Former Louisiana Residents Weather Superstorm Sandy

Hurricane Sandy as it heads to the East Coast. (Satellite Image by NASA)

When Louisiana natives Robert Heap and Chris Waters moved to the Northeast, they thought their hurricane days were over, but when Superstorm Sandy made landfall on Oct. 29, it reminded them of their former hurricane experiences.

Heap, a 2012 graduate of St.Paul’s and current college student in Boston stated, “I found it very strange to experience a hurricane while living in the Northeast.  Blizzards, I expect, but not this.”

According to CNN, Superstorm Sandy caused damage to major cities and local areas throughout the Northeast with its high winds and flooding.

“There was a lot of flooding in areas near the water. We are on a hill, so our building and the immediate area was not too badly affected. Katrina was much worse,” said Heap.

Sandy had winds of 80 mph when it made landfall, compared to Katrina’s 120 mph winds. But unlike Katrina, CNN reported that Sandy’s winds were more dangerous in some areas due to the highrise buildings in major cities, which increased the speed of wind as it rushed to go around buildings. Sandy had a surge of 14 feet which beat a local record previously held in 1960 by Hurricane Donna. Sandy took out power lines and caused lines for gas up to 50 people long. Sandy caused roughly $50 billion in damages, while Katrina cost about $123 billion.

The Huffington Post reported that Sandy had a death toll of only 111 compared to Katrina’s 1,836. Many people in the Northeast decided to stay and face the storm. Estimates only say 850,000 people evacuated, compared to Katrina’s 1 million.

Waters, a former New Orleans resident who now resides on Long Island stated, “I think most folks from Louisiana would have ridden out a Cat 1 storm like Sandy. Still, folks up here took it very seriously.”

“New York doesn’t live with the annual threat of hurricanes like Louisiana does. So, no one really has worked out evacuation procedures the way Louisiana has. But then, before that big storm that just missed New Orleans a year or two before Katrina, no one really knew how to evacuate New Orleans either,” Waters continued.

Sandy displaced at least 100,000 people and knocked down power lines that left at least 8.5 million people without power.

Overall preparation for Sandy recovery was considerably better than Katrina. Electric companies were prepared for power outages and had crews ready to repair lines, according to CNN. The government began issuing mandatory evacuations for areas hours before the storm was set to hit. New York City was not required to evacuate.

Overall, Sandy was a less destructive force than Katrina. According to reports, the damage, cost, death toll and winds of Sandy were all substantially less than Katrina’s.

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