Here in Seattle, like people all over the country, I was concerned to hear about Hurricane Sandy heading straight towards the East Coast, especially the New Jersey shore where I have enjoyed going to the beach for my entire life. My thoughts were with all the people I know in the area, including my colleague, NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator (SSC) Frank Csulak. He has worked for the NOAA Office of Response and Restoration in New Jersey for much of his career.
Raised on the New Jersey shore, he is the primary scientific adviser to the U.S. Coast Guard for oil and chemical spill planning and response in the area. Scientific Support Coordinators are technical advisers to the U.S. Coast Guard and Federal On-Scene Coordinators. He and fellow SSC Ed Levine work in U.S. Coast Guard District 5, which includes New Jersey and New York’s Atlantic coast. While Frank’s office is in Highlands, N.J., he has a house at the shore in Beach Haven, on Long Beach Island, the second barrier island to the north of Atlantic City. Before and after Hurricane Sandy hit, Csulak and Levine were hard at work, but we received the following message from Frank the morning after the storm passed over New Jersey, on Tuesday October 30. It captures the sense of emergency and the extraordinary nature of this particular storm.
October 30, 2012
“Well, made it through the storm, power went out around 6:00 p.m. last night, remains out. The winds had to be in the 80-90 mph range. Trees down all over. Power outages all over. Large tree fell on neighbor’s house going right through roof, injuring owner who was then hospitalized due to possible heart attack. At the height of the storm there was an unbelievable thunder and lightning storm like I had never experienced before, something out of a sci-fi movie.
Just starting to get light out, so will go survey my property. Plan to head back to beach house as soon as evacuations lifted. That ride should be interesting. Reports were that there were several areas where ocean and bay were connected and southern portion of island, Holgate, washed away, which is mostly U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge area.
My bikes, cars, and trucks are all okay. Max, my dog is okay. Daughter and parents okay. So, all is good. Now I just need a hot cup of coffee. Want to thank everyone for their thoughts and well wishes throughout this ordeal. Will let you know how the beach house made out probably tomorrow.”
Later, Frank made it down to Beach Haven and sent us these photos of the storm’s aftermath in the area surrounding his house.
Today, on November 1, he took time out again to bring us the following update.
November 1, 2012
“All the neighbors where my parents live are all helping each other out with removing trees and debris from yards, pumping out basements. Power still out. Mile-long lines of cars at gas stations. Most stores remain closed due to power outage. Although somehow Dunkin Donuts is open. What is their slogan, “America runs on Dunkin”? Well, certainly appropriate here at the Jersey shore!”
For more photos of the storm’s impacts along the New Jersey coast, check out the first round of Hurricane Sandy damage assessment imagery now available from NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey.