One Year Later, Lessons Learned From Sandy's Unprecedented Damage

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The clubhouse was slightly underwater during Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ossining Boat and Canoe Club
Tree vs. car in the Ludlow Park section of Yonkers after Sandy's arrival. Photo Credit: Toni Gugliotta
Downtown Port Chester is under water during Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Contributed
The scene at the Ossining Boat Club right after Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ossining Boat and Canoe Club
A home in Yonkers being rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sandra Geroux
Benjamin Emanuel (orange bandana) and ING volunteers work on 120 High Street, Veteran build, Yonkers. June 28, 2013 Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sandra Geroux
A tree fell on a house just down the street from the North Salem Ambulance Corps shelter on Daniel Road. Photo Credit: Julianna Lopes
Irvington residents look at flooding in the Bridge Street parking lot after Hurricane Irene caused the Hudson River to overflow on Oct. 28, 2012. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore
Orienta Avenue and Flagler Drive in Mamaroneck were among the sites flooded by Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Contributed
Downed trees, like this one in Lewisboro, were plentiful after Sandy struck. Photo Credit: Contributed
Hurricane Sandy knocked down several of the giant pine trees on the front lawn of the Pound Ridge Town House, including this one. Photo Credit: File photo
Hurricane Sandy toppled trees and blocked roads in White Plains. Photo Credit: File photo
Broad Street in Yorktown was blocked by downed trees and power lines after Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Les Manse
Bedford was hit with the one-two punch of Hurricane Sandy and a powerful Nor'easter. Photo Credit: Julie Curtis
Downed tree branches sit on a car in New Rochelle following Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: File photo

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- One year ago next week, Hurricane Sandy landed in Westchester, delivering unprecedented damage.

Homes were destroyed, power was out for weeks and waiting in line for gas for more than an hour became the norm. Three people died, two of them children.

Sandy, the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history, lasted from Oct. 22 to Oct. 31 of last year.

Greenburgh Police Chief Joseph DeCarlo said Hurricane Sandy was "the worst storm I had to deal with."

"It took about 10 days to return to normalcy," DeCarlo said.

Jim Killoran, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity Westchester, was fortunate to have thousands of volunteers aid in relief efforts.

"It's all about helping," Killoran said. "The power and importance of volunteerism is paramount."

Killoran used strategies from the 2007 floods that damaged the Sound Shore when helping people with Sandy. He got trees off the road in Mount Vernon and New Rochelle and delivered generators to Chappaqua.

Witnessing the damage made Killoran realize that Westchester residents need to be better prepared in the event of a disaster.

"Every street and every neighborhood needs to create a disaster captain and disaster plan," Killoran said.

Killoran said the area needs more public transit, less concrete and more green buildings.

"We're in an environmental nightmare," Killoran said. "These 100-year storms are coming every year. FEMA is broke and insurance makes it more difficult."

A year later, people are still in need, Killoran said. He said Tuesday, Oct. 29 will be an emotional day.

"I'm sure I'll cry," Killoran said. 

DeCarlo, like Killoran stressed residents need to have their own disaster plan. The Town of Greenburgh has an emergency notification system on its website.

"People need to be prepared to be on their own," DeCarlo said. "We always learn from storms."

DeCarlo said having a battery powered radio will allow people to remain in contact if the power goes out.

"We are prepared, but government can only do so much," DeCarlo said. "We can't do it all."

While the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club was mostly spared from the worst of Sandy's wrath, members of the working man's club were back at the club to repair the damage.

The club, which sits 6 feet above sea level, saw storm surges up to 9 feet. But the club was prepared.

"We had taken steps to get equipment and other items up to the second floor," DeCarlo said. "No boats were damaged because we moved them to higher ground. Our wood walls simply drained after the storm since there is no sheet rock."

The club did suffer thousands of dollars in damage to the refrigerator, furnace, vending machines and furniture. 

"The greatest structural damage was to our exterior decking and landscaping, which suffered erosion," Earle said. 

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Comments (4)

walter.czerniawski:

"These 100-year storms are coming every year."

No, they come once every hundred years. Actually about every 50.

WPEyesNEars:

Nothing was learned. Nothing has been done nor will anything come of it. We re-elected the same politicians who only bloviate about how terrible it was, point fingers toward someone else to take care of it and the next storm gives us more of the same. We get what we deserve: politicians re-elected by special interest groups who are not interested in helping the average person.

jmalichio:

I think we'd all be interested to hear what you would propose to control the weather, WP. Please, enlighten us.

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