Former NJ residents ride out Harvey with memories of Sandy still fresh
TRENTON — Having found new homes in Texas, former New Jersey residents are thinking back to super storm Sandy as they endure Hurricane Harvey unleashing its wrath on their new state.
"Harvey's impacts have been just as bad as we feared. Constant tropical deluges have led to rainfall totals measured to feet, causing some truly catastrophic flooding across much of East Texas," New Jersey 101.5 chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow said.
Cody Daniel, formerly of Linden, had to evacuate his apartment in Seabrook, Texas just outside Houston which he said is mostly under water.
"My place took on about two feet of water. Me and three other people who are on the first floor had to run upstairs to the second floor. Luckily people up there let us in," Daniel wrote on a Facebook message.
Daniel said it could be "a week or more" before power is restored to his home.
Former Manchester resident Gloria Massoud fears her home in Nassau Bay southreast of Houston near the Kennedy Space Center is destroyed by flooding along with at least one car. She along with other family who also live in the home are staying in a hotel for now.
Gina Dubin was pregnant when a 60-foot oak tree fell on her East Windsor home during Sandy is doing a lot better so far during Harvey.
One big difference is the temperatures during each event. "Here it's hot, it's humid. We're relying on air conditioning. During Sandy we lost power so we needed heat. I remember huddling with blankets and hand warmers trying to keep warm," Dubin told New Jersey 101.5.
Another difference is having not having family to rely on in Texas.
Her Houston neighborhood so far has not been as affected as badly as some of the images showing extreme flooding. Friends from New Jersey keep asking how her family is doing after seeing video on television and online.
"We're getting constant tornado warnings and flood warnings. I just found out it's already flooded two blocks over," Dubin said, adding that she lives near a bayou. She estimates 24 inches of rain has fallen in Houston so far.
"We have a pool in the backyard. My husband and I keep trying to drain it as best as we can otherwise it's just going to overlow. It's basically a wait and see period," Dubin said.
Her 4-year-old son is scared and having a tough time sleeping. "It's sad that he had to learn through this experience what a hurricane is, what a tropical storm is, what a tornado is. He doesn't want to be left alone."
Former Freehold resident Sara Weinstein, works and lives at the University of Houston campus in Victoria and evacuated on Thursday before a voluntary evacuation was made mandatory. She said many freshman had moved in on campus and part of her job was to also evacuate them.
After the students were taken to safety Weinstein, her boyfriend, and three dogs traveled 130 miles north to Austin, Texas.
"While Victoria has remained out of the 'big bullseye' of rain totals so far, at just 6+ inches, it's still a very bad situation, Zarrow said of the city 127 miles southwest of Houston.
The city's Facebook page said Harvey had a "devastating impact" with most power knocked out and no water service. "Bring enough food and water to last three to four days. Be sure you have enough gas in your car to last several days. Be prepared for no electricity at your home for several days or weeks," the message said.
Weinstein talked to friends still in Victoria who told her a lot of houses were destroyed. "The dorms, from what I've heard, have fared okay. The college vice president is spending time on campus inspecting damage."
Weinstein was at school in Virginia during Sandy, but her family were was still worried, and they checked in with her numerous times to make sure she was safe. She is well aware of the damage Sandy inflicted on the Jersey Shore and thinks Harvey is worse.
"Every storm has a completely difficult character, so it's impossible to directly compare Harvey and Sandy. I think the most obvious difference was that Sandy was primarily a surge and wind threat (here in New Jersey, at least). Meanwhile, Harvey is dumping FEET of rain over eastern Texas," Zarrow said.
Austin received anywhere from 2 to 9 inches of rain in the past 48 hours and could get another 5-10 inches by Wednesday night, according to a tweet from the City of Austin. Former Dennis & Judi producer Raquel Guarino recently moved from Manalapan to Austin and admits to being "spooked" by the wind blowing in the open-air hallways of her apartment complex.
"It sounded like someone was ramming their couch into my door at least once an hour. So I was a little scared to go to sleep," Guarino said.
She lives in Northwest Austin which is the farthest part from the storm. "Thankfully I'm on the third floor so no issues with flooding," Guarino said.
Brittany Dessin, a teacher from Maple Shade, told NJ.com she is on a cruise ship that was supposed to dock in Galvaston, Texas. Instead, her Carnival cruise spent an extra day in Cozumel, Mexico and should dock on Monday. Dessin told the news site that she doesn't consider herself "stuck" and the ship's crew has help keep everyone on board upbeat and informed.
Are you originally from New Jersey and now in East Texas? Please contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.