Hurricane Sandy, Landscape Redesigner

From New Castle, Delaware, an eerie ‘watercolour’ of Hurricane Sandy after she held America hostage for hours on end

Disclaimer: This post has no relation to fellow Ogre Sandy who, despite his various artistic inclinations, hasn’t the sketchiest idea of landscaping. Any resemblance is therefore purely coincidental.

Sandy was due to hit the US east coast early next week, according to reports. The first thing I checked was the category of the storm. It was a category 1. Category 2 is known to fell trees (just so that you get an idea of the intensity). I was excited, since I have never experienced a hurricane or cyclone until now (the closest was a firsthand report from Sahastra about Cyclone Thane that wrecked Pondicherry just before New Year). Of course, I was concerned about the safety of the people and all of that, but I had this churning desire to experience it firsthand, in the flesh.

New Castle in Delaware, where I am right now, was right in the middle of the Sandy’s path (although it wasn’t highlighted on the news channels as it is not a big city) and I got ready to sit back and watch the showdown. Monday, October 29, I waited — for hours. Nothing hair-raising happened. Yes, it rained continuously, accompanied by strong, cold winds. The rain increased the water level in the surrounding marshes a bit. But nothing more than that.

Tuesday early morning, around 4:45, I got a call from the hotel front-desk. In half-sleep I answered. The voice at the other end said, “Sir, we need to move your car.” Walking to the parking lot, I found the car in almost a foot of water. The flooding was getting serious. Now, Sandy had my attention. The water I had to walk through, to reach the car was ice-cold. More than 12 hours later, as I write this, my feet have not completely recovered from that temperature shock. Later on Tuesday morning I realized that the flooding was worse than I had expected. The hotel driveway and the road were completely flooded. Although I was stranded at the hotel, I took a couple of pictures the scene. Here they are:

View of the flooded road from my room. You can hardly make out the difference between the marsh and the road.


Entrance to the hotel from the parking lot


Flooded road in front of the hotel. The 3 foot tall orange warning cone is almost completely submerged.


The closed hotel drive way


There were still some who would try getting into the water logged road and then lose their nerve after a few feet and reverse back.


The parking lot from where I had to move my car.


The parking lot and the marsh have become one.


The parking lot exit


Debri left behind when the water was higher, earlier in the morning


An abandoned umbrella. An umbrella is designed to be effective if the rain hits you from over your head. What do you do if it hits you horizontally?


A tree ruffled by the wind


The closed road next to the hotel. This is why I was stranded.


That’s all folks!

Maybe not. As I write this post, later in the evening, I heard an engine revving. Looking through my window I found two daredevils stuck on the waterlogged road.!

Trying to get the vehicle moving.


Want more of that wind-in-the-hair feeling? Check out Sahastra‘s post on Cyclone Thane

Text & Photographs: Arun

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