It's not really over, but...it's gone. Sandy, that is. I can't adequately describe the emotions that have accompanied living through this storm, in this regional area, as a citizen of Jersey City. But, I'll make an oblique attempt.
Admittedly, I'm not a good planner. I have no true disaster kit, no disaster blueprint in place. I made the requisite purchases of a few non perishables (Pop-Tarts), water, and batteries. Didn't have enough flashlights really to sustain myself for days in the dark. I had one cat carrier for five cats, and no idea how I'd evacuate if necessary. As the storm approached, and the warnings escalated, my anxiety went right along with it. I feared being cold, hungry and without help.
What do I do if the wind is so strong it breaks windows? What will I do with five cats who will try to escape because they are freaked out? I live on the the 9th floor and there is nowhere for them to go but straight down once they make it to the ledge--if they make it to the ledge. I was a nervous wreck.
My car was an easy fix: parking garage. Fifth floor. High winds could have resulted in debris hitting the car but that was a smaller risk than flooding, given the history with Irene last year. Secured.
The worst thought: our feral cat populations. Three colonies. All live at ground level. A few kitties live in a lot with huge steel pipes. Another group live in a small lot under a condo building, surrounded by commercial buildings with people who are not cat fans. The lot is slated for construction any week now. The third live behind a paid parking lot, between two residential buildings and have been there for years. Most of those cats have been TNR'd so they are a happy colony with some drop ins, but a fairly stable population.
If my mind could have imagined the flooding we ultimately experienced, I like to think we would have crafted some sort of plan for our beloved cats. We have names for them, we follow their paths and know a lot--not all but a lot--of their patterns and habits. And they know us well enough to watch for us at feeding time, to take a bath or sit with patience and excitement as we prepare their supper bowls.
The storm skies and winds started early in the day on Monday the 29th of October. The water from the Hudson started to spill onto the plaza at Exchange Place. This was a foreshadow of the evening's events, although my concern was heavy downpours resulting in leaking through my ceiling.
There are several stories here. The days post storm, and living in what felt like a police state, piecing together information about the damage and destruction in New Jersey, Staten Island, downtown Manhattan, and the LI area. Curfews. Looting. And walking the flood ravaged streets, looking for feral kitties.
For now, I'll share the photo of the courtyard at 150 Bay Street, when the water was below 5 feet but on it's way up, over the steps and into our lobby where it would do significant damage.
Note that any cars that normally would appear in this photo were underwater. Some of them even floated down the street....
I'll write a post about our kitties, about life for a few days of minor inconveniences, and listening to reports of complete destruction from the surge this storm waged on so many treasured homes, landmarks, and lives.
No single raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood...