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Sandy Rips through My Street

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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I stand on a near-vertical sidewalk upended by a tree half a block from my home. The sign for the jitney remains parallel to the trunk. No one waited here for the bus this week. Courtesy of Robert Langreth.

I am here at home in Maplewood, New Jersey, four days after an angry wind whipped through the trees, sending my entire family downstairs into the living room for the night. There we huddled, tucked under covers on mattresses hauled down from higher, more exposed floors of our house while we listened to the roar outside and pondered the leafy dangers. One tree sprouts through our deck and hovers over our daughter’s room; another, even more terrifying, a towering giant across the street, was swaying in the wind. Earlier in the day, a large oak across the street crashed

A pole in three parts, thanks to Sandy, two blocks from my house. Courtesy of Robert Langreth.

down, across a street into a neighbor’s yard, taking another tree and a high-voltage power line with it. Wisps of smoke steamed up from the downed branches, produced by foliage falling on the energized wire. That fire had been contained, but transformers on other lines were blowing up all over town, sending flashes of colored light through the sky that I, at first, thought were some strange form of lightning. Through the electrical fireworks, roar of the wind and the memories from earlier in the day, somehow, we slept.

No tree fell on us, but many of our neighbors were drawn out of their houses, terrified, by falling

An early casualty of Sandy in Maplewood, NJ. This tree fell about 10am on Oct. 29, across the street from my house. Courtesy of Robert Langreth.

oaks and maples. We awoke to a mess of trunks in the road, power poles ripped into three parts, sidewalks torn up by roots and trees laying on cars and leaning on houses. This post features pictures of the damage wrought by trees within a two-block radius of my house.

Another fallen friend a few houses away. The basketball hoop was unharmed. Courtesy of Robert Langreth.

Ingrid Wickelgren About the Author: Ingrid Wickelgren is an editor at Scientific American Mind, but this is her personal blog at which, at random intervals, she shares the latest reports, hearsay and speculation on the mind, brain and behavior. Follow on Twitter @iwickelgren.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. akuchment 9:09 pm 11/2/2012

    Wow, I am glad you’re okay! Very vivid pictures.

    Link to this

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