Sustained winds blew around 50-60 miles per hour and the trees toppled like blocks, often permanently altering Long Island's landscape. No one could imagine a New York storm this severe. Without anyplace else to go, many people resisted leaving their homes and were later sorry. More than 90% of Long Island was left without power for days. Some are on their second week without heat or hot water and it is cold outside.
While we had no electricity for a week, my home suffered little damage. In fact, we had even less than in last year's storm when my basement flooded and a tree branch went through the kitchen window. The inconvenience of no phone, T.V. or computer paled in comparison to those suffering from the devastating loss of their home.
It wasn't difficult to get used to an "early to bed and early to rise" philosophy. We used the daylight hours wisely to plan our meals. In the evenings, my family sat by candlelight and entertained ourselves with crossword puzzles, card games and family sing-alongs. We jumped up and down a lot to aid blood circulation and tried hard not to notice that the indoor temperature read 51 degrees and was getting lower everyday.
My power is on now. Hot showers have never felt so good. Not everyone in the community is back to normal, though, and there are plenty of people who still need help. I'm trying to do my part by providing friends with a place to warm up, shower or sleep. Tomorrow, I'll get back on line to buy gas. No luck, so far.
I still can't quite believe this shift in weather patterns. Storms that were meant to hit every hundred years will likely arrive every year or two. Construction adjustments will have to be made to accommodate this new normal in the Northeast.