone, or internet service. I can’t travel across my community without detouring around huge trees tangled with power lines. While certain parts of the county are powered up like nothing happened – I can tie into a wi-fi network if I travel a few miles east – most areas have no electricity. Without it, we’re disconnected, not just from the grid, but from the world.
A family we know who lived closer to the shore had a foot and a half of water in their house; they’re living with us now, likely for at least a few months. There was almost 4 feet of water in the living room of my brother-in-law’s house in Long Beach; he’s moved in with us as well. When he showed up at our house, he was riding his motorcycle, which had been stored at a friend’s house, since both of his cars had been lost in the storm surge. He thinks it will be a long time before Long Beach recovers from the flooding.
Things are starting to come back to life as work crews restore power, though they still have a long way to go. There are long lines at the gas stations and restaurants that have power. For now, our power comes from my generator. It’s not as bad as Katrina, but still no picnic…
Mike Sloggatt is a contractor in Levittown, New York.