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East Coast residents brace for Hurricane Sandy

Monday, October 29, 2012 | 4:41 p.m. CDT; updated 5:47 p.m. CST, Sunday, November 4, 2012
States and cities along the Eastern Seaboard began to see the effects of incoming Hurricane Sandy on Monday and throughout the weekend, including a turbulent sea, heavy wind, and flooding.

COLUMBIA — As Hurricane Sandy moves across the Eastern Seaboard, officials have ordered the evacuation of low-lying and coastal areas from Maryland to Connecticut and New York City. The hurricane is expected to cause severe, widespread flooding, blizzards and power outages. 

Missourian staff spoke on Monday to people in the storm's path. 

Wildwood, N.J.

In Wildwood, N.J., Dave and Maggy Robinson spent Monday morning watching the news for updates on the hurricane in a room at Holly Shores Camping Resort, which they have owned for 14 years.

It was getting windy and the sky was a dark gray, but the weather had not yet turned extreme. "So far, so good," Dave Robinson said late Monday morning.

Despite their optimism, the Robinsons prepared for the worst. Worried about flooding, they took refuge in the room because it is 20 feet above the ground, and they brought up a kayak just in case. They stocked the room with a power generator, plenty of candles and an assortment of food, including spaghetti and meatballs, six jars of peanut butter and some sushi.

Most of the Robinsons' employees left the campsite on Saturday to drive to safer areas. A few stayed behind until Sunday to help the owners take down signs, put away supplies and clear debris.

Dave Robinson worried about the 5,000 trees on the property.

"We're focused on protecting the business," he said. "We went through Hurricane Irene last year, and this will be worse than that."

Newport, R.I.

Missourian librarian Nina Johnson is in Newport, R.I., at the Carey Mansion, which was used in exterior shots for the TV show "Dark Shadows." She is there for a gathering of fans of the gothic soap opera, which was popular in the 1960s and early 1970s.

"We've got a lot of noise here," Johnson said, while holding closed a large window against strong winds blowing outside.

The house is on a hill and overlooks a beach. Johnson said the ocean is now "very turbulent."

"Yesterday one of the girls here was sitting on a rock on the beach," she said. "Today that rock is under water; there's no beach left here."

Although winds were strong today, Johnson said forecasts predicted the storm would worsen later Monday evening. People in the house worry the mansion's many windows will be vulnerable if wind speeds increase.

New York City

MU graduate Taylor Combs was relaxing in her Upper West Side apartment in Manhattan. Having been in stuck in a North Carolina basement when Hurricane Floyd struck the East Coast in 1999, Combs said she is mentally prepared for what is coming.

So far, there has only been a little rain and wind, Combs said. Her neighborhood is not in one of the evacuated zones, and the atmosphere is, for the most part, “chill.”
“It’s odd," Combs said. "There are no subways, so it’s very quiet everywhere."
Combs worried about the condition of the subways — her main form of transportation — after Sandy hits. If the subway stations flood, she may not be able to make it into work.
Today, that isn't a problem. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc., where Combs works, is located on West 26th Street, less than a block from the Hudson River. The office is in an evacuated zone, and she is working remotely from home.
Combs said she expects Sandy to make landfall in Manhattan by this evening.
Tuckahoe, Va.

Keith Perry, manager of the Good Foods Grocery Store's western branch in Tuckahoe, Va., said he would close the store four hours early Monday, at 5 p.m., to ensure the safety of his employees. 

As of 2 p.m., Perry said the Richmond area had not yet experienced damaging winds, but that a consistent, heavy rain had been coming down for a few hours. 

Winds in excess of 45 mph are not expected to hit the Richmond area, according to the National Weather Service, but Perry said he was worried about the possibility of power outages that would compromise the store's refrigeration system.

"We can't do much about that except hope and pray that it moves on," he said.

Cape May, N.J.

Mary Ann Gorrick, co-owner of the bed-and-breakfast Inn at the Park, said she and her husband, Jay, were going to brave Hurricane Sandy.

As of 2:30 p.m., Sandy was unleashing heavy rain and winds of more than 45 mph on Cape May, Gorrick said. The town is about 50 miles southeast of Atlantic City, N.J.

Gorrick said they chose to stay because “there was no place to go within 900 miles.”

Winter windstorms with gusts of 30 to 40 mph are common to the area, but she said this storm surge had already breached the dunes and protective sea wall, and one business was destroyed as a result. 

She said that she had moved the couple's car to higher ground and covered exposed windows with wood boards.

Gorrick said they had lost their cable TV connection and were experiencing spotty cell phone reception.

“We had guests on Saturday and Sunday, but we could not have them stay here," she said. "We choose to stay here on our own, but I wouldn’t be responsible for that." 

Atlantic City, N.J.

Maureen Shay is waiting for Sandy to arrive at her restaurant, Harry's Oyster Bar and Seafood, on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J. Bally's Atlantic City, the casino and hotel that houses her restaurant, was evacuated yesterday, but Shay and a few key security personnel have stayed behind to prepare for the storm. They put the building's flood gates down and brought all outside furniture in. Now all that's left is to wait.

"I can see the boardwalk from here, and the ocean looks ugly," Shay said. "But it hasn't broken the dunes just yet."

So far they have seen strong wind and rain, but the worst of the storm has yet to arrive. Shay is expecting a surge this evening.

The hotel and restaurant were closed Sunday and Monday and will remain closed Tuesday because of the storm.

Lewes, Del.

Robert Barlow answered phones at The Inn at Canal Square while watching Delaware Gov. Jack Markell order an evacuation of coastal areas on The Weather Channel.

"I'm not worried about this location, but there are lots of other places I'm following on Twitter and Facebook that I'm worried about," Barlow said. The weather was windy and rainy, he said, but not yet storm-level.

After the inn shut down yesterday, employees stacked sandbags near the doors and moved anything below waist height to higher ground. The inn is almost a mile from the shore, but the owner is worried that the canal from which it derives its name will flood.

The owner is paying Barlow, a maintenance man and another employee to remain in the business for the duration of the storm. They spent Monday mopping up water from a couple leaks.

"It was a team effort," Barlow said. "We did the same thing during Irene. We didn't experience flooding or wind damage then."

They don't have to worry about food; the inn has ample supplies, Barlow said. On Monday, he ate a breakfast of Fiber One cereal and a banana and a lunch of potato leek soup and a ham sandwich prepared by the owner.

Ocean City, N.J.

Doug Bergen, a reporter for the Ocean City Patch, is on the front lines, taking the storm head-on in Ocean City. With tides already high because of tonight's full moon, Hurricane Sandy is bringing in floods like Bergen has "never seen in his lifetime."

"Dunes are flattened and beaches are gone," Bergen said. "I walked through downtown streets and was up to my chest in water. I've never seen this before."

The island was evacuated at 4 p.m. on Sunday, but Bergen says the evacuation order was largely ignored by the island's residents. Bergen says there is now nowhere to move on or off the island.

"It's time to hunker down and hope," Bergen said. "I brought a wetsuit and beer."

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.


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