Super Storm Sandy destroyed the path of millions of Americans. One of the hardest regions hit around the nation was Long Island.
LIPA recorded over 1.1 million Long Islanders that endured power outages. Towns like Lindenhurst, Bay Shore, Mastic, and the Rockaways suffered the most damage.
The frustration of people not having power was unmanageable. “Disgust” and “unbelievable” were some terms used to describe LIPA’s service issue. There are still many areas that have not gotten back to 100 percent power efficiency, but residents are satisfied that they at least have some power.
“The worst thing about the storm was probably having the loss of power for so long,” says Jonathan Laskowski a major at Suffolk. “We all would have figured LIPA would have had a quicker and better plan for this and we just had to adjust.”
Some of the worst locations for power outages were Lake Ronkonkoma, Sayville, St. James, and all of the major towns affected with damage. Most areas were out of power for just a few days, others for a week or longer. The biggest complaint of people who didn’t have power, was the lack of communication between LIPA and their customers.
Eileen Rivera of Lake Ronkonkoma was out of power for just a few days, “We lost the power early in the morning of the first day of the storm. A couple of days with no power was no big deal, but the worst part was that we had no hot water to shower with during the storm. I stayed on the phone with LIPA every day of the storm in order to get updates and sometimes was waiting for hours just to speak to an actual person. We finally got power back after five days.”
For Rivera and other residents of Lake Ronkonkoma, LIPA’s tendencies did not change after the storm.
“We got back power throughout the first day of the storm before it was completely off. After we got it back five days later, we lost it again. LIPA didn’t clear off a tree on the bottom of my block that was still lying over a bunch of power lines. The tree branch snapped, and took out all of the lines down at the end of the block resulting in another couple days without power. If they would’ve just done it right the first time, this wouldn’t have had happened,” Rivera said.
There were many drawbacks to the storm such as no power, hot water, or gas, and limited stores that were open. Stores were getting an unusual amount of generators, but customers were unable to get the gasoline to operate them.
Nina Vescio, a Business and Retail Management major at Suffolk, was one of the lucky ones of the storm,
“I was lucky enough to have a generator. We would have lost power for at least five days. Some of my best friends’ homes are destroyed and there no longer aloud to live there. I saw many houses that were destroyed, some with trees in side of them. One of my neighbors had multiple trees fall down in their front yard, two of which fell on their car.” said Vescio.
Due to the loss of power and damage across the region and island, it left many people with almost nothing. The Red Cross and FEMA are still currently fighting to help those people who were affected the most.
Gerry Quinn of Ronkonkoma had a packed out house. “My parents, and my in-laws had no power and lost parts of their property. I had to host an extra five people in my house because of the storm. My father in law has a machine that helps his breathing while he sleeps, without it or power to run the machine, he cannot sleep.” Along with hosting people in her house, Quinn also works for Verizon as a telephone pole technician and logged extra hours. “I saw a lot of damage to homes in Lindenhurst that you would think were staged for a movie. It seemed so unreal. They lost everything.”
The damage suffered to homes was more than catastrophic. Laskowski mentioned, “I didn’t have much damage to my house but I have a friend that lived in the Rockaways. He said that the entire grid of blocks that surrounds his home was completely burned down”.
Speaking to just a few students and residences of the Holbrook and Ronkonkoma areas, there was major damage. “We didn’t have any real damage done to my house except for my back shed. A neighbor’s tree fell from their backyard and fell right on top of my shed. It held a lot of sports memorabilia from me and my older brother’s childhood,” said Timmy Matos, an aeronautical engineer major. “Those memories are now all gone.”
Whether affected by the storm or not, most people can agree that it was the worst storm to ever hit Long Island. In the future one thing that all of the interviewees mentioned was that they could have been better prepared for the storm.
It was also mentioned LIPA and gas stations could have also been much more prepared for the severity of the storm. Although almost all homes have their power and hot water back, there are still thousands of people who have absolutely nothing.
If you would like to contribute to relief efforts or get more information about the storm, visit www.RedCross.org.