Two Big Events One Week After Sandy: A Nor’Easter And An Election
(CNN) — One week after Superstorm Sandy wrecked the Northeast, tearing apart homes and lives in New Jersey, New York and other areas, there’s another worry on the horizon: A nor’easter is coming.
By Tuesday afternoon, rain is forecast to pick up around New York and northern New Jersey, and by Wednesday, gusts as strong as 45 mph will blow, CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider said. It will get down to about 36 degrees in New York — bad news for about 1.2 million people who are still without power in the area.
Schneider said the primary concern from the nor’easter is the impact it could have on the ravaged Jersey Shore. Coastal flooding and beach erosion are possible.
The storm is not another Sandy, Schneider said, and its path and severity could change throughout the day.
“I haven’t even really thought about the nor’easter,” Ryan Hanley said.
The 27-year-old’s chief worry is the home she had to abandon in Wantagh, on New York’s Long Island. It was rushed with 7 feet of water. All of her belongings are on the curb.
“I cannot think right now about voting (in Tuesday’s presidential election) either,” she said. “I don’t even know where to go if I wanted to vote.”
Voters in some New York counties may get an extra day to cast ballots if disruptions caused by Sandy prevent enough citizens from voting, a state official said Sunday. And New Jersey announced that residents displaced by Sandy can vote in Tuesday’s elections via e-mail or fax, the first time civilians in the state have been allowed to vote remotely.
Hanley is living with her boyfriend’s family a few towns away from Wantagh, and her confusion about where to vote is a secondary concern right now.
“I’ve heard from neighbors who are still around there that we’ve had looters,” she said.
“What am I supposed to do right now? How do I deal with that?” she said. “I don’t have electricity, so I cannot pump the water. It is just sitting there. Whether someone takes what we have … I have no control over that. I have no control over any of it.”
Hanley has been talking with her insurance company. But she said she’s not been able to reach a real person with the Federal Emergency Management Agency yet.
“We have not been directly contacted, nor can we reach anyone when we call,” she told CNN.
FEMA has defended its response to people in need.
While Hanley struggles with the bureaucracy of post-disaster life, many others are receiving help from the Red Cross, which has opened 190 shelters along the Eastern Seaboard. The organization has hundreds of disaster workers on standby with emergency supplies.
Katie Fairley, a Staten Islander who lives in New Dorp, one of the harder-hit areas, said she’s seen people sleeping in their cars.
Fairley, a 51-year-old vice president for finance at a health care facility, said lines for food and for gas are blocks long.
“Thank God, we have each other here …”
She said she felt that Staten Islanders had been forgotten.
Tara Saylor spent her weekend volunteering to hand out clothing and food. The 25-year-old works at a Manhattan interior design showroom. She and her home on a hill in St. George, Staten Island, escaped Sandy’s wrath.
Helping people touched her deeply.
“I was almost crying when people are thanking me,” she said. “[They were] throwing their family photos out in the middle of the street. It’s a humbling experience. You really begin to appreciate what you have.”
Teacher Chris Ippolito lives in Red Bank, New Jersey. He wrestled only with sporadic power outages, but his mother-in-law’s home was severely flooded.
The historic house, more than 100 years old, sat a block from the ocean in Monmouth County.
Her family built it, and she spent her childhood there.
She left the house before Sandy hit, so she’s physically all right. But she’s devastated by the loss.
“It’s incredibly difficult for her,” Ippolito said of his mother-in-law.
In Red Bank, however, things are returning to some semblance of normalcy.
CNN reached Ippolito shortly after he’d delivered food and supplies to a local firehouse.
“Businesses are breathing back to life,” he said. “Schools are limping back to life.”
He’s a teacher. His district is closed for now, but he’s thinking about all of his students.
“I want them to tell their stories, to feel like they can open up if they want or need to,” he said.
For now, he’ll use his free time Tuesday to vote for the next president.
“I understand that voting isn’t the priority for a lot of people who are dealing with more immediate needs,” he said. “But I’m not going to miss it.”
By Ashley Fantz
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