How We Fared During Hurricane Sandy

by Khaleef "Fat Guy" Crumbley on November 5, 2012

in Daily Update, Emergency Preparedness

First of all, I want to thank everyone who prayed for us and all those who sent texts, emails, messages on Facebook & YouTube, and those who tried to call us. It was heartwarming to see the outpouring of love and concern.

I think we lost the sun as early as Thursday or Friday of the previous week. By Sunday afternoon, the rain began to fall and the wind speed picked up. We had already finished all of our shopping and other preparations (read the hurricane preparedness guide we put together for more detail) by then, so all we could do was contact family and friends to make sure they were prepared…and wait.

By Monday afternoon, the storm was about 100 miles from the shore, but the wind kept picking up speed and branches were already being ripped off of the trees around us. The rain started falling fairly hard and I barely had time to get in a pre-hurricane workout and run!

Hurricane Sandy Seaside New Jersey

We lost power early Monday evening, and we immediately realized how much of our life revolves around technology. We do our daily bible readings on our iPods or phones, we get updates on everything via the internet, we listen to sermons and bible studies online, we use our television to play DVDs or to watch an old TV show on Netflix, and even most of the games that we play to help relax are digital and require internet access.

Let’s not talk about the fact that my entire business is run online!! All of the planning, notes, writing, and financial data associated with my business is stored on my computer and backed up to an external hard drive. Nothing is done by hand.

I’m pretty sure we went to bed early that night…after reading by candlelight. It actually stayed pretty warm in the house as the heavy, cold rain and intense winds started to pound on our building! We went to sleep to what we think was the sound of the rain pounding on the metal siding (which was attached to the overhang of the roof), which had been ripped off by the winds.

We woke up Tuesday morning and grabbed the radio out of our emergency kit in order to get updates, since none of our texts or phone calls were going through. It was still raining and as we looked out of our windows, we saw large branches all over the place and a few trees knocked over.

Hurricane Sandy Tree Side

It wasn’t too long after we woke up that we realized that Hurricane Sandy devastated much of New Jersey and pretty much left the entire state without power, heat, phone service, or internet access. We actually had to drive to the police station in order to find out if the water in our town was safe to use for bathing and other things.

Once we got back from our brief tour of the neighborhood – all of the traffic lights were out, so we didn’t stay on the roads long after leaving the police station – I decided to go for a run. You’ll find clips from a couple of days in the video below…

After that, we developed a plan to consume all of the perishables that we had in the house. Since the cold temperatures were beginning to overtake the house, we made a number of attempts to light our fireplace…none of them worked! We tried newspaper, smooth wood which had been indoors for months, cardboard, rough wood which we brought indoors right before the hurricane, matches, and even a lighter, but nothing worked. 🙁

We then went outside to charge our phones in the car, and we had to turn the heat on because it was pretty cold. Since there were practically no gas stations open in New Jersey (a problem that persists even now), we knew that we couldn’t keep the car running for too long. At that time we realized that we wouldn’t be able to make a video for the “Downsizing Duos challenge” that we were a part of; so we were able to call my good friend Julie Wilson (who just joined FGSW as a staff writer), gave her the numbers, and asked her to make a video on our behalf. Check out our weigh-in video via Julie:

I won’t turn this into a weight loss update, so make sure that you subscribe so you can hear and/or read our thoughts on this weigh in and the challenge in general.

As Julie was over in Indiana recording that video, we were sitting here in cold, dark Jersey. We were tempted to try the fireplace again, but we {wisely} decided against it. Late that night we heard a strange beep from the hall; it was our carbon monoxide detector, which runs on electricity…WE GOT OUR POWER BACK!!!

We immediately plugged in our cell phones and our emergency battery pack, just in case it was temporary. We sent out a couple of texts letting people know that we had power, and seeing if anyone else did as well. Our cell phone service was still spotty at best, and it was very difficult to get in touch with people. Next, we checked our internet connection and realized that it still wasn’t working. 🙁

When we woke up Wednesday morning, the power was still on. We then sent out a few texts to see if we could help out anyone who didn’t have power or heat (or anything else that we could provide). Sherrian’s brother and his family (wife and 2 sons) didn’t have power or heat at that point, so they came to stay with us until things are restored.

Fast-forward to today (I’m writing this late Sunday night) and they still don’t have power or heat, so they are still here. It has been such a blessing having them here. It’s been great being able to have so many discussions about the bible with them. We are also enjoying cooking/eating with them, and even our workouts. Spending time with our nephews has been great as well.

If you recall my article about how Hurricane Irene hit New Jersey last year, you’ll remember that my church’s basement was completely flooded. Well, this year we didn’t have any flooding (praise God), but the power and heat, were out all week! We had a great experience on Sunday singing and praising God with no heat or lights. It was like being in a different era.

While we were singing “Blessed Assurance” the power came back on and light filled the sanctuary! It was such a fitting and symbolic experience. Then the sermon was about having a proper understanding of God (from Isaiah 40). Then we got to see the outpouring of love as everyone began checking on each other to make sure that no one was lacking anything essential because of the storm. So many people had lunch together – especially those who had no power or heat, eating with those who did.

Also, since there has been a severe gas shortage in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, some people brought gas to run the church generator (for the parsonage). Since the power was restored, the church gave the gas to the members who hadn’t been able to get any (either for their cars or generators at home) due to the shortage.

New Jersey Residents After Hurricane Sandy

I plan to write some of my thoughts about what happened to some New Jersey residents after Hurricane Sandy, once the desperation set in. I will just say here that there has been so much sharing and compassion demonstrated across this state. It is really touching to see people (especially those in the body of Christ) care for each other.

On the other hand, it is been very disheartening to see people looting, stealing generators from homes with no power, fighting over gas (or over places in the gas lines), and even stealing license plates so they can get gas a day earlier.

Many people are still without power, heat, and even cell service. The temperatures are going below freezing during the nights, so there are shelters set up in most towns…although communications are still down in many areas. Most of the gas stations are closed, and we are to the point where most counties are rationing gas based on license plates.

We are trying to making strides, but we will be dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy for a very long time!

© 2012, All rights reserved.

Thomas S. Moore November 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Glad to hear that you are doing ok. I hear that the lines for gasoline is crazy up there. Living in Florida I know how hurricanes can be but I haven’t had to experience anything like Sandy! A lot of people still remain without much need supplies.

Noel November 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Wow what an experience! I lived through a handful of hurricanes here in Florida, but I haven’t had anything like what you all are experiencing. I lost trees, power for a week, and dealt with gas lines for a very long, hot afternoon in the Florida sun. It certainly will be interesting how the country starts changing with climate change.

Squirrelers November 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Glad you guys are safe, that’s the ultimate bottom line. So much tragedy all around, that getting through it healthy and safe seems like a real victory.

Jessica @ Budget for Health November 6, 2012 at 9:10 am

Thanks for updating us on how you’re doing. That’s awesome the how the power came back while you were at church! I’ll be praying for you & Sherrian to be a light through this period of recovery.

Natalie F November 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Good news that nothing too bad happened. You and your family made it through all right. I wish you the best of luck in your post-sandy recovering!

Jackie November 7, 2012 at 9:25 am

I’m glad you guys are ok! I was wondering how things were going there. What do you think the best way for people to help is?

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