Impact felt near and far
On October 22, what started out as a tropical wave formed into the largest recorded Atlantic hurricane in a matter of days. Affecting almost half of the United States, Hurricane Sandy hit the country with floods, destructive winds and power outages—killing almost 200 people and gaining the title of second costliest hurricane in history. Starting as three systems, Sandy began as two Arctic pushes from the north, which combined with Sandy to create a compound storm that nobody expected. Above the average hurricane size, Sandy grew to be over 1,000 miles across and was predicted early on to affect millions of people with inland flooding.
Areas most effected included the eastern United States, Bahamas and eastern Canada. Although the far side of the country suffered the brunt of the damage, Gustavus students and faculty from New York and New Jersey suffered as well.
Sophomore Adreissa Nance, originally from Brooklyn, New York, felt for her family and friends and home and wished she was home with them.
“I felt like I couldn’t help them, but the worst that happened was that they didn’t have power and I’m thankful it wasn’t much more,” Nance said.
Although many Gustavus students heard intermittently about the disaster across the country, many had no idea of its actual impact or the effect it was having on their fellow students who reside far from St. Peter.
“I would like [other students] to value life because you never know what could happen to you or people near you. I want to encourage them to not take natural disasters lightly, just because they were not physically affected,” Nance said.
As well as students, faculty members had to endure their school days thinking about loved ones at home and the life changing disaster that struck.
Assistant professor of History, African Studies, and GWS studies Kate Keller’s family was directly impacted by the storm.
“My hometown is Middletown, NJ, which is about 3 miles from the shore. My sister’s house (in Western NJ)
actually was without water for a week as well and she, her husband, and four kids had to leave,” Keller said. “The
areas directly on the shore suffered some severe damage with many houses, businesses, and streets suffering severe damage. Some of the beach towns are almost totally destroyed as hard as that it is to believe.”
Similar to Nance, Keller also wished she was home to help with the recovery of her hometown.
“Of course I felt fortunate to be safe from the storm here in Minn. with the comforts of electricity and heat the entire time, but I was also worried about my loved ones. Now that people are working on recovery and re-building I wish I was there to help,” Keller said.
“It just made me not want to be here. I actually wasn’t here on campus and was considering not coming back to school but I knew I needed to finish this semester,” Nance said.
Volunteer efforts and recovery teams have already started rebuilding the damage that this massive natural disaster caused, and unsurprisingly there any many who need extra hands.
“People are really coming together to try to overcome this crisis. My brother and my mom are actively involved in the re-building effort in a town called Union Beach, NJ. They go every weekend to help families clean up debris where their homes used to be and help people get their lives back on track,” Keller said.
Although many know the popular MTV show “Jersey Shore” as a celebrity hotspot, the shore is actually a place that many families hold dear to their heart and it has been affected greatly by the hurricane.
“To see our beach clubs, restaurants and public beaches ripped apart by the storm is incredibly sad. I wonder if it will ever be same again, but also know that [the people] are determined to re-build,” Keller said.
To donate, go to www.redcross.org or text the word “Redcross” to 90999 to make a ten dollar donation to help provide shelter, food and support to those affected by the storm.
How does Hurricane sandy compare to other recent storms? See this infographic
All photos via Creative Commons