Good morning all. Before we get to our current weather, I want to start by reflecting on Sandy.

Yesterday marked 6 years since the superstorm made landfall down the Jersey Shore and devastated much of the area, especially the south shore of Long Island. This was a unique storm, and we may not see anything quite like it for some time. It formed several days beforehand in the Caribbean, reaching major hurricane status as it moved north across Cuba and then northwestward into Bahamas. It eventually turned to the northeast as if it were going to move out to sea, but strong blocking features in the Atlantic caused a large westward hook, ultimately slamming the storm into the NJ coastline.

While rain wasn’t a factor here, wind and storm surge certainly were. In Nassau and Western Suffolk, severe coastal flooding occurred as water inundation reached 4-6 feet above ground level. The waves carried away boats and destroyed homes and cars. Many homes were rebuilt and/or raised, but some are still condemned and uninhabitable. The rest of the south shore and the entire north shore had slightly lower numbers, but still saw major coastal flooding.

Winds gusted 80-90+ mph, taking down trees and power lines. Many were without electricity for days and weeks. While the storm was certainly as powerful as a category 1 hurricane, it was reclassified as a post-tropical cyclone shortly before landfall and thus no hurricane warnings were issued. The NWS stated that while it still possessed hurricane-force winds, it did not have sufficient characteristics of a tropical weather system to hold on to the label at landfall. This carried significant implications for home and business owners, as most hurricane insurance policies have deductibles that would have been triggered only if the storm still had been a named hurricane at the time of landfall, and if hurricane warnings were in effect.

Stories from Sandy

“I had learned my lesson from Irene the year before when I had $20k in damages to the house. I had prepared a week before Sandy. Setting up the generator appropriate indoor lighting and other essentials like a charging station and coffee maker. I had a 70 foot tall honey locust tree cut down the day before which I’m sure would have fallen on the house had I not. 12 days without grid power but no injuries, just damage. I consider myself very lucky and never wish to go through that again. Co-workers lost homes. I was very fortunate.” – Jeff K.

“I went to Michael’s because I was pregnant at the time, as his house was less than a mile from Winthrop Hospital. We were up till 10-10:30pm playing board games. Then, around 10:25, the lights flickered once, then 5 minutes later they flickered again, and that was it. I just remember hearing the wind howling, could barely sleep. The next morning we went outside to survey the damage. All of us were hungry so we went to this diner a few blocks away and the line was out the door. People there with blankets, in their pajamas. Most were there just to get coffee and to get warm. I tried calling my parents….nothing. Trying to get power restored to my house was a war, and we went about a week and a half without it.” – Brittany V.

“I just remember being hunkered down in the dining room playing cards, listening to the transformers blow until ours finally did too, and we went in the dark. I was just praying the trees didn’t come down on the house. Then, 7 days no power, very little information, no gas. Lots of people had it worse and I’m thankful we didn’t. Sure don’t want to ever go through that again.” – Jim M.

My own personal story is that at the time, I lived in an apartment in Smithtown. My parents still lived in Lindenhurst, which was one of the hardest hit areas. My girlfriend at the time also lived on the south shore too, though not as close to the water, but I went to stay with her so I could be close to my parents if they needed help. They did all they could and then left to go elsewhere around 5pm. Over at my girlfriend’s house, we were able to watch movies until it was time for bed. I think she must have lived close to Brittany V. from above as the exact same thing happened to us. A flicker, then another 5 minutes later, and that was it. The power remained on, even through the hurricane force gusts. We were lucky. Many lost power and didn’t get it back for quite a while, including my parents. The next day, I stopped back at my apartment to gather some supplies – I had a feeling I wouldn’t be back for a while. As I pulled up to the apartment, a large, several-decade-old oak tree had toppled over in my usual parking space. If I had stayed there during the storm, my car would have been destroyed. On top of that, they had lost power early on in the storm and had a generator only to power the heat at night. My personal luck had been good up until this point, and it was magnified even more as I headed to Lindenhurst to help my parents. Parts of our neighborhood were like a war zone. The national guard was there. They required my ID to make sure I wasn’t someone heading to loot.

Many streets were still completely covered in water. I saw friends unloading canoes so that they could boat to there house, as the flood waters were still too high. I spoke to firefighters who were unable to save houses from crumbling from electrical fires. Back at my parents house, the water had come up to our back door before receding. Our basement, however, was not so fortunate. It still had about 4 feet of water in it. Everything there was destroyed: appliances, storage boxes, winter coats, our electrical box. All destroyed. We were fortunate enough to live close to a rental store and promptly leased an industrial strength, gas-powered sump pump. It helped only marginally, as the water was still seeping up from the ground. It took days for the water to go down to where we could walk around and begin the cleanup.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled forecast.

It is a chilly morning. While most lows sat in the bottom 40s, 30s were scattered about in Suffolk County. Today remains below average (50s) with an afternoon breeze (NW 10-15 mph), but expect plenty of sunshine. The weather stays dry the next two days, but temperatures will spike! Expect low 60s for Halloween Wednesday and mid/upper 60s on Thursday! 

A front approaches Thursday night and brings showers to Long Island for Friday. Peeking ahead to the weekend, showers stick around early Saturday but dry weather returns by the afternoon. High pressure builds in Sunday, making for a mostly sunny day.

Have a great day!

Meteorologist Geoff Bansen