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 Watermobilizing 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.
The eye of Hurricane Sandy came ashore near Atlantic City, NJ, on Monday with winds in excess of 85 mph, seas of 30 to 40 feet, and a massive storm surge that laid waste to many of the area’s piers, boardwalks, oceanfront structures, and homes.
Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
First responders from the New York Police Department and other governmental agencies have been working for several days straight, with many more nonstop shifts still to come. Here, a crew rescues a family stranded by flooding on Staten Island. If you see any police, fire, or paramedics over the next few days, tell ’em thanks for their hard work and constant sacrifices.
Photo: Michael Kirby Smith/The New York Times
Although Hurricane Sandy didn’t directly impact North Carolina, several Outer Banks highways like this one in Kitty Hawk were destroyed by relentless winds and ocean overwash, with soundside flooding also devastating the area.
Photo: Laurin Walker
But by far the saddest scenes from Hurricane Sandy came in Breezy Point on the Rockaway Peninsula, where a massive fire that swept through the neighborhood Monday night devastated over 110 homes.
Photo: Frank Franklin/li/Associated Press
A more pulled-back view of the tragic scene in the Rockaways. Firefighters had a hard time getting the massive blaze under control because the area was also one of the most flooded in all of New York City.
Photo: Frank Franklin/li/Associated Press
A satellite view of Sandy, which was downgraded to a Post-Tropical Cyclone that affected a large swath of the United States. That includes blizzard-like conditions in mountainous areas, hurricane-force winds all the way to the Great Lakes, heavy rainfall in New England and Canada, and more nasty weather still to come for areas already under the gun from Sandy’s landfall yesterday.
Photo: National Weather Service
Initial reports indicate that Ocean City, NJ, escaped severe damage, although the beach at 1st Street had moved inland a bit. But the devastation in areas just to the north, including Atlantic City and Long Beach Island, looks to be severe and long-lasting — a recent news report said that LBI residents might not be able to return for at least a week.
Photo: Rob Kelly
North Carolina photographer Ben Gallop sent this photo of Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head getting smashed: “The deck of the pier is 25’ above mean seal level and the top of the building on the end of the pier is about 17’ higher, according to John Cheshire, who helped manage the pier’s construction.” Reports do indicate that the newly refurbished pier did escape any major damage.
Photo: Ben Gallop
A reconnaissance mission by the National Guard Tuesday morning revealed this mind-boggling image of Seaside, NJ. Words can’t even describe the level of damage inflicted on the heart of the Jersey Shore.
Photo: Bryan Joseph/National Guard 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion
Widespread power outages Monday night in New York City left Manhattan’s usually sparkling skyline almost entirely dark, one of the eeriest images we’ve ever seen. At last estimate, over a million people were still without power.
Photo: Keith Bedford/Reuters
Taxi cabs in Hoboken, NJ, sit in several feet of water. Transportation options across the region were severely constrained, with subway and train systems offline, airports just reopening, and only a few bridges and tunnels into New York City open.
Photo: Charles Sykes/Associated Press
For East Coast surfers, the sight of Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, NJ, lying in ruins was one of massive sadness. Who knows whether this Rightside landmark will bounce back — but the memories amassed here throughout multiple generations of waveriding will never die.
Photo: Dana Palmieri
Even the Great Lakes bore the brunt of Hurricane Sandy, with massive seas rocking this lighthouse near Cleveland, OH. Don’t be surprised if later this week some of the most jaw-dropping surf shots come from our friends on the freshwater Third Coast.
Photo: Tony Dejak/Associated Press
The Outer Banks’ Avalon Pier was cut into multiple sections on Monday. But there is a sliver of good news in all of Sandy’s misery: a crew of locals, including Hank, Troy, Murph, and Denis, closed off the end section directly in this photo’s foreground, shortening the pier but ensuring it will be open for business again. That’s what we call American ingenuity in the face of obstacles.
Photo: Justin Gizzard
While most news reports focused on the damage in New Jersey and New York City, Long Island endured massive flooding of its own. Here’s a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of boats turned to rubbish in East Quogue, NY.
Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
Even Times Square, more than 42 blocks north of the tip of Manhattan, saw several inches of standing water. But the lights were still on.
Photo: Marc McCuen
Sadly, the HMS Bounty, a 180-foot replica of the famous ship, sunk of the coast of Cape Hatteras on Monday. Coast Guard members were able to save 14 of the boat’s 16-man crew.
Photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Tim Kuklewski/U.S. Coast Guard/Getty Images
Bay Head and other areas of North Jersey were wracked by massive tidal surge, structural damage, and sand in places lifelong locals had never seen it. The full extent of Garden State damage will come much further into focus over the next few days.
Photo: Ryan Mack
The John B. Caddell, a 168-foot water tanker, washed ashore on Front Street in the Stapleton neighborhood of Staten Island on Monday.
Photo: Sean Sweeney/Associated Press
The Delmarva Peninsula was spared some of Sandy’s worst damage, although flooding in and around the Chesapeake Bay still devastated areas like Crisfield, MD. For the few hardy surfers who stuck around, the rewards were also impressive, as winds went offshore there before anywhere else in the Mid-Atlantic or Northeast. That resulted in one of the most historic surf sessions ever to go down on the East Coast; stay tuned for more later this week.
Photo: Dann Cuellar/6abc Action News/WPVI-TV/Associated Press
The Atlantic City waterfront was left in ruins on Monday after Sandy’s storm surge arrived at high tide, coinciding with a full moon and leaving several blocks underwater.
Photo: Associated Press