Thursday update: Power outages still affecting customers are down under a million, but the death toll from Hurricane Sandy is above 50, and the number of homes destroyed in a fire on Breezy Point has risen above 110. The worst damage still seems to be from Atlantic City north along the Jersey Shore, with no one allowed back on Long Beach Island yet and entire barrier islands in the Mantoloking/Bay Head area cleaved in half. Long Island is also hard hit, with the entire city of Long Beach without basic services and underwater due to massive oceanside and soundside flooding; the destruction stretches from there to Montauk, with spotty cell-phone service and power making accurate reports difficult. If anyone has any updates, please share them in the comments below.
New York City is back up and running with abbreviated public transportation and still close to 225,000 people without power, but the city seems to have come together in a way not seen since 9/11. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and U.S. President Barack Obama toured the hard-hit Jersey Shore yesterday, and relief efforts are beginning to materialize, with most efforts still funneling through the Red Cross but other organizations like Waves 4 Water mobilizing to also move in. Long Beach Island, NJ, apparel company Jetty has a Hurricane Sandy relief T-shirt for sale, with all proceeds benefitting affected communities and first responders. Bottom line, the scenes of devastation are still coming in and the clean-up is going to take months. Stay tuned as more information becomes available to us.
If you’re even remotely connected to the outside world, by now you know how devastating Hurricane Sandy was to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. More than eight million people without power. At least 38 confirmed deaths. Whole swaths of the New Jersey coastline laid to waste and buried under sand and tidal surges. New York City subway and traffic tunnels filled with water. Over 80 homes on the Rockaway Peninsula destroyed by fire. Piers from North Carolina to New England tossed around like tinder sticks. Blizzard-like conditions as far south as the Appalachians, as far west as the Great Lakes, and as far north as Canada. And on and on.
The scope of the carnage will only come further into focus as search and rescue teams continue saving people’s lives. As emergency management personnel fan out to assess damages. And as people who evacuated the coast in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and beyond finally get a chance to return to their homes. So for today, us diehard surf junkies at ESM forgot about the selfish act of riding waves. Forgot about how perfect Southern North Carolina was. Or how gargantuan Puerto Rico got. Or how epic South Florida still is.
Forgive the interruption — we will return to the bountiful surf the Hurricane Sandy delivered. We will run countless swell galleries. We will devote our whole next issue to this monumental storm. But for today, we ask that you think not of yourself and your latest shred session but instead of those in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast who lost their lives. Who lost their homes. Who may not get back to normal existences for weeks. Who may not even think of surfing for months. For now, the best way you can assist victims of Hurricane Sandy is by donating to the American Red Cross; as other volunteer and charitable opportunities become available, we will report them. And we encourage our readers to fill us in on the best ways Rightside surfers can help, as well as sending in dispatches from their local communities.
For now, the East Coast stands as one. Grasp the impact of this storm, help out when and where you can, and check back daily as ESM continues to bring you the best coverage of Hurricane Sandy and her aftermath.