One Terrifying Night in New Jersey

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  • Published on : Nov 5 2012

To say the past week was intense would be an understatement. I think the better words are “life changing” and “shattering”.

At this time last week we were getting ready for Hurricane Sandy to hit the Jersey shore. Everyone said it would be the worst storm to hit the North East in a hundred years, and maybe even ever!

No one really knew what was coming, but it was going to be much worse than many of us though. A week later and it’s just another day for the majority of the country, but those who were on the coast and in the path of Sandy, it’s still a hellish nightmare.

Seeing a natural disaster on TV is much different than going through one on your own. I am no longer on just one side of the story. The night of October 29th, 2012 is one I will never forget.

As of right now we are without a home as it’s been completed flooded, my office completely gone, the Hummer likely destroyed, one car saved and the future up in the air.

Before jumping to where we are at right now, let’s start from the beginning.

(This was the before and after view from the back door of our house. Note the fence is four feet above ground level, which is another two feet above the water in the first pic. The second pic is from the morning after from our second floor.)

Monday Mid-Day

For anyone in the North East, you will surely remember that all of the news was focused on the coming storm Sandy. Most people lost power early. My parents power went out around 4pm and we didn’t lose ours til around 7pm.

Earlier in the day it was mostly windy with a bit of rain. We live on the water (lagoon to bay, leading to barrier island than the ocean). We thought it would be best to throw up wooded boards on the back sliding door just in case the winds got too extreme and the water decided to rise 8 feet and reach the inside of the house.

It still wouldn’t be a few hours til the storm hit land in Atlantic City, but the warnings and effects were surely being felt.

Early Monday Night

As mentioned, the power went off around 8pm, then shortly after the rain and winds started to come. It didn’t even matter that it was raining, it was the storm surge that everyone was worried about. Throw in the full moon and the high tides and we were destined for disaster, but how high would the waters come?

Everyone on our streets talked about how they lived there for 40+ years and never had seen the streets fill with water, so there was never a history of flooding in this area.

I was out that night around 9pm to take Foxy out one more time before staying inside. There were already shingles and gutters being ripped off houses and power lines down and on fire.

Late Monday Night

It wasn’t til 9pm that the water started to rise up to the bulkhead then into the backyard. The power was already off and it was very hard to see outside, even with the use of flash lights. However, I could still see the tide and waves coming closer and closer to the house.

Soon enough the water was against the back bedroom wall which is the closest part of the house to the lagoon. You could hear the waves hitting the house while we were in it, along with the crawlspace filling with water and hitting beneath the floor.

The water was very close to the house and I said it was time for us all to get serious and for me, Reena and Foxy to move up to the second level we have in the house. It’s not a full second floor, but more like a loft area, which means it’s open and we can see most of the house from the second floor.

I kept running down stairs to see where the water was at and doing everything I could to save any last items in the house that were still on the ground level. I opened the door leading to the garage and the water was less than an inch from coming into the house.

A few seconds later I ran to the back door and sure enough, the water was slowly flowing across the tile floors throughout the house. I ran to the office and the same thing, ecxect it was now coming through the walls of the house and floors.

There was nothing I could do.

From this point on I just kept doing everything I could to save whats left in the house to be saved and move everything to a higher surface.

Fast forward an hour or so and the water is now flowing throughout the house and two feet high. I’m still running through the house, the water is freezing and loaded with gasoline from all of the cars and boats out side.

No idea how high the water was going to get, and the chance of a rescue at this point was near impossible.

We were fortunate enough to have a house with two levels. I can’t imagine going through this same experience in a one level home.

The rest of the night would be spent wondering when this horrible tide would ever go down and how high the water would eventually rise to.

While all of this is going on, I’m continually texting my dad (who was also without power and desperately trying to get to us, but was impossible) with updates from my phone, which amazingly enough lasted through the night to the next day.

It wasn’t til early the next morning that the water actually started to pull back, which was still only about a foot.

Tuesday Morning

The next morning was nearly just as intense as the previous night. Still flooded and no idea what to expect, except we now at least had light.

Here’s a memorable picture of the first thing I see when I opened my front door that morning… still with nearly two feet of water flowing through the house.

I had pulled the Hummer up to the house as close as I could the previous night and it was still more than half under water. Fortunately I had moved it closer, as I was able to climb on top of it from my front step and be able to see what was going on.

The local fire and police department has rescue missions going on throughout the whole previous night and current day. The problem was the water was still flooded so high that the military vehicles still couldn’t get through. There were also fire trucks, cars and boats stranded in the middle of streets, which meant no one could get past them.

A tractor had come and picked up the people two houses down from us who were in a one level house. They had to sit in the front bucket of the tractor. No one was going anywhere… not to mention there was random floating boats sitting in the middle of the streets.

Later in the day a boat came and rescued two older ladies in their 90s at the end of the street. It wasn’t til around 3pm that a huge monster truck came to rescue me, Reena and Foxy along with a couple other families on the street. These guys were pure heroes and not even part of the fire department or police force.

After Sandy…

There really is no “After Sandy”, as we have just gotten started. The important thing is that we made it out alive and in tact, which is what many people in NJ simply can’t say.

While the mainstream news were quickly turning away from Sandy, the aftermath is still there and much worse than the media projects and what people are lead to believe. Even the inspectors and FEMA people are saying this storm is worse than Katrina because of it’s massive power and wide spread damage.

In the end we went through hell, the house is done and the office is wiped out, but we are safe. Next we will have to go through all of the insurance processes, working with FEMA, ripping down the walls and rebuilding the home.

There is really so much more going on then I could possible remember and document on here right now. I will keep you updated as we progress.

Zac Johnson
My name is Zac Johnson and I have been an online entrepreneur for the past 18 years and blogger since 2007. This is my personal blog and I welcome you to the site. In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website.
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  • http://twitter.com/affiliatetip @affiliatetip

    Sorry Zac – good that you were all OK. I'm hoping for a quick recovery for you.

    • http://www.zacjohnson.com Zac Johnson

      Thanks, it's crazy how much the water came in and just destroyed everything in our area. Like they said… a once in a 100 year storm.

  • http://twitter.com/FanAllstar @FanAllstar

    Glad you are safe now. Sorry for what you are going through. I can't imagine what it must be like. I know you will get through this.

  • http://asiogroups.com Asif

    I hope things get back to normal soon. We are praying for the people affected.
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  • priya

    Its been very bad to have these kind of experiences in life. After all we can only predict the storm and analyze the storm but nothing is in our control. It's really God's grace Zac.

  • http://www.carnivalgoa.com/holiday-packages/ Sam

    This moment was really scared but we can't do many things in front of nature and we should always ready to save others life in that kind of conditions.
    My recent post Goa Holiday Packages

  • http://www.rancorinfotech.com Aasma

    That's really terrifying, I heard about Sandy and saw news. Sandy was really devastating no doubt about it. But good thing is that it's been passed now. So now people and Government can work together to bring the life on its normal roots. Such kind of natural disasters are really dangerous and left lot of damages.
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    • http://www.zacjohnson.com Zac Johnson

      Thanks, it will be interesting to see the rebuilding process. I will be sure to document as much as I can.

  • http://www.kjrocker.com/ kj Rocker

    Sorry about all the loss but glad you and your family are safe :)
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  • http://www.tylercruz.com Tyler Cruz

    Jeez man, that really sucks… (understatement). Can't believe there are no other replies yet…

    I have never dealt with house insurance before – any idea what your insurance will cover? Will you get the value of your house back?
    My recent post Affiliate Marketing Update: November 4th, 2012

    • http://www.zacjohnson.com Zac Johnson

      It's been a nice big headache so far. Lots of calls and different people to contact, then a long waiting period.

  • http://basicpodcastingtips.com Ileane

    OMG! I am so glad you guys are safe. It is just amazing how your whole world was turned upside down in such a short time.

    Sandy really hit hard at your house and I am almost at a lost for words. Zac, I will be praying for you and your family. God bless.

    • http://www.zacjohnson.com Zac Johnson

      Thanks Ileane, I appreciate the kind words. We can't wait til things get just a little normal again. :)

  • http://www.bleepingtech.com Anish Sangamam

    I hope everything would be back to normal asap ZAC. Feel sorry for what happened. .

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  • http://www.monetizeblogging.com Amrik Virdi

    Really sorry to hear that Zac. I hope everything gonna be all right.

  • Terri

    I'm sorry for what you and your family had to endure. My thoughts and prayers are with you and New Jersey.

  • http://www.shortcutsaver.com ShortCutSaver

    Wow! The pics look worse than I thought it was. So Sad! Stay safe!
    Alison @ shortcutsaver.com

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  • http://contentmarketingup.com Michael Chibuzor

    I'm so sorry for what happened to you Zac. God will restore what you've lost to Sandy in Jesus' name – Amen!
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  • http://www.wpkube.com Devesh

    So sorry to hear about the loss, zac but it's good to know that you & your family are safe.

  • http://www.contentstrategyhub.com Eugene Farber

    I'm glad you made it out OK Zac.

    A few of us went to Breezy Point over the weekend to try and help out. It was devastating…especially the area where the house burned down.

    Unfortunately there wasn't really much we could help with. Most homeowners didn't wan to touch anything until their insurance claims went through.

    And the FEMA people weren't very accepting of outside help.

    We found some old photos from one of the burned down houses (some dating back to early 1900s) and were able to track down the owner's son. Will be mailing the photos to him so he can surprise his dad with them.

    Pretty tragic that so many people lost pretty much everything during that storm.

  • Debby

    I am so glad you, Reena and Foxy made it through the storm, I have checked your page many times for updates!

  • http://twitter.com/StuartLCrawford @StuartLCrawford

    crazy! Made a good read though, glad to hear you're good though.

  • http://www.dekorah.com Jenn

    So sorry to hear what you are going through Zac. My friend and I were in NYC during that weekend, but luckily got a last minute plane out of there. So although I live in Milwaukee, I have watched the news very closely. My mom is heading a hurricane sandy relief team of 15, and left today in a van to New Jersey. Im sorry all you had got totally ruined, but glad you & your family are physically ok. hang in there….. I have recently found your blog searching for internet marketing related material, and saw your story….

  • http://www.jaysonlinereviews.com Jay

    Man that looks Pretty bad Im glad you and your family are ok belongings can always be replaced but you and your family cannot. I live in Illinois so i do Not Have to deal with hurricanes luckily but I feel for you and everyone else that has to deal with them firsthand.

    Your stuff will be replaced …. Thanks for sharing your story I hope everything is moving forward in the right direction after the storm.
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  • http://craziestgadgets.com Jeff

    Sorry to hear that Zac. Here in North Jersey the damage was all trees falling into houses and powerlines and cars. They said afterwards over 100 streets in the town were blocked by downed trees.
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  • http://mthreemedia.com Rick Lea

    Damn son! That is a freaking nightmare! Scares me just reading this post. I am soo sorry that your house and some possessions got screwed up. Some stuff is just hard to replace. I am very fortunate that you and your family were not hurt but the storm and that you all remain in good health. I hope all is well man and if you need anything or I can help you in anyway by all means hit me up :)

  • Peggy jayne

    It's incredible what you all went through, and thank God you are safe. I had two other thoughts as I was reading this…One is that it's a very good thing that you are a successful Internet marketer, because the hell that you go through in a disaster like this is a thousand times worse when you are dead broke! The other is I'm wondering if Sandy was so bad because of Global Warming, and if it could happen again and be even worse? Will you rebuild in the same area, or would it be better to move inland more? I am so glad that you let us all know what happened to you. I was thinking about you when Sandy was happening, but I didn't know you were so close to the water. Please let us know what happens next. The media doesn't seem to be talking very much any more about what is going on in the stricken areas now that the storm is over…You are all in my prayers…

  • http://ditopress.com Koundeenya

    That's so sad to hear Zac. Glad to hear that you're completely alright!
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  • http://bloggerspeaks.com Sai Krishn

    Oh my god, Very sad to hear, I am so glad you are safe. Its almost so many months back, However I;m feeling very happy now.

  • http://www.blogshear.com Anz Joy

    I am so glad you, Reena and Foxy made it through the storm, I have checked your page many times for updates!

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