It was about 6:30 our time on October 29th when the storm made landfall near Brigantine, New Jersey. By the time it was over, more than 117 people were dead and more than $50 billion in damage had been done.
Dave Griffith is the Executive Director of the American Red Cross Heart of Missouri Chapter, based in Jefferson City. He was deployed to New York for two weeks when Sandy hit.
Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Griffith:
It affected the entire coastline, but the worst damage was done in New York and New Jersey.
“Just the amount of wind, and rain, and water that was present, just was overwhelming,” said Griffith, “When I got to Coney Island, we went down to the beach. And where there had been some beach restaurants and tiki bars, and those kind of things along the beach. Those were completely destroyed. I mean it looked like somebody has just taken…like a giant had just stepped on top of the buildings and just smashed them.”
The number of highrises in that area caused special concern. “A lot of those people that live in those were elderly people. And when the storm came in it knocked out all of the electricity. And so the elevators that were in those buildings were not usable. So you had elderly people that were living on the 20th and 30th floors of those buildings that we were very concerned about.”
Volunteers would carry groceries up to those people who could not get down. This storm was even worse than previous hurricanes in the area.
“It started off as Hurricane Sandy, and then it changed to being a superstorm. Simply because, not only did we have the surge of water and wind that comes in with a hurricane, but three days after that, they had a major blizzard. So just about the time that roadways were starting to open up to where we could get our emergency response vehicles in, the snowstorm hit and knocked us back even further.”
Recovery efforts are still ongoing. One of the major lingering problems is the mold the resulted from the flooding. These are funded in part by the Disaster Appropriations Act of 2013. The $5 billion legislation was passed by Congress in January.