Some Thoughts on a Storm (update)

Update:  President Obama came to visit today.  Too bad I couldn’t see it because they still haven’t allowed evacuees to return to the island yet.  The only people there are the ones who were unable or too stubborn to leave the island in the face of the hurricane.

My thanks to those sending well wishes to me and my hurricane-ravaged town of Brigantine, NJ.  It’s a beautiful beach town that’s immediately north of Atlantic City.  The picture below was taken from an AC casino and shows the one bridge in and out of Brigantine.  Five years ago, when I was scouting for a beach place, a great friend told me to go there because it’s just a great little town that happens to have a big, fabulous beach.  I’ve posted beach pics and other info over the past few years, and hopefully you’ve seen some of it.

Now, it’s a different story.  (pics from NBC-40 Atlantic City)

Second, when the storm was on its way, I had to make a decision whether or not to evacuate.  As you can’t see very well above, but you’ll easily see below, half of the town is underwater.

the rod n reel – my favorite dive bar – usually open 24/7/365

Flood insurance being all paid up, I grabbed what was needed when we were told we had one day to evacuate.  I thought about staying for a few reasons.  One, I could.  Two, I’m on the second floor of a duplex, so I wasn’t worried about actually drowning.  But I didn’t stay because I would have had to leave my car on the first floor, and I didn’t want to risk that being washed away or ruined.  I also didn’t stay because most hurricane deaths are not from drowning but from being hit with flying things, so being on the second floor would have made that more likely.

Another reason I didn’t stay is because I have kids, and I wasn’t sure how long I’d be stuck on the island and unable to see them.  I certainly wasn’t going to keep them with me, no way, but I also didn’t want to lose any time either.  As of right now – almost 10AM on Wednesday after a Sunday afternoon evacuation deadline, the island is still sealed off by water, and I still haven’t heard when it’ll reopen.  Kids change how you look at things.  If I were just a guy, no kids or anything, I likely would have stayed.

Another reason I didn’t stay is because I wasn’t sure how selfish that might seem.  Why do people stay?  Do they want to be part of the story?  Do they want their 15 minutes on the news?  Do they think it’s exciting to have a hurricane literally surrounding you?  I guess it might be, if you’ve been watching the news, you’ve seen there was a very real physical risk, and not the kind you get just crossing the street.

So now, being shut out of going home, I have to wonder.  I’ve been checking Twitter, using #brigantine, and it seems everyone is tweeting about the phony shark photo that they don’t realize is phony.  On Facebook, people who evacuated are complaining that the news isn’t talking about Brigantine at all.  It might be because the news vans can’t get on the island, but I’m getting scattered pics online from the NBC news affiliate in Atlantic City, and what I’m seeing is promising.

Brigantine has a very distinct difference at my south end of the island compared to the north end, and it was one of the reasons I bought at the south end.  The north is covered in a web of cable, telephone, and electrical wires on your standard tall poles.  In the south, all those wires are underground.

All of the pictures I’m seeing of flooded streets, tossed boats, and submerged houses are all on streets with those above-ground wires.  That tells me that there’s likely no interesting storm damage photos from the south end.  And that’s a good thing.

Where I am now is about a 90-minute drive from the island, and I’m going to head back down shortly after posting this to see if I can yet gain access.  I’ve heard about some looting, but I’m not worried because I have very little of value there.  Only small TV’s, nothing worth stealing except my laptop, which is with me now.  I heard about 50% of the residents did not evacuate, and most of them probably had no other family or places to go.  But I also suspect that some of those people stayed behind in order to see what they could find when nobody was looking.

39 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on a Storm (update)

  1. Awww. These pictures really capture the devastation. So very sad. No one is talking about global warming and yet these super storms just keep on coming!
    Glad to hear you are okay!

    • thanks miss, and yeah, they kept saying on CNN how the water is usually warm making the storm unusually strong – but no discussion WHY it was so warm.

  2. Good thing you evacuated – I didn’t have to and I got very lucky all I lost is power for 26 hours and my cell service (still off an on). Which in of itself is nerveracking since I’m alone. But stay safe! Glad you made it through the storm.

  3. Hi Rich,
    Hope you’re able to get home soon and all is well there. Congrats on being farsighted and being in the area with underground utilities. Seen lots of storms hit Florida, Lousiana, Texas, but really strange to see a storm hit NJ and AC and a big population center. Good wishes going forward to you and your commumity. Ron

    • thanks sir. i hope this isn’t perceived as a wish for pity. more like a thought that we shouldn’t make ourselves part of the story by jumping into the storm.

  4. Thank goodness you’re safe – I can’t imagine what it must have been like or how you feel now – I just hope that you get your life back on track soon – warm wishes sent through the air from England.

  5. The whole country and beyond are bending their thoughts, prayers, attention, and resources toward your not-so-little corner of the world…. and that is saying a lot. Glad you + kids are ok!

  6. Oh my! I know you said you don’t really have anything much of value, but I hope you find your place in reasonable condition when you get back nevertheless. Good that you had somewhere to evacuate to anyway!

  7. Well if nothing else you are safe… In 2001 I lost everything in my house from a flood… when I say everything I mean everything… I soon realised when I saw others that had lost family members that they had now to bury, I had actually lost nothing… the insurance replaced all my furniture and fixed the house… but the rest that was gone was lost forever… but one thing the water could not take was my memories… so rather evacuate and stay safe, the rest is merely material things that can be replaced… so glad to here your safe… terrible storm…

      • The governor just ordered all of Jersey to postpone trick or treating until Monday. We’re heading over to our friends’ place in Glenolden tonight instead!

        It really was a sad week for us. My daughter knew Autumn (same grade/classes together) along with the younger suspect. So, we’re still dealing with a lot of the fallout from that :/

  8. Think you made the right decision. When life is routine from day to day, we forget about the importance of personal decision. Once in a while, something happens that isn’t according to plan, and we have to exercise our ability to decide. Living here in Israel, I sometimes feel that we have bad luck… with a bunch of savages living next to us, always eager for a little mayhem. So watching this catastrophe on the TV, I was reminded that no matter where you live… even if it’s the most powerful country in the world, and a free society… sometimes life is turned upside down, and you have to deal with it. Thanks for the pictures. It was good to see things through your eyes, Rich.

  9. Evacuating is always a wise option, especially when there are alternative places to stay. Kids really change the way things are analysed. Moving your entire family to safety was not a bad decision at all.
    The pictures are nice. They help us really see things as they are. I hope the island will soon return to it’s previous beauty and become habitable and enjoyable once again.
    I bear with those who have been inconvenienced in any way. Keep up the good work with your blog.
    Nice post!

  10. So relieved to hear you’re safe. I’m thankful for your kids and their existence meaning you made the decision to evacuate.

    We’re praying here for everyone there and the people involved in the clean up operations and the aid agencies, that those who need help can get it and that life will be able to continue.

    • thanks miss. glad you’re gladly glad. governor won’t let anyone back yet until they’re sure it’s safe. according to people still there, it’s fine. grrr.

  11. Our part of Maryland wasn’t hit as hard as predicted, thankfully, but the Eastern Shore took a beating. I’m afraid these storms will become more common, no matter how many people choose to bury their heads in the sand about climate change.

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